How to Legally Setup and Benefit from a Homestead

We want to teach you everything you need to know to legally start and benefit from a homestead.



Of course, when the time comes, we are also here to help you choose and purchase the perfect tractor for your homestead.





Homesteading


Homesteading has been around for a long time.


It used to be a free land program. Now it just means to live self-sufficiently off your own land.


The homestead lifestyle requires a huge commitment --- including an investment in land and design.



Popularity


Many urban environments are very dangerous, crowded, and polluted.


Masses of people also want to save and use fewer resources and money to live.


These are just two of the things people use to justify their movement toward homesteading. Homesteading is becoming very popular in the United States.


Every day, more and more people are learning and acquiring homesteading skills, so they can survive by living off their land.



Resources


There are a lot of forums and websites that offer a vast amount of homesteading information.


Not many though when it comes to the legalities of homesteading.



Declaration


There are certain legalities you need to know and understand before setting up your homestead.


First and foremost you must complete a state-specific homestead declaration. This legally protects you from many little-known situations. You can get this form online.




The form is simple to fill out. In many states, your homestead will get the same legal privileges as a primary residence. Without the form, in theory, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.


The government has limited the maximum cost of these forms (including notary) to $25. The forms are simple to understand and quickly fill out.


A homestead is a primary dwelling of any kind --- including houses, condos, and even boats.


After you have correctly filled out the declaration form, you must submit it to the county clerk’s office. You will need to pay a small application fee. You must also renew the declaration form from time to time.


Remember --- complete the correct state-specific declaration process before doing anything else. This gets everything started on the right legal footing.



Decision


Life on a homestead can be a wonderful experience.


The happiness indexes are off the charts for people who choose to homestead.


Some people do it to be environmentally conscious. Many others do it because they feel their skill set is more tailored to that type of living. Some just look at it as an adventure.


Regardless --- people need to be aware of their legal responsibilities.



Legalities


Let’s dig a little deeper regarding your homestead declaration.


Legal registration of your homestead declares it your primary residence. You are protected against foreclosure in certain situations.


You can fill out the declaration yourself, or you can get help from someone who is well-versed in filling out this form.


Declaration forms vary from state to state. This means that some states have their own statutes that offer varying benefits and challenges.


It has been said that homestead protection laws are rooted in the 19th century economic depression. Many residences were illegally taken over when the owner couldn’t pay taxes.



Benefits


Homestead protection and “exemption laws” are beneficial.


They include --- providing a widow with shelter --- exemption from having to pay property taxes on a personally-owned home --- and prevention of “forced sales” of a residence.


Homestead protection also enables a tax-exempted homeowner to vote on property tax.



Limitations


A primary limitation of homestead protection is that its benefits are limited to the state over which it has legal jurisdiction.


Another limitation is an individual can only get homestead protection for one property. This means that single or primary property owners will benefit. Additional properties owned by an individual are all taxable by law.


In some states, it is mandatory for homeowners to file a claim for homestead protection personally, as it is not automatically managed. Also in some states, the homestead protection will not apply to those properties, which have been abandoned by their legal homeowners.



Protection


The states with the most protection to homeowners include South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. They offer the highest value of a property, which can be protected from taxation via the Homestead Act.


The state of California provides protection of up to $75,000 for single homeowners, $100,000 for married couples, and $175,000 for senior citizen homeowners (65+ or legally disabled).


The state of Texas does not have a dollar value limit on homeowner’s property. They grant an automatic exemption for homesteads not exceeding the area of 10 acres or 4.0 hectares within a municipality, 100 acres or 40 hectares for those in a rural homestead, and 200 acres or 81 hectares for a family.


As per the current law (always check for changes), there are three types of homesteads that are considered under the Homestead Act:

  • Automatic Homestead

  • Declared Homestead

  • Homestead for Disabled or Elderly Persons


Automatic Homestead offers automatic protection of up to $125,000 for homeowners and their family. They must live in the home and consider it to be their primary residence.


Declared Homestead refers to automatic protection of up to $500,000 for all owners. To receive this equity, the homeowner must file a Declaration of Homestead with the Registry of Deeds.


Homestead for Disabled/Elderly Persons refers to homeowners aged 62+ and includes those considered disabled. SSI disability requirements must be met. The concerned person must have filed a Declaration of Homestead with the Registry of Deeds. If the homeowner is considered eligible, they can receive up to $500,000 per owner or $1,000,000 for a couple.


Hopefully, this helps you understand the legalities of homesteading a bit more.



If you need any further help or have any questions about homesteading, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.



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