“Save Our Homes” And Portability

 

On Election Day a couple weeks ago, Florida Amendment 5 was approved with strong support. This amendment extends the period during which property owners in Florida may transfer their accrued “Save Our Homes” benefit to a new homestead from two to three years. Beginning January 1, 2021, an owner of homestead property will now have up to three years to transfer this benefit, which gives a property owner additional time to establish a new homestead after selling or abandoning a prior homestead without losing the accrued benefit. As we approach the end of 2020, it is important to be aware of this change, the requirements and deadlines for filing for the Florida homestead exemption, and the additional steps that need to be taken to transfer the accrued “Save Our Homes” benefit.

Homestead Exemption. To qualify for the Florida homestead exemption, a property owner must own and occupy the property as his permanent residence as of January 1 and complete the application with the local property appraiser’s office by March 1 of the year the property owner is claiming the exemption. Applications for the Florida homestead exemption may be made at the local property appraiser’s office or online on the property appraiser’s website. Property owners who qualify to receive the homestead exemption are eligible to receive an exemption of up to $50,000 off of the assessed value of the property, provided the property has an assessed value of $75,000 or more.

“Save our Homes.” In addition to the $50,000 exemption, property that qualifies for the homestead exemption is also subject to the “Save Our Homes” cap. The “Save Our Homes” cap limits the annual increase of the assessed value of the homestead property each year to the lesser of 3% and the Consumer Price Index for the previous year.

Portability. Up to $500,000 of the “Save Our Homes” cap that has accrued over time (the difference between the market value and the assessed value) may be transferred from an existing homestead after the property is sold or abandoned to a new homestead. This period of time during which property owners may transfer their accrued “Save Our Homes” cap is also referred to as the portability period. It is important to be aware that the transfer of the “Save Our Homes” cap that has accrued over time is not automatic. In addition to completing an application for the homestead exemption, the property owner must also complete a DR-501T (Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference) form to transfer the accrued savings to the new homestead. This form may also be completed online on the property appraiser’s website when completing the homestead exemption application.

Florida Amendment 5. Florida Amendment 5 increases the portability period from two years to three years beginning January 1, 2021. If a property owner is building a new home or renting while searching for new homestead property, this allows for more time to complete construction and establish the new homestead while still getting the benefit of the “Save Our Homes” cap that has accrued over the years. Keep in mind that you must own and occupy the new property as your permanent residence as of January 1 if you intend to transfer this benefit and apply it to the assessed value of your homestead in 2021. This is a benefit you don’t want to miss out on!

Should you have any questions regarding the Florida homestead exemption and the ability to transfer the “Save Our Homes” cap to new homestead, please do not hesitate to contact your trusted local real estate attorney.

For our local readers, the following links will direct you to the local property appraiser’s online homestead exemption application:

In Sarasota County visit: https://www.sc-pa.com/applyonline/WebForm1.aspx
In Manatee County visit: https://ofa.manateepao.com/ApplyOnline/WebForm1.aspx
In Hillsborough County visit: https://homestead.hcpafl.org/ApplyOnline/WebForm1.aspx
In Pinellas County visit: https://www.pcpao.org/

Sincerely,

Christa L Folkers, Esq.,cfolkers@berlinpatten.com
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

www.berlinpatten.com

SARASOTA
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P (941) 954-9991 F (941) 954-9992

VENICE
247 Tamiami Trail South, Suite 201, Venice, FL 34285
P (941) 955-9991 F (941) 484-9992

LAKEWOOD RANCH
8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 100, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
P (941) 907-9022 F (941) 907-9024

TAMPA
324 S. Hyde Park Ave., Suite 325, Tampa, FL 33606
P (813) 467-7500 F (813) 251-1662

ST. PETERSBURG
3179 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33704
P (727) 822-2505 F (727) 822-2909

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When we receive title search results from our title underwriter for property that is owned by someone who is deceased, we are always somewhat surprised to see the requirements imposed for the clearing of title before a contract can close. Simply, “death creates uncertainty” which needs to be resolved before closing. There are over 15…
Homestead laws

To Wed or Not to Wed – Who Needs to Sign?

