Purchasing a house in the Sunshine State is an exciting prospect and wise investment. Neither hurricanes nor politics have inhibited the steady rise of home values year over year. Also, Florida boasts lush landscapes, pleasant year-round climate, and low taxes.
At the same time, prospective buyers should not enter a deal without knowing the legal benefits and pitfalls of owning Florida real estate.
Without this knowledge, they can miss opportunities or–alternatively–get stuck with a wrong property. Sound advice from experienced counsel is key to optimal conveyance transactions.
A majority of homes in Florida are located within deed-restricted communities (condominiums are only one form of this legal arrangement). As such, residents are subject to the governing documents of the homeowners association.
The rules may be flexible or strict, so must be examined ahead of a contract. They regard pets, landscaping, special assessments, and common property, to name a few features. Seasoned attorneys can help ascertain your rights, privileges, and obligations amidst the complicated verbiage.
Do not leave such details to realtors who lack the training to spot the legal landmines in such documents.
Beachfront Houses: Pros and Cons
To look at a map of Florida is to see hundreds of miles of coastline. Oceanfront homes abound in this state, and for a good reason: the scenery and climate are pleasing to the senses. Eyes and ears do not tell the whole story.
For instance, in the interest of protecting its delicate ecosystem, Florida has imposed laws restricting the lighting outside beachfront houses. This is to protect the sea turtles during hatching season. The state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can penalize perpetrators of “light pollution.”
Federal environmental laws apply in these areas, too. Other rules forbid any disturbance of specific natural flora at the beach. Owners can only comply, of course, if they know about such statutes and ordinances.
While there is no personal income tax in Florida, counties and municipalities make much of their revenue through taxation on property.
A key fact to remember when buying a house is that the seller’s tax burden may bear no likeness to the one you will assume. There are reasons for this: the current owner’s assessed value is capped by statute.
When a new owner comes along, the value can be recalculated to an often higher figure. Beyond that reality, the original owner likely has a basic tax exemption, knocking 25,000 dollars off the value for tax purposes.
The incoming proprietor must apply for that homestead exemption, so must wait for its benefit to kick in. In the meantime, the new owner is stuck with a higher bill — important especially if the mortgage banker is escrowing for payments.
If you believe yourself to have been defrauded or intentionally misinformed, there is help in unexpected places. Florida has similar real estate litigation methods to Los Angeles, CA. You can cast a wide net to find the best legal assistance.