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Old 05-08-2015, 05:25 AM
 
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And when you are buying a house and look online at Trulia or Zillow for tax info does that price reflect the discounted rate or the full tax rate.,

and do you have to start living in the home in January to apply for it? Meaning if you move into the home in July does that mean you can't use it that year?
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
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This property appraiser website might help: SC-PA.com - Overview for Qualifying and Applying for a Homestead Exemption

You might also search for the property appraiser website for your county, too. I'm sure the info will be there. As far as other websites go, I'm not sure it is safe to make a blanket statement. Besides, the tax paid by the seller will almost certainly be different than the tax paid by the buyer.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:50 AM
 
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When we were looking for a house I noticed that if the house did not have a homestead exemption, then the property taxes would be pretty much the same if you purchased it (at least until you could apply for the exemption). If the property had a homestead exemption, then you couldn't rely on the current property tax as the tax without it would be different. In that case you'd have to find a comparable house in the neighborhood without the exemption to get an idea of what it would be. I would not rely on Zillow or Trulia, but the site bbronson provided the link to would have accurate info. Whether or not the house has a pool also makes a difference in the taxes.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:15 AM
 
Location: OCNJ and or lower Florida keys
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"The Great Depression began in 1929. As the Depression deepened, many Florida property owners found themselves unable to pay their property taxes and in serious danger of losing their homes. In response in 1933, State Representative Dwight Rogers of Fort Lauderdale proposed and successfully passed legislation to place the $5,000 Homestead Exemption Amendment on the state ballot. Florida's voters overwhelmingly approved the Homestead Exemption Amendment in 1934. The initial Homestead Exemption exempted the first $5,000 of value from ad valorem taxes. Over the years the exemption amount was increased to $25,000. In January 2008, voters adopted a constitutional amendment which increased the Homestead Exemption to $50,000, (the second $25,000 does not apply to all taxing authorities and only applies to the portion of assessed value between $50,000 - $75,000)."

basically if you qualify at the very least you will get at least 25,000 knocked off your taxable value say you tax assessed value is 200,000 you can only have to pay taxes on 175,000 saving you 12.5% off your tax bill vs not homesteaded if you had a taxable value of 100k you would save 25% a year on your tax bill. if you are a senior or disabled them the exemption is even more. in sarasota and monroe county you can look up every homes current tax bill and status at the county appraiser website.
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:44 PM
 
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The Homestead Exemption is not a rebate. It is a tax cap. It allows you to pay less than 100% of the tax on property - as if the value of your house was less than its actual appraised value by the county appraiser. More importantly, it caps the amount your house can be valued at by the county appraiser, to no more than a 3% increase every year. That is very important in Florida, where the market can swing upwards very quickly, especially in coastal towns and neighborhoods with major improvements occurring to ramp up their demand.

Every single property in Florida is eligible for the Homestead Exemption - qualifying depends upon your proof of ownership, and residency, not what kind of property it is. So if you own the lot and house (even if it is a trailer or condo), and you can show that you live in that residence as a permanent resident and don't rent it out, plus you're a US citizen or have a Green Card, you will qualify.

You need to have lived on the property since Jan. 1 of the year in which you're filing. You have to file by March of that year. You don't get your actual property tax statement ESTIMATE until August, which is how you find out if you were approved for the Exemption or not. Once you have been accepted, you don't have to refile in future years. You then get the final property tax statement for the year whenever your county typically completes their appraisals - which in Monroe County is around November. You are bound by law to notify the county if your status changes - like you started renting the place out, you sold it, or you are now living most of the year in another state, etc. You can get in trouble if you do not notify them of changes and someone in the county realizes that you are in violation, or a neighbor reports you. That has happened in some cases in the Keys, even affecting a high profile person who worked in law enforcement.