As most of us know, Florida law affords spouses significant protections, particularly when it comes to homestead. Homestead laws are fantastic and somewhat easy to follow when spouses are living in marital bliss, as our beloved Jamie Ebling will be doing from and after August 30, 2017. It is then that Jamie will be married…

Short-Term Rentals and Loss of the Homestead Exemption

The Florida Property Tax Exemption for Homesteaded Property provides valuable tax benefits to owners of real property in Florida.  Homestead exemption tax benefits include a reduction in the taxable value of a primary residence, as well as a cap on any increase in the taxable value of the residence.  Owners are frequently interested in renting…
Do We Have a Deal

Do We Have a Deal?

Question:  When is a contract not a contract, even if supposedly “everyone” has signed? Answer: When the wrong people sign. With all the different ways one can own property these days, a common issue that often is overlooked is identifying the proper parties to sign a contract.  To be bound by a contract, the signing…

Am I Bound or Can I Entertain Other Offers?

“Do I have a valid agreement or can I entertain other offers?” In this day and age, this a question that is becoming increasingly prevalent.  For example, you receive a call from a buyer’s agent and the agent indicates that their client has agreed to buy your listing at full price, with no contingencies, closing…
Ensure You Know Who Holds the Keys

Before You List, Ensure You Know Who Holds the Keys

A recent situation we encountered underscores the importance of having a general understanding of the documents/information your closing agent will need to successfully and timely complete your transaction. In that instance, a gentleman claimed to be the owner of certain property. Upon further inquiry, it turned out that the gentleman was really the son of…

Did Your Email Create a Binding Contract?

According to many experts, more than 90% of business in today’s marketplace is transacted in electronic form.  As you are probably aware, Florida law permits the signing of contracts by electronic signature.  In fact, many realtors use electronic signatures to finalize contracts for the sale and purchase of real estate.  However, many people do not…

Considerations for Successful New Construction

As many of you are now seeing first hand, southwest Florida is experiencing what we in the industry call a “construction boom.”  While we welcome the increase in new construction, it is important to remember that not all construction companies have fully recovered from the housing collapse.  In fact, several local construction companies filed bankruptcy and…

Properly Completing a Contract or Listing Agreement for a Deceased Owner

We often encounter errors in contracts involving a deceased seller.  Unfortunately, the errors often delay, and can even cancel, a property sale.  Many people think that a surviving spouse, or personal representative, automatically has the authority to sign a listing agreement or contract to sell property owned by the decedent.  This is most definitely not…

Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (“Act”) which requires FEMA, as well as other agencies, to change the way the National Flood Insurance Programs (“NFIP”) is run. The Act was designed to reduce the NFIP’s growing debt. Key provisions of the legislation require the NFIP to raise rates to…

Don’t Forget the Open Permit Search!

For financial reasons most parties do not perform an Open Permit search (which would include expired permits) until after the inspection period has expired.  This is a common mistake that generally leads to the buyers inability to object to an open permit issue at a later date.  The new FARBAR-2 Residential Contract for Purchase and…

Complying with the Escrow Rule

Under Rule 61J2-14.008 of the Florida Administrative Code, a real estate licensee who prepared or presented the contract (“Licensee”) must make sure the contract contains the name, address and phone number of the escrow agent, which applies to all escrow agents, not just attorneys and title companies. The Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Contract forms contain the appropriate blanks…

Addressing Exchange Rates for Foreign Buyers/Sellers

ADDRESSING EXCHANGE RATES FOR FOREIGN BUYERS/SELLERS When the opportunity arises to represent an international clientele, a factor that is not always considered in the transaction is the cost of exchanging their native currency to USD, or vice versa. When money is sent from one country to another, the funds have to be converted to the…

House Bill 87 And The Impact Of Florida Mortgage Foreclosures

As you may have read, House Bill 87 (H.B. 87) was recently passed by the Florida legislature and proposes to make significant changes with respect to the Florida Statutes regarding mortgage foreclosure actions.  As of now, H.B. 87 will become new law unless Governor Rick Scott decides to exercise his veto power, which seems unlikely…

Marketable Vs. Insurable Title

In response to our blog last week, most of the feedback we received involved questions pertaining to the quality of title that one might get if they acquire REO Property. The answer to this question is not simple. In a non-REO setting, the requirement is generally for the seller to deliver marketable title (i.e. title…

Should I use An Attorney Rather Than A Title Company For Closing?

