Homeowners: Protect Your Investment by Choosing the Right Roof

When buying a home in Tampa Bay, or if you already own a home here, it’s imperative that you consider your roof as an investment. Most people look at “a roof over their head” as a basic need. Not only does your roof protect your home itself, but the very valuable things within, including your family. Consider what a roof protects you from – sun exposure, several months of summer afternoon showers common to Florida, a humid environment that can easily lock in moisture, and winds that in some locations can easily shuffle around debris during a storm. Your roof is the barrier between you and the outside elements. As much as Floridians live here because we love the sun, it still pays a toll on your roof!
Given the facts, let’s consider what steps can be taken in choosing the right roofing system to protect one of the most valuable investments you’ll ever make – your home.

 

1. Cost

Your roof is measured in squares and should be done so by a licensed roofer. One square is 100 square feet, or 10′ by 10′. Not to be mistaken with the same square footage as the interior of your home as you must consider the pitch (or slope) of your roof. Once you have your roof measured accurately you can use that information to get a rough estimate together based on the materials you plan to use. Don’t forget to include the cost of labor and warranty.
The national average for a roof replacement, according to numbers reported by approximately 25,000 HomeAdvisor members was $7,061; and the average in Tampa (zip code 33602 used for reference) based on 328 HomeAdvisor members was $7,884.

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind you will have to take the following into consideration when it comes to comparing your cost to any average cost:

  • Roof size
  • Pitch
  • Installation
  • Materials
  • Number of layers
  • Stripping off old layers
  • Where you live
  • Code requirements
  • If you have a lot of skylights, chimneys, plumbing pipes or other adornments that need to be addressed during the installation

We recommend you get at least three estimates from reputable roofing companies before making a decision. Ask your Realtor for references as they’d be more than happy to provide this information to you!

 

2. Materials
There are several roofing materials to choose from but it would be wise to consider your personal needs in addition to climate conditions, etc., prior to choosing the material based only on the up-front ticket price. You might want to consider the immediate and long-term savings of a higher costing material; ie lower utility bills, better insurance rates, less frequency of replacement or repair. Some popular materials used in Tampa are below:
  • Asphalt shingles – most commonly used in Tampa and around the nation
  • Wood – lightweight, durable, and suitable for extreme weather conditions
  • Metal – long lasting and investment-wise a great purchase
  • Tile/Cement – resistant to fire and high-winds and aesthetically pleasing
  • Slate – minimal maintenance, long lasting, and durable

Keep in mind that not all roof types can be used on all roofs. Your favorite roofing material may not work for your roof! One material may actually be preferred or regulated by professionals over another depending on your roof type; ie. a flat roof vs a roof with a high pitch. It’s important to seek professional guidance when it comes to choosing the right roofing system for your home. You may also have some guidelines and restrictions outlined by your Homeowner’s Association so it’d be a good idea to check with them prior to making your purchase to avoid any unnecessary fines or replacement costs.

3. Contractor/Installation
Carefully selecting a roofing contractor is just as important as selecting the right roofing system for your home. At the end of the day a roof installed incorrectly can cost you far more in the long run. From structural damage to the frame and interior, to leaks and distress caused by a patchy, unwarranted job, it’s important that you do some research and again, don’t just consider the ticket price of the labor. When it comes to choosing your Tampa roofing contractor or company, it’ll be well worth it to invest in someone who is licensed, insured and bonded, experienced (with references) and someone who is professional. In addition, it is recommended you use a company who offers a legitimate warranty and that will be around in the future to make any necessary repairs.
If you have any questions about your roofing investment, please reach out to once of our experienced and professional NextHome Discovery team members today! We’d be happy to guide you.

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.