On Real Estate

Jim Valentine: Filing a declaration of homestead

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

The Homestead Act today doesn’t mean you can squat on 160 acres of public land and eventually own it, rather it is a means to protect up to $605,000 of equity in your home against seizure, forced sale by general creditor claims, and judgments that might be entered against you. There is a whole section in the Nevada Revised Statutes that addresses it, NRS CHAPTER 115 – HOMESTEADS.

The amount of protection is now at an increased amount of $605,000. The Homestead Act is one of the gifts the constitution of the state of Nevada gives to homeowners and yet it’s amazing how few people actually take advantage of it. Most people that we speak with don't even know it exists. This could be an important piece of information for you and your family.

Here’s how it works: You must own or be buying your home or mobile home in order to file a Declaration of Homestead. The home must be your principal residence, not a rental or investment property. It doesn’t matter whether you are single, married or an unmarried head of household. You may homestead your mobile home even though you don't own the land the mobile home sits on. Some mortgages may prohibit homesteading, check with your lender or read your Deed of Trust to ascertain their position on you homesteading your property.

Be aware that a homestead will not protect your home or mobile home if the judgment or lien is for: Taxes, the mortgage or deed on the home or mobile home, improvements made on the home or mobile home, mechanics liens and other liens on the home or mobile home, any debt or obligation you willfully and voluntarily incur.

If your equity exceeds $605,000 you should go ahead and homestead understanding that you will only be able to protect $605,000 of your equity. To protect your property all you need to do is obtain and fill out a Declaration of Homestead form, sign it before a notary and print your name beneath your signature, record it at the county recorder's office of the county in which the property is located. There is a nominal recording fee. You can record your homestead at almost any time, even if you have already lost a lawsuit or had a judgment entered against you.

If you have already filed a Declaration of Homestead on your property, remember that you will need to prepare and record a new one if you: sell your home and buy another one, move your mobile home from one lot space to another, marry, divorce or become widowed, or get a new loan. It is one of the most simple processes of home ownership so don’t delay – get a form and get yours filed.

Filing a Declaration of Homestead is easy, and it is such a valuable tool, we recommend that all Nevada homeowners utilize this very inexpensive means to protect their home equity. You may not expect to be in a position of having to protect your assets, but if you are this is your first line of defense. We can’t stress enough that it is easy, inexpensive, and can be very impactful if it comes into play in your life. Consider this an insurance policy of sorts – the least expensive insurance policy you will ever acquire.

You can obtain a homestead form and information brochure from your county recorder’s office, in person or online. The brochure has a lot of detailed information that will answer a lot of questions that you may have. The form is what you need to complete to get your homestead filed.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your Real Estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com

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