What is the Save Our Homes Amendment? It is an amendment to the Florida Constitution that caps the annual increase in the assessed value of your home. Whenever you apply for homestead exemption, you receive the Save Our Homes assessment. This keeps your tax bill from rising, as a result of the assessment, by no more than three percent in any particular year. Your assessment is capped at the cost of living increase or three percent, whichever is less. These past few years it’s been very, very small. (This amendment has been in effect, I think, since 1996 or ’98.) But anytime that you apply for a homestead exemption, you’re entitled to the Save Our Homes Amendment which locks in your assessed valuation for the year in which you apply for homestead exemption.
They’ve added a feature to this amendment which allows you to transfer your exemption if you buy another home in Florida- that’s called portability. You have to buy a home within two years in order to be able to transfer your Save Our Homes Amendment valuation to your new property. (There’s a formula that is pro rata if you’re upsizing or downsizing on how they calculate the benefits you have.) If you’ve been a resident of Florida for some time, you’re able to transfer it if you buy another property here in Florida and sell your old property. You do have to notify the property appraiser that you do wish to use portability in transferring your Save Our Homes assessment.
So it caps your assessment and was passed back in the ‘90’s whenever we had fast depreciation, particularly in waterfront property. People who were on fixed income were getting priced out of their homes because they couldn’t afford to pay the taxes. So, they passed this amendment in order to keep people in their homes and not have the tax bill go so high that they couldn’t afford to stay in their homes. The longer you stay in your home, the better you’ll like it. Of course, with the recent decline in property values, the value of Save Our Homes has diminished substantially, but it’s always a nice in a depreciated market. If you buy now, you’ll love it if you stay in the same house, hopefully in about five or six years when the prices take off again.
So if you have any questions about the Save Our Homes Amendment, give me a call at (727) 847-2288.