You can't rely on the tax amounts stated on Zillow or other sites. If the prior owner had a Homestead Exemption, and they lived in the house for say 20 years, their assessed value will be WAY below the actual county appraisal value of the house. Purchasing a property sparks an automatic new appraisal by the county - they will show up to do an in-person inspection, or if you're not home will leave a note at the house with a number to call them back.
[As an example, you might purchase a house for 400k. The tax in the previous year was only $2,150, because the prior owners had a longtime Homestead Exemption. The new appraisal after you bought the house says the house is worth $350k. Now your taxes jump to $4,025, because the tax is based on actual current value, ignoring the cap the previous owners qualified for all these years. On the other hand if you buy a house whose previous owner only had it for a year, the previous year's tax will be fairly accurate - but I would strongly question why that owner only had the house a year before selling!]

You are bound by law to report any improvements made to the property since the last appraisal, and every year after you must report if you make improvements to the property (which if you did legally by permit, they know anyway). Those improvements will affect your appraisal value - but not necessarily by much, so it's not worth avoiding and breaking the law, since the fines are much steeper than the tax increase likely is. Increases due to improvements on the property are not bound by the Homesteading Exemption cap of 3% - that 3% refers only to the increase of the original value per year. So if you add another room for instance, your tax might jump up that year by a bunch, but if you don't do anything further, the following year again it can't jump by more than 3%, even if the local sales market skyrockets.

So when this new appraisal is done, the amount will jump, and if the prior owners lived there a long time, the jump might be substantial. The 3% cap only refers to the increase each year AFTER you have first purchased the property and qualified for the Exemption.

So as an example, I bought my house in the Keys after the prior owner had lived here 17 years. People who know the Keys will understand how substantially the market here has increased since 17 years ago! So, I knew the "appraised amount" and "tax amount" shown on sites like Zillow were way lower than what I would be paying. My mortgage company required that I pay the entire year's taxes and insurances up front, to be put in escrow and paid off by the bank over the year. So they calculated an estimated tax amount. But here in the Keys, property taxes are not assessed until November. I bought in October, so my bank had to calculate based on the previous year's rates. That meant that come this past November, when the new assessment came out - which is actually for the 11 months' taxes (confusing, I know, but that's how it goes - all of the property tax for 2011 is decided in Nov. 2011, all of the tax owed for 2012 is decided in Nov. 2012, and so on), my bank sent me a bill for the amount my escrow was short - over $2,000! Plus some extra because the hazard insurance rates went up in Florida, and in Monroe County in particular, again. The amount of tax you pay also depends on when you pay it - you pay less if you pay a lump sum up front, and you pay more if you pay in installments - like car insurance. If it goes through escrow at a bank, they will pay the cheapest amount up front for you, and will take it out of your escrow in mortgage installments over the months.

So that is something you should plan for when buying a house in Florida. Assess to the best of your knowledge what the house would be worth at purchase - don't believe it if a house that had only one owner for a long time has an unusually low county appraisal amount, or tax amount. Value it based on its real market value (county numbers will often be a bit lower than whatever the mortgage company appraises its value for, so taxpayers don't riot). Then add to that amount a percentage that you think it could possibly increase in a economy with a rising local real estate market - which in a place like the Keys has been strong. Budget extra money in case at the end of your first year, suddenly you owe more than the estimate was because the actual appraisal came out higher due to an inflating market. They say that right on your paperwork, when you get an estimate earlier in the year, that it might go up, it's only an estimate. If it is higher and you have a mortgage, likely your mortgage company will allow you to pay off the shortage in installments over one or two years, with no interest, just added to your typical mortgage payment. So your monthly house payment could go up for several years to cover that shortage due to the jump in your house value after a prior owner had a Homestead Exemptions for many years.

To get the Exemption, you show up in person at the County Appraiser's office prior to early March, and give them copies of all the form they ask for proving your ownership and residency. It's a lot of papers, but not too hard.

Hopefully these details will help a few people to understand what the Homestead Exemption is, and how it works. It has some complicated details, but it's pretty easy to get the exemption if you buy a property, and live here full time beginning at least Jan. 1 (if you move in later than that, you can apply the next year).

The tax-on-property-value part isn't going to save you that much - the big savings comes if you live in the house for many years, at a time when the local real estate market is soaring. That's when the 3% cap becomes crucial.

