It's October 1st and now is the time to plan your homestead exemption if you are closing before December 31 and occupying the property as your primary residence. You have until end of February to apply for the Homestead, but procrastination can cost you money.
The Homestead Exemption has a benefit that saves you a lot of tax money. Accroding to the Save Out Homes statute, when you havie the Homestead exemption, the non-advalorem part of the tax bill can only go up 3%.
Procrastination can cost you money. We can personally tell you that in 2004 we waited. We purchased a house 2 months before Hurricane Charely. Our previous home was almost peninding and closing in September. We were going to apply for the Homestead after it closed. Hurricane Charley hit August 13th; and our house near the River was deemed unliveable. We hadn't applied for the homestead couldn't apply until the house could be occupied - over 2 years. Our Taxes even on a destroyed house,at the height of the market, rose over 300% and our payments for 2 years nearly doubled.
We had another instance where a customer closed in July and didnt apply for the Homestead right away. While vacationing with family, he had a Heart attack with complications in Orlando in November and was in a hospital there until the close to the end of February and just made it back in time to aplly and get the Homestead.
We highly recommend to all Buyers, if they close before December 31 and occupy the property as a primary residence, then go apply for the Homestead as soon as you can.