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Terms Florida homebuyers and sellers should know

Owning a Florida vacation home is a dream for people all around the world. For those who live in the state year-round it might be a necessity. Regardless of the reason, those with experience in real estate know both sides of these transactions have legal responsibilities to meet and rights to protect. To be sure of one's footing every step of the process, it's important to work with a skilled attorney.

In daily life, most of us are able to get by using conversational language. But when you step into the legal arena, the glossary of terms is different. Trying to navigate contractual terms a real estate sale can be like trying to work through a tall, thick garden maze. It's much easier to get through the route if you have someone with a bird's eye view, and that's what an attorney can provide.

Key Topics for buyers and sellers

Fans of Hollywood westerns, will know the word homestead. It's the home and all the surrounding lands where a family lives and perhaps works. But in the legal lexicon, it also refers to the creation of an estate that is now eligible for homestead exemptions.

Not many states have these exemptions. In Florida, two exist. Under one, a homeowner might claim an exemption to reduce real property tax obligations. Certain restrictions apply. The owner has to reside in the home permanently. And there are factors of timing that need to be considered.

If ensuring you keep the roof over your head in the event of financial difficulty is a concern, you might want to consider a homestead exemption for asset protection. Under this claim, an owner can shield the property from certain debt collectors' efforts. How much you can screen depends on where the property is located. Protection is more limited for land in municipalities.

On the buyer side, specifically if you are building a home, you have a right to choose whether your deposit funds go into escrow or not. The choice must be made in writing. You might think escrow is the only smart option, but there may be associated risks and costs you don't want to deal with.

Whether your home is a dream or need, the purchase is not a transaction you want to wander through blindly.

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