Category Archives: Real Estate

Benefits of Moving to Florida From a high-tax State

I recently stumbled across an article that articulates the basic thesis of The Florida Domicile Handbook; and this article touches base on many of the things that are explained in-depth in The Florida Domicile Handbook.

Some of these advantages include:
• No Income tax
• An Array of Asset Protection
• Healthy Real Estate Market
• Homestead Exemption
• No State Estate Tax

One of the key takeaways from this article and the book is that the process of declaring domicile in Florida can make your life more enjoyable all across the board. The weather provides year-round access to the outdoors and endless opportunity for recreation, the vibrant wildlife and beautiful scenery can be found no where else in the world and the tax codes help keep a little more money in your pocket. Click here to read the article, and pick up your copy of The Florida Domicile Handbook for a step by step guide of your move to paradise.


Update on Florida’s Continued Growth

A majority of Florida’s biggest landowners are in construction and timber. Because of the large chunk of land that they own, they eventually trickle down to land development and real estate. If you are interested in buying property, read first about realtors in my book on purchasing a home in Florida in the Florida Domicile Handbook.

St. Joe Company, the second largest private landowner of Florida, has made a name and reputation in real estate development and sales as well as timber. It has about 31,600 residential units and 11.6 million square feet of commercial space. From retirees to families of any size, these residential communities, always built near a body of water – either river or sea – epitomize Florida’s tropical living paradise.

Meanwhile, Foley Timber Co has just recently finalized a plan to use the land for development and agricultural preservation. The involved communities are highly anticipating the fruition of these plans, bringing tremendous benefits to the environment and mostly to Florida’s economy and its residents.

What does this all mean for Florida?

It means that the real estate market in Florida, according to the Florida Domicile Handbook, is not only one of the most desirable locations in the world, but is situated in an economically stable and promising environment.

Business in Florida is good as noted by the continued projects for real estate development as done by St. Joe Comapny and Foley Timber Comany. This is also one of the reasons why one of the top three fields in Florida is in construction trades.

Investing in Florida is smart. The climate is business friendly as well as invariably tropical. My book, the Florida Domicile Handbook explains in detail Florida taxes, exmptions and those levied on business and properties.

Derek Jeter’s Tampa Mansion

American Baseball League player, Derek Jeter who plays shortstop for the New York Yankees has changed the landscape, if not the skyline of Tampa, Florida. A year after they started building, the biggest home in Hillsborough County is completed.

Jeter has long planned this project, buying adjacent lands in Davis Islands since 2005. The mansion, built in an English Manor style and situated near the water, cost $7.7 million.

With seven bedrooms and nine baths, the 30,000 square feet domicile sits on three lots in the Bahama Circle. It has two 3-car garages, a swimming pool that overlooks the ocean, a billiards room and a memorabilia room. Of course, it also comes with a small pier. All this to be protected from the public eye with a 6-foot privacy fence.

The Yankee reportedly made $21 million last year, so the $7.7 million mega mansion should be covered. Jeter also has another smaller house in Avila. Smaller because it is only 4,000 square foot and only cost him a mere $1 million. It is situated in Avila Golf and Country Club, north Tampa.

Aside from his homes in Florida, Jeter’s other assets include homes in Marlboro, New Jersey, Greenwood Lake, New York and a Trump World Tower apartment in Manhattan – the latter being currently in the market.

Jeter has claimed Florida residency, hence his exemption from state income tax. Although he works in New York, his residency and majority of assets are in Florida. Since 1994, Jeter has maintained a Tampa residence when he first started out with the Yankees.

Back in 2007, Jeter was hounded by New York tax officials. The issue was his failure to pay taxes between the years 2001 to 2003. His apartment purchase in the Manhattan Trump World Tower and an $8,000 monthly rental in Long Island brought him under tax scrutiny.

This new mega mansion in Tampa will help prove his intent and slide the scale in favor of Florida domicile. Assuming Jeter has filed a declaration of Domicile in Florida, his homestead will be under the vast umbrella of the asset protection laws of Florida.

Read all about Florida Homestead laws and protection in Chapter 3 of the Florida Domicile Handbook.

Big Ten Series 1: Plum Creek Timber

Let’s take a look at the companies that practically own Florida. By owning, I mean these are privately run and managed companies who operate on a large chunk in the Sunshine State. It is therefore inevitable that such billion dollar companies will affect Florida’s economy. They are big stones in the pond that cause a ripple effect throughout the state’s economy and provide opportunities for smaller businesses.

This is series one in ten of Florida’s Big Ten.

