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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What really is portability and can it save you money?

Are you thinking about selling and curious what that new tax bill might be if you buy a bigger home? Smaller home?

When does Homestead and portability kick in?

What will I owe in capital gains taxes if I sell my primary residence?


Here are some facts to help clear these questions up:

  • Regardless of the date you buy your home throughout the year- The property appraiser office recalculates the taxes from the purchase on January 1st of the following year.
  • Receiving Homestead means if the home is your primary residence you will save you around $700-$1000 a year. 
    • You Must File….It is not automatic…
    • File online or in mail
    • Deadline to File for Homestead is March 1st, 2019
  • Portability is a huge savings that saves $1,000’s every year with little effort.
    • Must be transferred from one primary residence to another primary residence within 2 years of selling that original property.
    • File online or in mail.
    • Go to and click at top where it says PORTABILITY ESTIMATOR or call me to discuss further.
  • If you live in your primary residence for 2 full years, you don’t pay capital gains taxes on $250,000 for a single person or $500,000 for a couple of any profits from the sale.

Please call us if you have any questions about the above material.  We are happy to help you navigate through the process to ensure optimal savings.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The Station

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day, at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true, and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering – waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!” “When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage!” “When I get a promotion.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

- Robert J. Hastings

Monday, October 01, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

Controversial development gets unanimously denied in Weston Hills Country Club, Weston, Florida.  Read more about it here:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Here’s the scenario…..

You are thinking about moving or making improvements to your current home.  Should you remodel the kitchen, baths, flooring, add a pool, change the patio decking, make an addition to add more square footage, replace the aging roof, finally change the a/c units, add or change window treatments, remove the popcorn ceiling, add a fence, upgrade appliances, paint the interior, paint the exterior, add a circular driveway, change out your landscaping, add impact glass . . .? (And yes I’m laughing as I write this because no matter how much you’ve done, there’s always more you can do.)

I have zero scientific or mathematical data to support my philosophy on over-improving your home, but I do have over two decades of selling properties in South Florida.  My general consensus is that you can spend roughly ten to fifteen percent of your home’s current value on upgrades and renovations.  For example, sellers with a home valued at $1,000,000 today can spend around $100k to $150k and still remain at market value if they plan on moving in the next few years.   My experience and market statistics show that sellers who make major renovations get substantially more money for their home at closing, get closer to their asking price, and spend fewer days on the market.  This information stays valid in good and bad markets. 

Here’s the caveat with the above information:  Is your home really worth what you think it’s worth?  Market conditions are changing weekly in South Florida.  Inventory has gone up ten percent, down ten percent, and has flattened off in the last sixty days.  The number of closed sales for January was off by 50% in Weston.  The internet, with sites like Zillow, has everyone believing that you type in your address and you get an instant, accurate figure on the value of your property. 

Now if you are looking to spend only three to five percent of the perceived value on your home for renovations, knock yourself out and enjoy the naked outdoor shower.  However, if you are planning to spend ten percent or more of the perceived value, I suggest you take the opportunity to consult a real estate expert in your area. You will want to discuss current home values, what improvements are needed immediately versus renovations that would be nice to have, and how all of this adds value to the property. 

I’m honored that most of my clients do consult me when they come to a crossroad about home improvements. I welcome any of our readers to contact me, as well. Thanks as always for allowing me to share my thoughts and provide a positive impact to the local real estate market.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Got Homestead Exemption?

Why not????  I was recently shocked to hear that one of my clients didn’t apply for homestead exemption when they purchased the home several years ago as their primary residence.  This oversight cost them over $10,000 a year in property taxes.  I’m sure more of you are out there so let’s try and get everyone in check. 

There are two main reasons that you should have homestead on your primary residence.  Number one is that your assessed value of the home which is the main ingredient in determining your tax bill can only be increased by a maximum of three percent annually. This limits your exposure to a higher than normal tax bill with the rise of property values.  This is very prudent in today’s market where you saw home values at rock bottom and now over the last five or six years have rebounded.  In some instances, the assessed value has doubled due to the market fluctuations which could generate an inflated property tax bill if there is no homestead on your property.

The number two reason to apply for homestead exemption would be the $25,000 discount off the assessed value that the State of Florida offers to all primary resident homeowners.  There is a complicated formula that figures the exact amount discounted but it ultimately means a $650 to $1,150 savings per year on your property taxes.

In order to get homestead, you need to meet the following criteria and provide the following information:

  1. A legal Florida resident
  2. A value of property worth more than $75,000
  3. As of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you.
  4. Provide the Recorded Deed as Proof of Ownership
  5. Proof of Permanent Residence which includes:
    1. Driver’s license
    2. Voter’s registration
  6. If you or your spouse claim homestead in any other area then you will not be entitled to the exemption.

Although homestead exemption is the most common exemption people talk about, there are several other exemptions that Broward County offers their residences.  Disability, Veteran’s, Deployed Military, and more offer additional savings.  There’s one exemption called the “Granny’s Flat Exemption” that could become a real advantage to many of us.  If you or someone you know has made major renovations to their existing home or built an addition for their parents or grandparents to live with them, an exemption may be option.  There are several rules to this exemption however if you qualify, you are entitled up to twenty percent of your homestead value in savings.

Don’t forget about Portability of your property taxes.  A lot of my empty nester clients are very concerned about what this really means when they sell their home in the suburbs and upgrade to a place on the East Side.  Contact me further for details so I can clear up any of your uncertainties.

A special thanks to all my clients and sphere of relationships who have been powerful advocates of mine over the years.  It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of many transactions in the South Florida Market.




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Updated: Monday, March 18, 2019

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