Understanding Homestead Exemption Portability….

Homestead Exemption Portability

When you declare a home as your primary residence, you’re eligible for a homestead tax exemption in most states. While varying state by state, generally, declaring your primary residence as your homestead means you only pay property taxes on a value lower than the appraised value of your home. Your home is then protected from creditors in the event of a spouse death or bankruptcy. Some states automatically apply a homestead exemption, while others require that you file for it.

When you sell your current home or change primary residences, you’re eligible to transfer your benefit (accrued property tax savings) from one property to another. You must check your state’s regulations for exact values, but usually this allows you to lower the assessed value on your new residence. 

Florida Homestead Portability:

In 1992, Florida enacted the “Save Our Homes” (SOH) Constitutional Amendment. This limits the annual increase in assessed property value to no more than 3%, or the Consumer Price Index for the previous year. 

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, “If you are moving from a previous Florida homestead to a new homestead in Florida, you may be able to transfer, or “port,” all or part of your homestead assessment difference. If you’re eligible, portability allows most Florida homestead owners to transfer their SOH benefit from their old homestead to a new homestead. This lowers the tax assessment and, consequently, the taxes for the new homestead.  

  • “To transfer the SOH benefit, you must establish a homestead exemption for the new home within two years of January 1 of the year you abandoned the old homestead (not two years after the sale).” 
  • “You must file the Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference (Form DR-501T) with the homestead exemption application. The deadline to file these forms is March 1.” 
  • “Complete all the forms and applications required for the exemption and file them with your county property appraiser. If the property appraiser denies your application, you may file a petition with the county’s value adjustment board.” 

Homestead portability is a misunderstood benefit. It applies to many homeowners that are either upgrading or downgrading residences. Are you purchasing a new home as your primary residence? If you want to learn about homestead portability in your area, reach out to a mortgage expert or property appraiser. 


Source: https://mailchi.mp/69628a5d637f/family-opportunity-loans-12036879?e=7f9f7c2a51

10 False Assumptions People Make About Real Estate Agents

Everyone either knows a real estate agent, or is connected to one through six (probably less) degrees of separation. Between friends and relatives, and the stereotypical representation of real estate agents on television and in pop culture, the general public has adopted some assumptions about agents that are very far from the truth.

Here are ten things that people assume about real estate agents that just aren’t true:

1. They make “easy money”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. The only people who could ever possibly make the case that being an agent is an easy way to make money are those who have never done it. It’s hard, uncertain work, with many instances of months wasted on a deal that doesn’t ever close. The only thing easy about it is reading the Lighter Side of Real Estate.

2. They’re required to show you homes even if you’re not pre-approved

There are definitely agents who will show you houses without a pre-approval (or at minimum a pre-qualification), but an agent is not required to, and most experienced agents probably won’t. The ability to qualify for financing dictates whether or not a deal is even possible, so an agent is simply saving you from disappointment (or worse) by asking you to get pre-approved.

3. Zillow is more accurate

It would be wonderful if Zillow (and similar websites) were accurate in their home valuations, but if you compared their results to actual appraised values, in most cases you’d burst out laughing. Real estate agents want you to get as much money as possible for your house, but oftentimes reality gets in the way. Trust your realtor to give you a fair market assessment for your house…at least more than you trust Zillow.

4. They make huge commissions

Popular real estate flipping shows have given everyone the impression that real estate agents are rolling in the dough. Most agents dream for that, but reality is much different. The median US home sale price in December 2016 was $234,900, this means after splitting the commission with the other agent involved and paying their broker, an agent will take home about $3500 from the transaction, not including all marketing and other related expenses that were spent on the listing. As for the average agents monthly income, this usually adds up to about $40,000 per year. Not exactly the huge number that you would expect.

5. They’re an unnecessary evil

Many people have made the argument that real estate agents are unnecessary and are merely an impediment to a more efficient “For sale by owner” model of real estate. The best way to eliminate this misconception is to try selling your house yourself. There is nothing more sobering than desperately Googling state and federal real estate laws as some unkempt stranger is knocking on your door asking you questions about your FSBO house.