Plum Creek Timber is the largest private landowner in Florida and in the United States. Total land owned is approximately 6.8 million acres in 19 states. In Florida, they own 590,000 acres, the majority of which is dedicated to pine tree plantations. Last year, the company earned $569 million in timber alone. They have other business ventures in real estate, oil and gas, construction materials, and other manufactured wood products, with timber as their core pursuit.

Plum Creek started in Florida in 2001. With proper management of natural resources and sustainable forestry practices, they now have forestries across 22 counties. Their four major areas in Florida are in St. Johns Forest, Gulf Hammock Forest, Lake Butler Forest and the Wire Grass Forest. Each year, this giant business contributes approximately $16 billion to the economy.

Being a big player in the Florida forests, Plum Creek Timber is active in giving back to the community and actively participates in community development. They have the Plum Creek Foundation, Montana Great Classroom Awards Program, the Plum Creek Community Scholarship Program and the Employee Involvement Program. They are also responsible for most land conservation easements in Florida, perpetually protecting the land from certain kinds of development or use. A testament of the importance they put on the environment and the habitats that thrive in their lands.

To learn more about Florida and the various business and work opportunities that are available, grab a copy of my book, The Florida Domicile Handbook.

Documentary Stamp Tax

Documentary stamps are imposed on documents drawn to serve as promissory notes, mortgages, security agreements and other written agreements to pay money. In a real estate transaction, deeds are attached with actual stamps to show that the said document has paid its due to the county. Cash payments are not levied with this kind of tax. Basic amount of the doc stamp tax is 35 cents per $100 while documents that transfer an interest in real property are charged 70 cents per $100 or any portion thereof. Transfer of interest in real property documents include warranty deeds, quit claim deeds and contracts or agreements for a deed among others. For bigger loan amounts, tax is flat rated at $2,450. That is the maximum amount of expenditure for documentary stamp tax.

To illustrate, for a promissory note of $40,000 which is eligible for the basic documentary stamp tax of 35 cents per $100 the computation would be as follows:

Tax = $0.35 × ($40,000/$100) = $140

For a transfer of interest on a $1 million parcel of Florida real estate, 70 cents per $100 in documentary stamp tax will be paid. Calculation of tax will be as follows:

Tax = $0.70 × ($1,000,000/$100) = $7,000

For more information on documentary stamp tax and other related topics, grab your copy of “Florida Domicile Handbook” or subscribe to our blog at

Is a split domicile the best of both worlds?

Some prospective Florida residents feel that splitting domicile between themselves and a spouse will allow them to have the best of all worlds. While there are certain circumstances that could call for splitting domicile, it may not be advisable.

The state of Florida will not allow you to retain your Florida homestead exemption if your spouse is claiming a homestead exemption in another state.

A split domicile raises additional issues. Some states require a married couple to file a joint state income tax return, if the couple files a joint federal income tax return. Additionally, a split domicile may limit the amount of your total federal capital gain exclusion (from $500,000 to $250,000) for the sale of a principal residence after one spouse changes domicile.

Learn more about Florida’s tax benefits in the new updated of The Florida Domicile Handbook. Make sure you consult with a Florida attorney and carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of a split domicile.


Be Generous! Florida has NO Inheritance or Gift Tax

The federal government no longer shares estate tax revenues with the states. To make up for lost revenues, many states have “decoupled” from the federal estate tax system. These states have established their own gift and estate (and/or inheritance) taxes.

Florida is one of only three states whose state constitution requires voter approval for the imposition of a state inheritance or gift tax. Consequently, Florida has no current estate or gift taxes and is unlikely to have any in the future – without a change in the Constitution by Florida voters.

Read Chapter 2 of the new updated edition of The Florida Domicile Handbook. for more tax advantages for Florida residents.


How to Protect Your Condo’s Contents

In the State of Florida, condominium associations must provide a minimum standard of insurance coverage. The “association policy” must cover all structures and other common property.

Before you purchase a condominium in Florida, you should thoroughly review the association’s policy to learn what it covers. Your share of the premium will be included in periodic condominium maintenance fees.

To protect your investment, you will want to consider purchasing condominium “interior” insurance. The policy typically covers property such as interior wallpaper, trim, built-in bookcases, carpeting, fixtures and your personal property. Interior policies are separate from the association policy and the additional cost is your responsibility.

There are many benefits and protections afforded to Florida residents. Read more about them in the updated version of The Florida Domicile Handbook.

Looking to buy a condo in Florida? Be sure to use a qualified Realtor. Discover what you need to know before you negotiate and purchase a home in Florida in The Florida Domicile Handbook.