Homestead Exemption and Portability Benefits for Florida Homeowners – What Does it Mean?

But first…

What is a homestead exemption? 

A benefit that allows a homeowner (and their spouse) to protect the value of his or her principle (or primary) residence from creditors, rising property taxes, and the unfortunate situations that can arise from the death of the homeowner spouse. Basically, a homestead exemption allows a portion of your home’s value to be removed from taxation. In Florida, voters approved a property tax homestead exemption of up to $50,000. This would be applied to the value of the primary residency to “reduce the value for assessment” by $50,000. Here’s a simple Homestead Exemption PDF provided by Florida’s Department of Revenue to show exactly how the $50,000 could be applied to a given property.

Who Determines the Value of my Property? 

Your county’s elected Property Appraiser is charged with the duty and responsibility to appraise all of the property in the county. The Property Appraiser is required by law to assess all property within the county each year. In Hillsborough County it is required by January 1st every year.  Your property’s value is what a ready, willing and able buyer would pay. Appraisers and real estate professionals will find it necessary to look at comparable properties recently sold in the neighborhood to help them determine a true and accurate home value. To look up the assessed value of your home you can easily call your county appraisal office, check your most recent tax bill, or visit the links below to your specific county to check online:
*Additional county appraisal offices can be located here.

How Else Does Having a Homestead Exemption Protect Me?

Besides the $50,000 tax exemption, Florida voters approved a Florida Constitutional Amendment known as “Save Our Homes,” that was designed to set limitations on increases in the assessed value of a homestead residence. Basically, a “cap” of 3% or the change in the CPI (consumer price index), whichever is lower, is placed on a homestead residence to limit the annual increase in the value of your property. The Save Our Homes Benefit is the difference between the assessed value and the market (or just) value of your homesteaded residence. In other words, as time passes and a difference accumulates between the assessed value and the market value of your home, the difference is your benefit. There are even more property tax benefits you should know about that are available for homestead property owners. You can see a full list at the Department of Revenue’s website.

So How Does Portability Help Me? 

If you are eligible (applications must be completed for both a homestead exemption and a transfer of homestead assessment difference), portability allows homeowners to transfer (or port) the savings they have accumulated over the length of their homestead! Remember that Save Our Homes Benefit described above? Homeowners can transfer up to $500,000 in SOH Benefit from their old Florida homestead to a new homestead in Florida to lower the tax assessment of the new homestead. This means tax savings! There is an unlimited amount of times you can take advantage of portability, but it only applies to counties within Florida, and timing is of the essence. Check out the examples outlined on this SOH and Portability PDF provided by the FDR.

Hillsborough County created a summary of frequently asked questions you may find helpful if questions remain, but as always our members at NextHome Discovery are eager to answer any questions and provide any relevant services needed.

Why Tampa Bay is the place to be for Health Care Professionals

In case you haven’t heard, Tampa Bay is on the move! When it comes to the health care industry, we attract top physicians, nurses and researchers, not only because of our great area hospitals but also due to the great work done by USF Health. Our downtown landscape is changing and the relocation of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute to downtown Tampa is only going to make the downtown and Channel District a more vibrant, robust community.

As residential real estate advisers, we come across many physicians who come to Tampa Bay to do their residencies. We find that many of them fall in love with Tampa Bay – the low cost of living, the great schools, proximity to many outdoor activities – and end up staying after their residencies are done! They are eager and excited to make Tampa Bay their #NextHome.

Here is a wonderful video showcasing the new USF College of Medicine and the impact it will have in the area when it opens in 2019. If you are in the health care field and considering making Tampa Bay your next home, give us a call or shoot us an email as we’re here to help you make it reality!

Title Company 101

Title companies are frequently used entities in the real estate business. Not only do they do the necessary research to make certain that real estate property titles are legitimate and offer title insurance to prove it, but they also often maintain escrow accounts – meaning they can hold the money needed to close (as a third-party […]

It’s Closing Time, What to Expect!

