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What to Say About Amendment 1

Since typical Florida residents probably aren’t clear about Amendment 1, the odds that they know how it applies to their specific situation are pretty slim. Here’s a basic script that real estate professionals can use when talking to potential buyers and sellers about the way this important new law affects their real estate transaction.

Customer: I’m leery of buying/selling at this time due to market conditions and high property taxes.

I have good news. Not only is this a great time to buy due to falling prices and a high level of housing inventory, but Florida voters passed a new law, Amendment 1, in January. Also known as “Save Our Homes Portability,” Amendment 1 allows homestead Floridians to take, or “port,” their property assessment cap (of 3 percent per year) with them when they move into a new home.

Well, what does that mean for me?

To promote more movement in the housing market, Amendment 1 changes the previous Save Our Homes property assessment cap by allowing the difference between the market and just value assessments to be transferred to new homesteads.

Customer: Can you give me an example of how it works?

Let’s say you want to buy a home that someone has owned for 20 years. Since 1995, the owner’s taxes were kept low by the original “Save Our Homes” amendment, and traditionally that would have triggered a significant increase in property tax levels upon sale of the home. If you’re already a homeowner in Florida, you can now “port” your current cap/protection and be able to retain the current tax benefits.
What else does the amendment mean for me?

It also doubles the amount of each home’s value that is exempt from property tax, from $25,000 to $50,000, on all but the least expensive homes, provides a $25,000 exemption on tangible personal property for businesses and creates a 10 percent annual assessment cap on nonhomestead property.

Where can I learn more?

Agent: Either log on to your local government’s or municipality’s Web site to learn about the specific taxation issues related to your city or county, or call your local property appraiser’s office to find out exactly how you will be impacted by this new law.