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What is the Texas Homestead Exemption and why should I care?

Posted by on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 12:15pm.

Yes, it's true- it's this time of year again. If you purchased a home, closed with a title company, on a home in 2016 and have not filed for the Texas Homestead exemption and are qualified to do so, you should start filling out the forms as the deadline for submission is prior to May 1st, but as we all know, time flies and the next thing you know it's April 30th 11:59 and you've not filled out the form. It's really quite simple and only take a few minutes-- so don't procrastinate.

Are you qualified for homestead exemption? Well, your primary residence must be in your name is the major qualification. For a quick rundown of the Texas Residence Homestead Tax code states an applicant is required to state that the applicant does not claim an exemption on another residence homestead in or outside of Texas; driver’s license or state identification card in which the address on the identification provided corresponds to the address of the property for which the exemption is claimed unless currently active military; a property claimed for homestead can not be more than 20 acres. Please visit the Texas Comptroller's site for more information regarding homestead exemption.

Here's a little history for you:

Austin voters on Nov. 3, 2015 voted- and passed proposition one, raising the total exemption from $15k to $25K and ban real estate transfer taxes of your home’s sale permanently. Yeah!!!! Thanks Texans.

In addition seniors and those with disabilities will receive a tax cap, giving them financial relief from the increasing value of their home as Austin’s prices are still forecast to rise in value as more people move to Texas.  Austin was voted [again] as Forbes #1 Fastest Growing City 2016 "Austin regains the No. 1 spot after being toppled by Houston last year. Thanks to its booming technology, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, low cost of living, and cachet, the Austin economy remains on fire. Hordes of people are moving in (Austin’s projected 3.15% population growth rate in 2016 is the highest among the 100 metro areas we examined) to take advantage of Austin’s job opportunities (employment expanded 3.28% last year). The city has topped our list of Fastest-Growing Cities for five of the past six years (last year it slipped to second place)."

While Austin continues to reign in highest population growth cities on many 'lists', housing supply is finite unless companies and Austin area residents start to expand beyond the current city limits or neighborhoods are restructured to incorporate mixed use housing or what's commonly known as PUD (Planned Unit Development) areas.

What about school funding? According to several articles, the funds typically paid to the Texas school systems would be lower over a 2 year period; the schools system are eligible to receive additional state aid from the Foundation School Fund.

In an article by Mark Lehman, vice president of  governmental affairs for the Texas Assn. of Realtor’s, he states: “Proposition 1 lowers property taxes, bans a sales tax on real estate, saves money for seniors and disabled Texans, and mandates that Texas reimburse local school districts for any loss in revenue.”

For more information on the current Texas Homestead Exemption property code go to Texas Comptroller's site.

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