Buying or selling real estate in the near future? Here’s a few things to consider!

Ever wonder why a title company is typically part of your real estate transaction? Although you may only see them once in the transaction – at closing – believe us, a good title company plays a pretty crucial role in the success of buying or selling real estate! They facilitate the closing with both the seller and the buyer, file and properly record documents, work with your lender and insurance companies, review your title commitment and issue your title insurance. Arguably the glue to your transaction, title companies generally play the neutral party in your real estate transaction.

businesswoman outside officeSome of the most frequently asked questions about title and closing are answered below. We’re all about helping you understand the “why” behind the what.

Why is title insurance needed? Like possessing the title of your car means you own it, possession of a clear title of a property means it’s yours, right? Well… let’s hope so! Title insurance provides a layer of protection to your right of ownership. In other words, if someone approached you with claim to the title of your property, you’d want some assurance that they couldn’t possibly have a case, right? From unknown heirs, forged signatures on deeds, liens, fraudulent or innocent documentation errors, title companies provide a necessary blanket of protection to you through the issuance of a title insurance policy. Title insurance isn’t just something YOU will want, but you guessed it, your mortgage lender is going to require it as they too will want their interest in your property protected. Bottom line: Title insurance protects buyers from loss of value from defects to the title of real property.

How and when do you pay for it and how often? How long does my policy last? Thankfully title insurance is typically a one-time premium paid at the closing table, in the form of a typical closing cost. Your policy will last throughout your entire ownership of the property and will be passed along to your heirs.

Closing costs? What are they? Closing costs are considered all the costs required to close your transaction and will vary per party in the transaction.

AS-IS PC

Your FAR BAR As-Is Purchase Contract has a neat break down of who can expect to pay what at closing time, but usually it will include everything from the balance of your down-payment, loan origination fees, discount points, to pro-rated taxes and agent fees, etc. It’s a good idea to shop around a few recommended lenders so you can estimate what you’ll be paying in closing costs ahead of time, like before putting in an offer on a home with your agent! Also, before closing, be on the look out for a closing disclosure with the numbers ready for your review. You’ll want to communicate with your agent to make sure the title company’s calculations of credits and debits are correct per the agreed upon terms outlined in the contract.

What forms of payment are accepted for deposits (earnest money) and closing? Cash or credit cards are never acceptable forms of payments. Limitations and restrictions apply to personal checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks. Wires are always accepted and most common, however, be aware of a rise in wire fraud in recent years. Check out our WIRE FRAUD PREVENTION NOTICE and always remember to call the title company to confirm wire instructions. Hackers are getting sophisticated by hacking email accounts and sending incorrect wire instructions to their accounts while you unsuspectingly assume it was sent by your agent or the title rep. Again, always call and speak to the title company before wiring any funds.

We hope you find this information helpful.  If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the near future, our team of knowledgeable Realtors will provide you with the service you’re in search of. NextHome Discovery promises to make your real estate experience memorable. We’re reliable, informed, and trustworthy. Don’t just take our word for it either… See for yourself. Contact us today!

Children's Cancer Center

NHD Empower Tour of The Children’s Cancer Center this Friday

Every quarter, we take our NextHome Discovery agents on a tour of a local non-profit. We call these our NHD Empower Tours. We open up these tours to all local Realtors and affiliates as we ALL benefit by being aware of all the needs and resources in our community so that we can find ways of getting involved and EMPOWERING others.

As part of this quarter’s NHD Empower Tour we are scheduled to tour the Children’s Cancer Center on Friday, April 21st ( http://childrenscancercenter.org/) to raise awareness on how they are serving families of children who have cancer or chronic blood disorders… And how best we can get involved.

The tour is scheduled for 10am and should be wrapped up by 11am. We welcome you to join us this Friday.

PLEASE RSVP to Heather@DiscoverYourPlace.com to let us know if you can attend!

NHD EMPOWER TOUR_APRIL 21 2017