Checklist: Important Post-Closing Reminders
If you recently purchased a home, here are a few important things to think about post-closing once you’re past the bliss, stress and everything else that comes after a home purchase and move.
Hang On to Your Settlement Statement:
Hang on to your settlement statement, sometimes referred to as the ALTA statement. This is the document you received at closing that references the final sale numbers. You will need this for tax purposes. You likely have a digital copy, but if not, please reach out to us, and we are happy to track it down for you.
File for Homestead and Portability Savings (If You Sold a Florida Home):
In Florida, full-time residents are eligible for tax exemptions on their primary residence. By filing for Homestead, you are putting a 3% cap on your annual property tax increases. And, depending on your situation, there are other tax exemptions.
The deadline for filing for Homestead is March 1. You need to be a Florida resident and reside in your new home by January 1 to take advantage of homestead for the upcoming year. Otherwise, Homestead will take effect the following year.
Property is given an assigned value by the tax appraiser on January 1 of each year, and our tax bills are issued and locked in October 31. The value established on January 1 is what the tax bill for that year will be based on. We pay taxes in arrears here, and tax bills are received in November.
This article by Florida Homestead Check fully explains the dates surrounding Homestead. It’s an excellent source of information and explains in detail the entire timeline!
You can file for homestead once you received your official deed in the mail (usually about one-month after closing). You also need your driver’s license updated with your new home address and your vehicle registration needs to be up to date.
Our advice is to apply for Homestead soon as you get the deed, though the official deadline to take advantage of the homestead exemption for the following year is March 1.
Duval County Homestead Information
St. Johns County Homestead Information
If you sold a home as part of your recent transaction, you may be able to reap some tax savings from having had Homestead on your previous property. This is called Tax Portability. Remember to call out Portability savings when you file for Homestead on your new home. This article explains Portability in detail and the Florida Homestead Check website has numerous articles on Portability.
Beware of Mail Scams Post-Closing:
After closing, beware of suspicious mailings especially those asking for money for a title, lapsed insurance, etc. Your property deed is being mailed to you and is PRE-PAID. Any requests for payment to get the deed are bogus.
If you get a letter asking to pay up for something related to your recent real estate transaction, here are a few ways to verify:
- Call your title/closing company for more information. They gave you a big folder of documents at closing, and the closing agents contact information is in there!
- If an account number is mentioned, check to see if the account number on the letter matches your account.
- Look up the company on the Better Business Bureau.
For more information on some of the recent scams, see this AARP article or this page from the Minnesota Attorney General.
Transfer Warranties Into Your Name:
Oftentimes there are warranties that can carry over to the new owner of the home. The termite bond is the most obvious that comes to mind, but check to see if there are any product warranties, including the AC, that might have warranties. Roof warranties usually just cover the shingles, but occasionally there is an extended labor warranty. So if there is documentation left behind, review it, see what might transition over and call the companies to initiate the transfer.
Review Your Home Warranty:
If there was a home warranty as part of your transaction, take a moment to review the coverage and mark your calendar for renewal, should you like the program. The title company should have given you information on the warranty at closing.