Home Inspections And What They Should Cover


*Siding: Look for dents or buckling
*Foundations: Look for cracks or water seepage
*Exterior Brick: Look for cracked bricks or mortar pulling away from bricks
*Insulation: Look for condition, an adequate rating for climate (the higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation is)
*Doors and Windows: Look for loose or tight fits, the condition of locks, condition of weatherstripping
*Roof: Look for age, conditions of flashing, pooling water, buckled shingles, or loose gutters and downspouts
*Ceilings, walls, and moldings. Look for loose pieces, drywall that is pulling away.
*Porch/Deck: Loose railings or step, rot
*Electrical: Look for condition of fuse box/circuit breakers, number of outlets in each room.
*Plumbing: Look for poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots or corrosion that indicate leaks, sufficient insulation
*Water Heater: Look for age, size adequate for the house, the speed of recovery, energy rating.
*Furnace/Air Conditioning: Look for age, energy rating. Furnaces are rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency; the higher the rating, the lower your fuel costs. However, other factors such as payback period and other operating costs, such as electricity to operate motors.
*Garage: Look for exterior in good repair; condition of the floor—cracks, stains, etc.; condition of door mechanism.
Basement: Look for water leakage, musty smell.
*Attic: Look for adequate ventilation, water leaks from the roof.
*Septic Tanks (if applicable): Adequate absorption field capacity for the percolation rate in your area and the size of your family.
*Driveways/Sidewalks: Look for cracks, heaving pavement, crumbling near edges, stains.

www.REALTOR.org/realtormag Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ®.  All rights reserved

Homestead And Other Exemptions

There are a number of exemptions outlined in state law (Florida Statute 196) that can lower your property's value and ultimately save you money in property taxes. This includes the homestead exemption which allows for a deduction of up to $50,000 off the assessed value of a property owner's primary residence. (a portion of exemption is not applicable to school taxes - see below)

Homestead Exemption

All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots. The exemption removes $25,000 off the assessed value of an owner-occupied residence and could provide up to another $25,000 additional exemption off assessed value over $50,000. (This additional exemption does not apply to school millage.) Not only does the homestead exemption lower the value on which you pay taxes, but it also triggers the 'Save Our Homes' benefit which limits future annual increases in assessed value to 3% or less. The sale of the property, changes in ownership, or changes to the property can cause the exemption and benefit to be removed or altered. (When a home is sold, the assessed value increases to market value for the next tax roll.)

You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you. To be eligible for a homestead exemption, you must own and occupy your home as your permanent residence on January 1. The deadline to timely file for a homestead exemption is March 2, 2020. Late filing is permitted through early September. (The deadline for late filing is set by Florida law and falls on the 25th day following the mailing of the Notices of Proposed Property Taxes which occurs in mid-August.)

***File Now Online for a Homestead Exemption*** 

Manual Homestead Exemption Application
Applications and other required documentation may be hand-delivered or mailed to the Customer Service/Exemptions Division at 231 E. Forsyth Street, Suite 260, Jacksonville, Florida 32202, faxed to (904) 630-2525 or e-mailed to pacustserv@coj.net.

Required Documentation

Homestead Exemption on Mobile Homes and Additional Requirements


If you are filing for a homestead exemption and had a previous homestead in the state of Florida in either of the two tax roll years preceding the year for which you are filing, you may be eligible for Portability. Portability allows you to transfer the 'Save Our Homes' benefit from a previous homestead to a new homestead to lower your assessed value. This is not a transfer of your previous homestead exemption. You must file separate applications for homestead exemption and portability. The deadline to file timely for Portability is also March 1. Find out more on the Portability page.

Automatic Renewal

To ease the burden on taxpayers, the Property Appraiser automatically renews homestead exemptions. If there have been no changes to the property or changes in ownership or use, and the homesteaded property is still your primary residence, your Homestead Exemption will be automatically renewed each year on January 1st. In January, you will be mailed a RENEWAL CARD identifying the property and owner possessing the exemption. Keep the card as your receipt.

Other Exemptions & Informational Brochures


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Homestead Exemption Overview:
Florida law requires that the application is made by March 1st to be eligible for the $25,000 Homestead Exemption. Only new applicants or those who had a change of residence need to apply. Automatic renewals are mailed in January each year.

In Florida, $25,000 of the assessed value of your home is exempt from real estate taxes, but you have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the exemption. First you much have the title or record to your property as of January 1 and reside on the property. You have to be a legal and permanent resident of Florida as of January 1. When applying for the exemption status, bring along a copy of your deed or tax bill, and a Florida county voters registration or Declaration of Domicile. If you drive, you must also bring your Florida driver's license and automobile registration. New applications must be submitted in person at the appraiser's office, but renewals may be done by mail. For further information, consult the County Property Appraiser's Office.