[As a note, the in-person county appraisals are generally only once every 5 years, and are very simple, often with them never entering the house. In-person appraisals are triggered automatically after every sale. The value of the house in any other year is calculated based on a county formula of the local market, without them ever looking at your house in person - again, unless some angry neighbor calls because they suspect you're evading taxes on a major improvement that went unpermitted. Everybody in the county will be charged the same rate of increase - or the same level of decrease, if the market is going down (and there is no cap on how far DOWN the taxes can go) - if you did not make any house improvements.]

Last edited by StarfishKey; 05-08-2015 at 04:05 PM..
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:50 PM
 
Location: OCNJ and or lower Florida keys
772 posts, read 1,631,700 times
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on the monroe county website my house has had a new taxable values assigned to my house and land every year.
you can see this value listed by years the prior yearly taxable value was listed every year for the past 12 years. its all online for every home in monroe county florida (aka the florida keys)
at one point the taxable value of my house in 2007 was $412,000 now its less than 181,000 it also shows if the house was homesteaded
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,860 posts, read 9,282,187 times
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As previously mentioned, if you are looking at a home where the residents lived in the house for 25 years, the taxes they pay are based on appraisals from years ago with a homestead exemption. I can't recall the year but there was a FL constitutional amendment called 'save our homes' that restricted appraisals to 3% a year with a provision to 'save up' any perceived increase in value to be applied to decrease the appraisal value of a different house you want to buy. If you are a new buyer, all the above does not apply.
You will pay taxes on the new appraisal which will be considerably more [even after homestead exemption] than what the former owner was paying. In many cases, the amount of taxes paid shown on those web sites is meaningless.
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Old 05-09-2015, 08:21 AM
 
Location: OCNJ and or lower Florida keys
772 posts, read 1,631,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d4g4m View Post
As previously mentioned, if you are looking at a home where the residents lived in the house for 25 years, the taxes they pay are based on appraisals from years ago with a homestead exemption. I can't recall the year but there was a FL constitutional amendment called 'save our homes' that restricted appraisals to 3% a year with a provision to 'save up' any perceived increase in value to be applied to decrease the appraisal value of a different house you want to buy. If you are a new buyer, all the above does not apply.
You will pay taxes on the new appraisal which will be considerably more [even after homestead exemption] than what the former owner was paying. In many cases, the amount of taxes paid shown on those web sites is meaningless.
I know from personal experience this is not how it works in Monroe county Florida aka the Florida keys
In Monroe county Florida my taxable values are set every year. if you go online to Monroe County Property Appraiser Home and input an address for the home you can go back the previous 20 years and see the taxable value for land and building listed separately. it will also list the sales price for any and previous sales and the original construction date on the property. the website will also tell you if the home is currently homesteaded also.

I bought the house from the estate of the original owner who had the house built with her husband in 1967. I am the second owner and i bought it 5 years ago.

I don't know if this is true for other counties in Florida but you should be able to check the local county tax assessors website to find out if it lists a new land and building appraisal every year. they don't actually come out and reappraise it every year but set a new land/parcel and building value. my taxable value for my parcel and building has changed 3 of the last 5 years.

you can also see what the taxes paid are on the house in monroe county by going here and inputting your address of the home you want to purchase
https://www.monroe.county-taxes.com/...number=1343048
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Old 05-09-2015, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Florida -
8,760 posts, read 10,829,371 times
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Just a couple of clarifications regarding Homestead Exemptions:

1). Primary residence only
2). A ridiculous amount of documentation is required (check with Tax Appraiser's office).
3). File at same time as purchase or as soon as possible (If you don not file before March of the current year, you will lose the exemption until after March of the following year).
4). Our Homestead Exemption saves us about 1300-1500 in taxes per year
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:38 AM
 
11,383 posts, read 7,772,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
Just a couple of clarifications regarding Homestead Exemptions:

1). Primary residence only
2). A ridiculous amount of documentation is required (check with Tax Appraiser's office).
3). File at same time as purchase or as soon as possible (If you don not file before March of the current year, you will lose the exemption until after March of the following year).
4). Our Homestead Exemption saves us about 1300-1500 in taxes per year
Do you only have to file once, and if I file in September will they just start it in January of the next year? and how does this work with a mortgage do you have to do something else to notify your lender?
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