In Florida, both, attorneys and title companies, may issue title insurance.  In contrast, in some states, like Delaware, only attorneys may issue title insurance.  The title insurance rates are promulgated by the Department of Insurance so title insurance obtained through an attorney is priced the same as from a title company.  In addition, closing costs…

Tips on Inspection Periods for Short Sale Transactions

As most of you have likely seen, the demand in today’s market for short sale properties is very high, with decreasing inventory and a large pool of buyers.  In fact, property prices are increasing in many areas because of this high demand, and short sale sellers are often receiving many offers – some possibly even…

The AS-IS Contract And Disclosure

When a transaction is an AS-IS sale, the seller often insists that the property is in “AS-IS” condition in an attempt to reduce repair limits/credits and possibly shift the responsibility for determining the true condition of the property to the buyer.  It is well known that the buyer is typically given a specified period of…

Should I Order A New Survey Or Rely On A Prior Survey?

Our clients often ask this question when they are purchasing residential property. You can only rely on the prior survey if the Seller has an existing survey accurately depicting the property and the Seller can sign an affidavit at closing that there have been no changes to the property since the date of the survey.…

What About The Flat Screen TV?

There is no question that home-technology has improved tremendously in recent years. As a result of this improvement, we have received a steady increase in questions and disputes regarding whether an item should be considered a fixture or personal property with respect to residential sales. For example, flat screen TVs and built in speaker units…

Substituting Contract Pages

We have noticed an increase in a practice, that if not done with full and proper disclosure, could lead to substantial trouble for the parties involved, including civil liability, license forfeiture, or worse yet, criminal sanctions.  The practice involves changing and/or substituting pages to a fully executed contract.   While we recognize the reality that…

Preventing Post Closing Issues

Many clients, their agents, and unfortunately some closing/title agents believe that the end of a real estate transaction occurs when it closes and funds.  Too many times we have seen post-closing glitches, oversight, or lack of follow-up lead to problems with the future sale of a property.  Over the last few weeks we have run…

Counting Time Periods When Using The FR/BAR Contract Form

Under the FR/BAR Contract calendar days are used when calculating time periods versus the CRSP-12 Contract form, in which business days are used. Consequently, it is much easier to count time periods using the FR/BAR since you don’t have to worry about excluding national legal holidays when counting your time periods.  You don’t count the…

Dealing With Entities As Buyers In Investment Properties

As most of you are aware, more and more investors are coming to this area to invest in distressed properties. The result is an increasing number of short sale contracts in which the buyers are entities (such as LLCs) rather than individuals. Typically, short sale lenders require the seller to provide a slew of documentation,…

How to Effectively Use an Attorney From a Realtor’s Perspective

We have found with our experience that most real estate professionals are not aware of how they can most effectively utilize an attorney throughout a real estate transaction to not only protect themselves, but to better serve their clients. Many real estate professionals (and/or even their clients) are under the assumption that they will receive…

Issues to Consider Before Signing a Construction Contract

With the recent issues involving high profile builder/contractor financial challenges, and with the proliferation of buyers who are considering new home construction, we have received a number of inquiries lately about adequately negotiating construction contracts to best protect anyone who wants to build a new home. While there is no substitute for engaging a qualified…

Berlin Patten Raises Funds for the American Cancer Society

Originally Published: 9/14/2012 Berlin Patten would like to thank our donors, sponsors, and guests for supporting our charity bartending event for the American Cancer Society on September 10, 2012.  Together, we almost doubled our fundraising contributions from last year!  We would like to give special thanks to Shane Rawley, owner of Shaner’s Pizzeria.  He and…

Issues with Designating Seller as “Owner of Record”