6. They’re sleazy

Unfortunately, real estate agents have joined the ranks of lawyers, politicians, and salespeople in some of the public’s assumptions about their trustworthiness. The financial collapse of 2008 exacerbated this perception. Thankfully, the market correction also weeded out most of the unsavory’s of the business. Truth is, real estate agents are honest, hardworking people, making a living like any other profession. And just like any other profession, there are a few bad apples that unfairly give the others a bad name.

7. They’re uneducated

This misconception really gets under most agents’ skin, because not only do many agents have degrees (and advanced degrees in quite a few cases), but the knowledge required to pass a real estate exam is substantial. There are many people who are unable to get their licensing because of an inability to pass the licensing tests, which makes the concept of an “uneducated” agent laughable.

8. They want you to pay more for a house so they can make more money

If you truly looked at the math involved in calculating real estate commissions, you’d never utter this falsehood again. An agent getting you to pay $10,000 more for a property will net that agent approximately $150, which barely covers the cost of gas required to drive to and from your appointments. The truth is that an agent absolutely wants you to buy a house. What’s not true is that they want you to pay more for one.

9. They’re mostly part-timers or bored housewives

If you ask the average person to describe the archetypal real estate agent, they’ll probably say it’s an older married woman who is looking for something to do in her free time. Ugh. This is stereotyping at its finest, and ignores the hundreds of thousands of male agents, the hundreds of thousands of full-time agents, and the hard-working primary bread winners that make up the real estate workforce. Sure, the stereotypical agents do exist, but they’re the exception to the rule.

10. All they want from you is the deal

Yes, agents want your business. But true professional real estate agents want to be your lifelong real estate advisor. They want you to think of them whenever you or your family and friends have any real estate questions. They want to see you and talk to you more than once a decade, and they want to make sure that you remember your interactions with them as being absolutely delightful.



The 10 Commandments of Selling a Home

31 Reasons why your Real Estate Agent is worth their commission. REASON 23:


REASON 23: They also broker.

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What exactly is a broker? The word broker is a noun that describes someone in a lot of different industries. There are mortgage brokers, stock brokers, franchise brokers, insurance brokers, online brokers, and many others. But in the case of Real Estate, ‘brokering’ takes on a different persona, as a verb.

Broker as a verb means that they negotiate or arrange a particular plan, settlement, or deal. Some synonyms are: organize, orchestrate, clinch, work out, and bring about. Notice the word ‘clinch’? If your agent is able to that for you, they’re definitely worth boasting about.

When talking about a Real Estate Broker, this person has elected to continue their education past the standard real-estate-agent level and has passed a state real estate broker licensing exam. This licensing allows the Real Estate Broker to now work as independent agents or have other agents work for them. The biggest distinction among a Real Estate agent/Realtor and a Real Estate Broker is that a broker can work under their own, while an agent has to work under a licensed broker.

When asking any investor who’s agent was able to maneuver and close a multiple offer deal by negotiating terms instead of price….they know exactly who that is.



-Sandra S. Sibley, P.A.



-Image: shopforclipart.com/collection/question-mark-animation.html

Spreading the flu…..Flu Season


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Working in the real estate business I come in contact with a lot of people. Buying or selling a home can be a stressful and exciting time, but remember if your sick, it’s best to reschedule that showing or open house. Get your rest and protect others from getting sick as well. Stress can weaken the immune system and make us more susceptible to getting a bug. Getting sick is always a pain, in many ways. So whether it be a cold or the flu, special precautions need to be made so that you can protect yourself and others. Along with thinking about getting a flu shot, here is a notice from the CDC with some tips….

Hurricane Evacuation Centers and Transportation


Hurricane Evacuation Centers and Transportation

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It’s that time again folks. Hurricane season. There is more to this notorious season that stalking up on water, food, gas, and …well beer :-). Here is a list of Evacuation Centers in Sarasota County and a plan for if you aren’t able to transport yourself to these shelters. Keep it handy just in case…..

