Information for first time home buyers in Orlando

If you’re buying a home in Orlando for the first time, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the different costs of owning a home - like Florida’s property tax laws for example. People who have been looking at Orlando real estate and doing preliminary research may already know that Florida has some of the highest property tax rates in the country; however, on the flipside, many homeowners find that this is balanced by the state’s lack of income tax.  The total amount of property taxes you owe will depend on the appraised value of your home, your exemptions and the rates in your specific area. Take a look at the following information to learn more about the ins and outs of Florida property taxes.

How Are Property Taxes Calculated?
In the state of Florida, the total amount of your property taxes will depend on the appraised, fair-market value of your property. This is because there are serious reprecussions that result when you fail to pay your property tax. An appraiser will determine the value of your property by visiting your home at least once every five years. Between visits, the appraisers also take into account the sales prices of similar properties in your neighborhood, as well as several additional factors
There’s another very important number that must be taken into account: your millage rate, which is determined by your local school board, city commissioners and board of county commissioners. After you have both of these values, you can calculate the final total amount you owe in property taxes.
 
Florida Tax Exemptions
People who are thinking of buying a home in Orlando will be glad to know that Florida has a number of possible tax exemptions that homeowners can take advantage of. You can receive a homestead exemption of up to $50,000 if the property is your primary residence. The first $25,000 of that amount will apply to all taxes, while the second $25,000 is only valid for non-school taxes. Other exemptions include widow or widower exemption, senior citizen exemptions, various exemptions for veterans and exemptions for people with certain disabilities.
 
Importance of Accounting for Property Taxes
Home buyers should account for their future property tax when determining how much they can afford to pay every month toward their home.  For Orlando real estate owners, property taxes are due in March of each year, with the state offering a discount on those taxes if they are paid early. You’ll receive a 1% discount for paying in February, a 2% discount for paying in January, a 3% discount for paying in December and a 4% discount for paying in November. However, if you don’t pay your property taxes by March 31st of each year, you will have to pay an additional 3% penalty.
 
If you still fail to pay your property taxes, the tax collector will put up a tax certificate sale on your property, which allows someone to pay your taxes and own a lien on your home. After this occurs, you would need to pay back the taxes you owe, as well as interest and the cost of advertising your tax lien. Homeowners who haven’t paid their taxes after 22 months can have their property seized and auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Before potential homeowners purchase Orlando real estate, they should solid estimates of their overall costs, including their total property taxes. Being prepared before you go through the process of buying a home in Orlando will ensure that you are able to make the payments and live comfortably in your new home.
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