Originally Published: 9/3/2012 One trend we have noticed recently is an increasing number of new purchase contracts with “Owner of Record” designated as the seller.  For several reasons, we do not encourage sellers’ agents to complete contracts with this designation, or for buyers to sign contracts without the full legal name of the seller listed.…

CRSP-12 and CRSP-12 Addendums Debut

Originally Published: 8/10/2012 Effective August 20, 2012, the FAR-9 Contract will be replaced with the Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase (CRSP-12). In addition, the Comprehensive Addendum (FARA-10) will be replaced with the CRSP-12 addenda. Please see the attached link to the summary list of the changes between the FAR-9 Contract and the CRSP-12 Contract.…

IMPORTANCE OF OBTAINING NEW SURVEYS AND HAVING THEM REVIEWED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FLORIDA REALTORS/FLORIDA BAR CONTRACT

Originally Published: 6/8/2012 The following are excerpts of a more comprehensive article previously published by Julie A. Horstkamp, Esquire, Berlin Patten, PLLC, Member of Sarasota Association of Realtors/Sarasota County Bar Association Joint Committee, and Chair of the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Joint Committee. We receive a number of questions regarding the survey provision under the Florida…

Florida Power of Attorney Statutes – Understanding the Recent Changes

Originally Published: 6/1/2012 In October, 2011, several changes were made to Florida Statutes dealing with the Powers of Attorney.  Some of the more material provisions and/or changes thereto are as follows: Generally speaking, a power of attorney executed in Florida that is to be used to convey real property must have two witnesses and a…

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Set New Short Sale Timelines

Originally Published: 5/26/2012 Please note that we have been advised that starting June 15, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has indicated that it will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give a final short sale decision within 60 days. Fannie and Freddie must also respond to initial requests for a short sale within 30…

And the Survey Says?

Originally Published: 5/12/2012 Survey review is a prevalent part of our practice whether we do so for purposes of property due diligence, removing or confirming title issues, etc. More often than not Buyers are unclear as to the necessary requirement that a survey must include to be used for purposes of removing title exceptions and…

“Collected” Funds

Originally Published: 4/25/2012 You might have noticed that more and more closing agents are requiring wire transfers from buyers to fund closings. Berlin Patten was forced to recently adopt this practice. Please note that no closing agent who has adopted this practice is doing so because they want to. Due to changes in banking regulations,…

Bank of America Process Changes

Originally Published: 4/13/2012 Several Florida legislature bills, including HB 213, are attempting to make Florida a non-judicial foreclosure state, which would allow banks to foreclose on properties in certain instances without filing a lawsuit or otherwise using the judicial process. This may preclude homeowners from the opportunity to defend foreclosure, which many experts believe is…

Deficiency – What is it and How Much Time Does My Bank Have to Sue?

Originally Published: 3/27/2012 When an underwater home is sold in a short sale or a foreclosure, the greatest concern is almost always over the remaining mortgage balance owed by the homeowner (known as a “deficiency balance”) and how long the lender has to try to collect it.  When a property is sold in short sale,…

How Bankruptcy Can Backfire on Homeowners in Foreclosure

Originally Published: 3/12/2012 Many homeowners resort to filing bankruptcy in order to stop an imminent foreclosure on homestead property when no other legal options are available.  While, in most cases, the mortgage holder can still foreclose on the property, it cannot do so until the property is released from the bankruptcy estate.  This can take…

23 Federal Laws that Apply to Real Estate Sales

Originally Published: 3/8/2012 RealtorMag recently published an article entitled “Federal Laws that Apply to Real Estate Sales.” The article provides a nice and concise summary of the multitude of Federal laws that govern the various aspects of real estate transactions.  Needless to say, there are many. For further information on how these laws impact your real…

Backup Offers

Originally Published: 2/22/2012 Most short sale addenda have provisions for backup offers if you check the appropriate box. It is our opinion that, generally speaking, you should not check the box permitting backup offers when dealing with a short sale. It creates too many unnecessary legal and practical issues. Most importantly, many lenders and their…