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31 Reasons why your Real Estate Agent is worth their commission. REASON 22


Reason 22: Their teamwork is essential

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Teamwork is essential in the real estate world. Saying like “We are better together”, “No man is an island” and “A three strand cord is not easily broken” are all timeless and very true points. Every Real Estate agent has a team behind them working for you to make the process as smooth as possible. Even if your agent is a one man show, they still have a team behind them. Every agent has a capable team of sign makers, mortgage brokers, contractors, inspectors, processors, attorneys, accountants, engineers, ad designers, auditors, and countless other key professionals that are necessary to facilitate in the home buying and selling process. From searching and assessing to sale prep and closing, they have someone they trust for every step of the way.

Let all of these valuable professionals work hard for you too.



-Sandra S. Sibley, P.A.


-Image: medium.com/@mikeschoultz/10-team-characteristics-for-effective-teamwork-e0429b362ddd

31 Reasons why your Real Estate Agent is worth their commission. REASON 21


Reason 21: They have access to valuable resources

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Today’s modern real estate agent is well-equipped when it comes to helpful resources. They silently perform a multitude of tasks simultaneously using the latest technology and gadgetry. While your agent is showing you that beautiful home you’ve had your eye on, your agent quite possibly may have scheduled your home to be shown at the exact same time. They communicate with other agents, lenders, inspectors, etc.. in real time, gathering valuable feedback, while seamlessly pointing out the features of the home you are being shown that meet your specific criteria.

Using their exclusive resources they also have the ability to dig deep and learn exactly how your home should be priced correctly the first time, which is one of the biggest mistakes that are made by sellers. Pricing your home to high or to low could cost you thousands of dollars and possibly waste a lot of time.



-Sandra S. Sibley, P.A.


-Image: businessfirstfamily.com/effective-resource-management-techniques/



31 Reasons why your Real Estate Agent is worth their commission. REASON 20


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Reason 20: The juice is worth the squeeze

Have you ever thought “You made how much on my closing? Nobody is worth that kind of money!”? Well agents have heard that many times from their customers. The funny this is, is that kind of comment is usually coming from the customer they probably just saved from buying a home with a cracked foundation. Keep this in mind the next time you have that thought, a single number on a single line of a multiple-lined accounting statement doesn’t represent your agent’s entire business. Maybe that agent did make $30,000 from the closing of a million-dollar home, but that isn’t their bottom line. It’s no different that the sales price isn’t the bottom line for the seller.

If your a business owner you know all to well that there are always many expenses to doing business. Some of the expenses for a professional agent are quite hefty. To reach those sellers, buyers, and agents, they spend thousands of dollars a month to advertise their services and to build their network to sell your home or to find you the home of your dreams. MLS dues, gas, rewards to loyal clients, lunches, broker dues, insurance, listing pictures, signs, Google ads, open houses, print material, events, mail outs, radio, ads, flyers, meetings, websites, lead funnels, and countless of other mediums they use to display your home or to find you that perfect home for you.



Sandra S. Sibley, P.A. 6/2018


Picture: https://jazzsportsbook.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/squeeze-the-juice-out-of-a-great-sportsbook/

31 Reasons why your Real Estate Agent is worth their commission. REASON 19


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Reason 19: Loyalty is priceless

Everybody needs someone like Tenzing Norgay. Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person on record to reach the summit of Mt Everest, Norgay was his Sherpa that kept pushing him to keep going while carrying his pack! Few people have heard of Tenzing Norgay; but Sir Hillary received a knighthood for this accomplishment. Quote from Nation Geographic’s excerpt on the first ever successful summit reach. “Now, the British were determined to bring every possible advantage to their spring 1953 offensive– including hiring Tenzing, age 38, as their lead Sherpa”.

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That, is what you professional real estate agent does for you. They namelessly fight for you to reach the summit. Once contracting with a licensed agent, they not only are required by law to look after your best interests, they willingly offer you their loyalty.

The duty of loyalty is one of the most fundamental and important duties of the professional Real Estate Agent. This duty obligates them to act at all times solely in the best interests of their customers to the exclusion of all other interests, including their own self-interests. An agent is is also obligated to safeguard their customers confidence and secrets and to keep private any information that might weaken their bargaining position.
Don’t you deserve your own Tenzing Norgay?
Sandra S. Sibley, P.A. 6/2018