by Berry Aldridge

Today we’re going to talk about the Homestead Exemption because it’s very timely. 

This is the period where you file your homestead exemption from January 1st to April 1st for the home that you previously purchased a year ago, or longer, actually. Homestead exemption is offered by the State, and it’s a $2,000 deduction from the 40% assessed value of the homestead (or primary residence). 

Now you’re thinking, “what do I have to do to qualify for this?” Really, it’s very simple.

You just have to have purchased the property and lived in it as of January 1st the previous year. You have to make it your primary residence and actually live there. Nothing crazy, right? Basically, you own your home. You lived in your home the previous year. You can file the homestead exemption.

There’s also another exemption here in Georgia, or rather here in Chatham County called the Stephens Day Exemption. This one is actually super valuable as well! Basically what the Stephen’s Day exemption does is lock in the assessed value for your home. So over time, as the market changes and your home becomes more valuable, you will eliminate those incremental tax increases and only pay based off of the price you bought your home.

Keep in mind, County can change the millage rate, which may increase your taxes a little bit, but you’re still going to have eliminated all those other yearly incremental changes as your home appreciates.

Let’s look at a specific example based on a client that I worked with in 2021 to buy a new home. Before she bought it, the property was being used as a rental and the property taxes kept going up year of year (about $500 over the course of six years). She filed her Homestead Exemption and her taxes dropped $306 in the County and $43 in the City. Now, all of this is regardless of the appreciation that she gained, she’s getting to pay less taxes because she filed these exemptions. 

So if you have any other questions, if you have specific questions about your property, when to file, is it too late? Anything at all, reach out to us, email, call, comment, text DM. We are down for anything.