Foreclosure Update

As most are painfully aware, Florida foreclosures suffered tremendously last year after the discovery of apparent rampant fraud by both lenders and foreclosure attorneys in prosecuting foreclosure actions. Many existing foreclosure lawsuits came to a sudden halt, and new filings dropped significantly. As a result of this, along with the poor foreclosure practices of many…

Response to Anonymous Blog Entry: Title Agents should still not be conducting short sale negotiations

On or about September 30, 2011, an anonymous reader provided a response to a blog Berlin Patten had sent to its readers regarding who can or should be engaged in the negotiation of short sales. While we debated whether or not to further comment on the subject (as the blog response did not really specifically…

Short Sale “Pre-Approvals”

We are frequently asked about listings being marketed as “pre-approved” in the MLS. We suspect this designation is intended to imply or suggest that there can be a quick closing.  We feel that the use of the term “pre-approved” can be misleading and lead to unrealistic or false expectations. Other than a pre-approval under HAFA,…

Short Sale Negotiations

We have been asked by several real estate agents to investigate whether or not a title company or title agent can conduct short sale negotiations. One of Berlin Patten’s contacts at the Florida Department of Financial Services, Bureau of Investigation, Title Services, responded to our inquiry as follows: “The license for a title insurance agent does not…

Assignable Contracts & Specific Buyers

Please be advised that short sale lenders are getting very strict about approving the specific buyer identified on the contract. As such, lenders are carefully scrutinizing assignment provisions in contracts. Short sale lenders who are reviewing contracts (that permit the contract to be assigned) are kicking back the contracts more and more frequently.) Lenders are…

Berlin Patten’s Short Sale and Bankruptcy Services

Real Estate professionals are frequently confronted with listing a short sale property encumbered by two or more mortgages and a seller who is strongly considering bankruptcy as its “exit strategy.” We have struggled with that same scenario… working on a short sale for months, and then the seller decides to file for bankruptcy. At that…

HAFA Policy Changes for Servicers

Lenders’ inconsistent eligibility requirements seem to be the most consistent thing we have seen with respect to the Federal Government’s HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) Program.  The Federal Government seems to have taken notice. On August 9, 2011, the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program adopted certain policy guideline changes.  The changes, we presume, are in…

Short Sales – Working with Second Lenders

Anyone who works with short sales knows that it can be very difficult to get short sales approved when there is a second (or even third lender). To successfully complete a short sale, ALL lenders (among others) must agree. The problem is that in many instances, they do not. In fact, we have seen situations…

Deficiencies and Deficiency Judgements

We spend a great deal of time counseling prospective short sale sellers regarding the advantages of attempting to pursue a short sale rather than allowing their property to go through the foreclosure process. Many people do not realize that the foreclosure process is a two step process. The first step is the sale of the…

Bank of America Realtor/Broker Listing Agent Certification – Questions and Answers

The new Bank of America Realtor/Broker Listing Agent Certification (the “Certification”) has fostered some significant concern among real estate agents. The most common questions and our comments/responses are as follows: 1. Question: Does paragraph 1 of the Certification mean that Bank of America will not pay a commission. Answer: No! Bank of America never paid…

Bank of America Document Warning

Please be advised that Bank of America is now requiring the parties to a short sale transaction to execute certain form documents before they will consider your short sale for approval. The buyer and seller will be required to execute a new addendum, and somewhat interestingly, the agents involved in the transaction will also need…

Nonlawyer Assisting the Short Sale Seller: Ministerial Acts or UPL?

As you know, short sale negotiations (and negotiators) are coming under great scrutiny by local and federal authorities. There are significant new disclosures for non-attorneys, and now the Florida Bar is weighing in on the subject. In essence, various proposals under consideration by the Florida Bar suggest that a great deal of the short sale…

FTC Issues New Rules for MARS

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued new rules that might impact real estate practitioners who represent clients involved in short sale transactions. The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (“MARS”) regulations define anyone providing services which assist or attempt to assist the consumer in negotiating a short sale as a “MARS” provider. Depending on certain factors,…
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