Jordana Sarrell, Esq., LL.M.
HOMESTEAD APPS DUE 2/1/2021
Did You Know? When you make property your permanent residence, you may be eligible to receive an exemption that keeps you from paying tax on a certain portion of your property’s assessed value. If your home is worth at least $75,000, the exemption would decrease the property’s taxable value by $50,000!
The homestead exemption qualifies the home for the Save Our Homes assessment limitation. This “cap” limits any increase to the assessed value of a homestead exempt property to a maximum of 3% or the annual change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, per year. If eligible, this assessment limitation is now transferable to a new homestead in Florida if you move.
When to Apply? The deadline for filing is March 1. In order toqualify for the homestead exemption, you must be living in the property as your primary residence as of January 1 of 2021.
Below is a list of what is generally required, however, check with the property appraiser’s office before the file:
• Proof of Residence
• Property Tax Bill – if you have received one
• Florida Driver’s License or Florida Photo Identification Card
• Copy of Florida Vehicle Registration
• Social Security Number Not a U.S. Citizen? Bring your Resident Alien Card (Green Card) and your Social Security Number.
Do not forget to gather all the appropriate documents and information you need to file whether you do it in person at the tax collector's office or online - for Palm Beach County you can click this link:
*Tip Always check with the county property appraiser’s office to confirm the necessary documentation required to file.
Don't forget that if you sold your old homestead and purchased a new one you may be eligible for Portability!Portability allows Florida residents with a previous Homestead Exemption to transfer part of their tax savings to their new residential property in Florida so long as the sale and purchase fall within a two-year window. The “Save Our Homes” (SOH) amendment to the Florida Constitution, codified at Sec. 193.155, F.S. includes a provision added in 2008 allowing homestead owners to transfer the accumulated difference between assessed value and the just or market value to a new homestead. If just value of the new homestead is more than the previous home's just value, entire benefit can be transferred, subject to a $500,000 limit. If just value of the new homestead is less than the previous home's just value, a percentage of the accumulated SOH benefit can be transferred (up to $500,000 limit)
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Why do I need title insurance?
I cannot even tell you how many times that I have been asked that question.
The truth is most people don't know what title insurance is and I do not blame them, I did not know what it was when I bought my first home!
So we have summed up exactly what is title insurance and why you need it in a few succinct points:
Title insurance is NOT casualty insurance. Title insurance protects the new owner (and lender, if any) from any liens, encumbrances, or claims against the property that originated prior to their ownership.
For example: A buys a home from B and B had a home equity line of credit. B was a bad boy. B withdrew the entire line of credit the day of closing! Now A has a valid and enforceable mortgage against A's new home. But A was smart and purchased an owner's title insurance policy which now protects A's interest in the home and is liable for the balance of the equity line of credit.
Another example: A sells his primary residence aka homestead to B. A is married but A's spouse did not sign the deed. Florida law requires spousal joinder on conveyance of homestead property. So now B's title (deed) is defective. B must now place a claim with his title insurance policy to secure a corrective deed so that B can sell or mortgage/encumber the property as B wishes.
Title insurance protects your equity in your home up to the full amount of the price for which the home was purchased. Title insurance is absolutely necessary. Spend a few dollars now to save a lot of dollars later.