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, adequate rating for climate
(the higher the R value, the more effective the insulation
Doors and Windows: Look for loose or tight fits, 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, dry
wall 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 house, 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 floor—cracks,
stains, etc.; condition of door mechanism.
Basement: Look for water leakage, musty smell.
Attic: Look for adequate ventilation, water leaks from roof.
Septic Tanks (if applicable): Adequate absorption field capacity
for the percolation rate in your area and the size of your
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® .
Copyright 2003. All rights reserved
New 2008 property tax Reforms:
In a January 2008 ballot measure, Florida voters
approved a constitutional amendment that introduced several
changes to our state's property tax system. The four changes
may affect the amount of tax you owe:
Increased Homestead Exemption: If you're
currently receiving a $25,000 homestead exemption on your
property taxes, you will automatically be upgraded to a $50,000
exemption this year. If you are a homeowner and do not currently
receive the exemption, you may file your application in person
along with a $15 late fee, through mid-September.
Save Our Homes Portability Cap: You may
now trasfer up to $500,000 of your property tax cap to
a new home when you move. To take advantage of this benefit,
you must file a Homestead Exemption and Portability Application.
Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption: If you're required
to file a Tangible Personal Property Tax Return, you're entitled
to a $25,000 exemption on business equipment.
Non-Homestead Cap: Beginning next year, those properties
not eligible for a homestead exemption may apply to receive
a 10% cap on property tax increases.
Homestead Exemption Overview:
FILING PERIOD JANUARY 1 – MARCH 1
Florida law requires that application be 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
apply. Automatic renewals are mailed in January each year.
$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.
To establish residency, you may register
to vote or file a Declaration of Domicile, which
is an affidavit available at the CountyCourthouse.
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 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
Have 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 any
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
Buying a waterfront home
Things to consider when buying any waterfront vacation home.
First off, congratulations at looking toIndian River County
for a possible permanent or vacation home. The good news
about Brevard countyfrom an investment angle are:
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 homes value. This
is per an article by a much published author named Soren
Anderson, a writer from Manchester College.
Consider the recreational activities…
The 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 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
If the access is 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.
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 a home with
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.
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
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.