Real Estate Taxes

All residents are subject to county taxes, but each city or special district levies taxes within its boundaries. City, special-district, and county taxes are combined in one tax bill. Real estate taxes are assessed as of January 1 each year. They are due and payable on November 1 and become delinquent if not paid before April 1 of the following year. Florida law holds the taxpayer responsible for receiving and paying tax bills in full. For additional information contact the County Property Appraiser's Office.

Establishing Residency

To establish residency, you may register to vote or file a Declaration of Domicile, which is an affidavit available at the county courthouse. Filing one copy with the Circuit Court provides a record of your intention to make Florida your home. Simply moving to the State does not guarantee legal residency. For more information contact the County's Clerk of Circuit Court.

What is a Homestead Exemption?

Florida Law entitles every person, who has legal or equitable title to real estate and maintains it as his/her permanent residence, to apply for a $25,000 homestead property tax exemption. A partial exemption may apply if the ownership of the applicant is less than 100%.

Am I eligible to file?
You must meet the following requirements as of January 1st:

Have a legal or beneficial title to the property, recorded in the Official Records of County
Residency on the property
Be a permanent resident of the State of Florida
Be a United States citizen or possess a Permanent Residence Card (green card)

When do I file?
The deadline to file an application for exemption is March 1st. Under Florida law, failure to file for an exemption by March 1st constitutes a waiver of the exemption privilege for the year.
Regular filing is January 2nd - March 1st.
Pre-filing for the coming year is March 2nd - December 31st.

How do I file?
Take copies of the required documentation to your Exemption Department: Generally at the County or City Court House

Buying A Waterfront Home

Things to consider when buying any waterfront vacation home.

First off, congratulations on looking to Indian River County for a possible permanent or vacation home. The good news about Brevard county from an investment angle is:

There is only so much waterfront or Coastal property available.
Indian River County has strict environmental laws that affect building permits. This means there are only so many homes and always will be a limited number of homes here.

Is there a view?
Views really do matter. An unobstructed Ocean view adds as much as 60% to the value of a home per the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. Proximity to Golf courses or a park can add as much as 20% to a home's value. This is per an article by a much-published author named Soren Anderson, a writer from Manchester College.

Consider the recreational activities…
What and the When.
For example in a Ski resort area, your options are limited due to weather considerations and the total amount of activities available is definitely less.
*In Indian River County, about the only thing you cannot do year-round are mountain climbing and white water rafting.

Boating access and controlling depth
Is there direct boating access on the property? If so, how large a boat can you have behind the home? This is determined by what we in the Keys call controlling draft or depth. For example: If a boat is under 30ft in most cases 3 ft draft is OK. Draft means...what is the lowest water depth you have to go through to get to open or deep water. If you have a sailboat or 50 ft boat you will need a deeper draft such as 5ft.
Now ..obviously if you have a 50 ft sailboat behind your home, the canals or waterways have to provide you with turn-around room.
If the access is a deep draft, then expect prices to go up. If there is no water access at the home or the draft is for kayaks only, in most cases expect a drop in price.
If there is no direct water access...how far is the nearest boat ramp or is there a boat slip available? If so, is it included and what is the draft out of the boat slip.
So the boating issue has a very direct effect on pricing here. Neighborhoods with bigger canals and deep draft boating are generally home to the Million dollar and plus homes.

Additional Consideration's

Nearby Medical and Shopping Options
These are very important considerations. If there is an accident, how far away is a hospital?

If You Need Groceries or Restaurants, What Is Nearby?
Oftentimes vacation properties can be secluded and don’t offer easy access to the above. At first being, remote can seem as desirable, but in the end, it can grow old quickly.
This also affects home values by the way. If you can have the vacation feel and recreation, yet have amenities nearby, the prices go up.

How Much Room Do You Need?
If you own a home with nearby recreation and sightseeing, expect people to come out of the woodwork. Everyone will be your friend. Larger homes, with more bedrooms, a 3/2, and up always rent better. So if you can, get home with extra space.

Type of Construction or Is It Built to last.
The age of the home will determine the building code that it was built to. For example: In the Keys, newer homes have to be built to strict specs as to wind handling characteristics.
Also, look for low maintenance homes.

Finding Renters
Does the home have good rental potential and is there local rental management available?
This is a very important consideration, both for long-term and short-term vacation rentals.
Remember, even if you don’t want to rent, this can be an important consideration for a future buyer or if your situation changes.

Home Maintenance.
Are there nearby electricians, plumbers, appliance stores, and general contractors.
If anything does happen, the prices to have things repaired or replaced will be less if there is competition and service people are nearby.
Check with the REALTOR you are talking with to get a Vendor list of who the Real Estate company uses to service their rentals and offices.

Rules and Regulations
Make sure you are clear on and have copies of any deed restrictions or condo docs as to what is allowed and what is not. Too many rules can be appetizing for some but a turnoff for future buyers. For example, if you have children who will want to use the property in the future as a college break, lots of communities can prohibit it.