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what is "Homestead" a home mean?

  • May 23 2012 - US
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Answers (2)

Profile picture for michaelchilds
Generally there are 3 types of homestead.

The first is governed by the Homestead act of 1862 and subsequent variations, where a person 21 years or older could claim federal land, live on it for 5 years, improve it (build a home, farm it ,ranch it,mine it, etc) and claim a deed. Federal homesteads ended in the lower 48 states in 1976 and in Alaska in 1986.

The second is a homestead declaration. You can file a homestead declaration in most but not all states. The homestead laws protect some of your equity in the property from creditors, excluding any mortgages. The amount of protection varies from state to state, from a few thousand dollars to over a hundred thousand dollars, depending on age, martial status, etc.

The third is a homestead exemption. A homestead exemption reduces your property tax by allowing you to 'exempt" a portion of your homes value from taxation. Again the amount varies from state to state and generally you have to be 65 years old to claim the exemption.


  • May 23 2012
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Profile picture for Ken Tribble
Homestead with regards to real estate typically means that the property receives a favorable tax rate from the local tax assessor because the owners declare it as their primary residence.  Here in Florida, local residents get a break on their taxes as opposed to out of state and foreign owners.  Most states require that you can only have one primary residence and hence only one homestead property
  • May 23 2012
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