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  Homestead

Homestead is real estate occupied by a person as his or her home or dwelling place.  Homesteads often are exempt from levy or liens, at least to a certain extent.  This is referred to as the homestead exemption.  State law usually defines the extent of the homestead exemption. 

Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition.
Alabama: For Alabama, the homestead exemption is limited to 160 acres, and the maximum value that can be claimed is $5,000.  The exemption does not apply against debts for improvements made to the real estate, mortgages, and judgments arising from the commission of a tort. If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Alabama, a designation or plat of a homestead must be filed with the office of the probate judge of the county where the real estate is located.  The statement must be a sworn and acknowledged statement or declaration describing the homestead.  Alabama Code §6-10-2-122; 43-8-110.
Alaska:

For Alaska, the homestead exemption is limited to $54,000.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Alaska, a designation or plat of a homestead does not need to be filed.  Alaska Code §9.38.010.

Arizona: For Arizona, the homestead exemption is limited to $100,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against debts for purchase of the homestead or improvement of it.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Arizona Code §33-453, 1101.
Arkansas: For Arkansas, the homestead exemption is limited to 1/4 acre in a city and 80 acres elsewhere.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts for purchase, and improvements.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Arkansas Code §16-66-210, 218;  18-12-403.
California: For California, the homestead exemption is limited to $100,000 for persons 65 years of age or older, disabled, 55 years of age or older with an annual gross income of no more than $15,000, or if married and a joint annual gross income of $20,000, and the sale is involuntary;  $75,000 for persons who are a member of a family unit and at least one member of the family unit whose interest in the homestead is no more than a community property interest;  and $50,000 for all other persons.  In any event, the monetary value of the homestead exemption for both spouses cannot exceed $75,000 or $100,000 as determined by their ages or disability status. A declaration of homestead must be written, signed, acknowledged and recorded.  It must contain the name and address of the person(s) claiming it, a description of it, a statement that it is the principal dwelling of the person claiming it on the date of recording, and a statement that the declaration is known to be true by personal knowledge of the person signing and acknowledging it.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For California, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  California CC §1237 through 1304;  CCP §704.710-.850;  Family Code §770, 1100, 1102.
Colorado: For Colorado, the homestead exemption is limited to $30,000 in value.   The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase of the home.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses if a claim of homestead is filed with the clerk of court in the county where the real estate is located.  For Colorado, a designation or plat of a homestead may  be filed.  Colorado Code §38-41-201.
Connecticut: For Connecticut, the homestead exemption is limited to $75,000 in value.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.Connecticut Code §52-352.
Delaware: Delaware has no statute regarding homestead rights.
Florida:

For Florida, the homestead exemption is limited to one-half (1/2) acre in a municipality and one-hundred-sixty (160) acres outside a municipality.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, purchase price, or debts for improvement.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Florida, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed with the clerk of circuit court for the county where the real estate is located.  Florida Const. Art. 10, §4(a); Code §222.01 onward.

Georgia: For Georgia, the homestead exemption is limited to $5,000 in value or the statutory homestead exemption.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Georgia, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  Georgia Code §44-13-1 onward.
Hawaii: For Hawaii, the homestead exemption is limited to $30,000 for a head of a family and persons 65 years of age or older and $20,000 for other persons.  The limitation in size is one acre.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, pre-existing debts and debts for purchase or improvement of one homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Hawaii Code §651-92.
Idaho: For Idaho, the homestead exemption is limited to $50,000 in value and the sizes of the home and underlying land.  The exemption does not apply against liens existing prior to the homestead declaration, taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead. If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Idaho, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  Idaho Code §55-1001 through 1205.
Illinois: For Illinois, the homestead exemption is limited to $7,500 for one person and $15,000 for two or more persons living at the same homestead.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Illinois Code §735-5/12-901 through 904.
Indiana: For Indiana, the homestead exemption is limited to $7,500 in value.   The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Indiana Code §34-2-28-1.
Iowa: For Iowa, the homestead exemption is limited to one-half (1/2) acre in a city or town and forty (40) acres in the country.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts existing prior to purchase and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Iowa, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed with the county recorder.  Iowa Chapter 561.
Kansas: For Kansas, the homestead exemption is limited to one (1) acre in a city or town and one-hundred-sixty (160) acres for farming land.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead, and liens given by the consent of the owner and spouse.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Kansas, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  Kansas Code §60-2302, 2302; Const. Art. 15, §9.
Kentucky: For Kentucky, the homestead exemption is limited to $15,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts existing prior to acquisition of the homestead, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Kentucky, a designation or plat of a homestead does not need to be filed.  Kentucky Code §472.060 through .100.
Louisiana: For Louisiana, the homestead exemption is limited to $15,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead given as security, debts to public officers of a fiduciary, or to an attorney at law for money collected or received on deposit.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Louisiana, a designation or plat of a homestead must be filed.  Louisiana T.20, §1;  Const. Art. 12, §9.
Maine:

For Maine, the homestead exemption is limited to $12,500 in value or $25,000 if there are minor dependents living in the homestead.  For persons who are sixty (60) years of age or older and for persons who are disabled and unable to work, the monetary limitation is $60,000.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Maine T.14, §4422-4425.

Maryland: The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Maryland Courts Arts. §11-504.
Massachusetts: For Massachusetts, the homestead exemption is limited to a monetary value of $50,000 to $200,000 depending upon circumstances.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts existing prior to acquisition of the homestead, debts for the purchase of the homestead, spousal or child support, or ground rent.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  A homestead is created by a declaration of it in a deed or afterwards by written declaration which is duly recorded with the registry of deeds.  Massachusetts C. 188, §1, 1A, 7;  C. 236, §18.
Michigan: For Michigan, the homestead exemption is limited in value to $3,500 and in size to one (1) lot in a city and forty (40) acres in the country.  The exemption does not apply against taxes or any mortgage on the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Michigan, a designation or plat of a homestead does not need to be filed.  Occupancy constitutes sufficient notice of a homestead claim.  Michigan CLA §557.201-203;  600.4031, 6023.
Minnesota:

For Minnesota, the homestead exemption is limited to one-half (1/2) acre in a city and one-hundred-sixty (160) acres in other areas.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, judgments existing prior to acquisition of the homestead, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Minnesota Code §1001-.04;  Const. Art. I, §12.

Mississippi: For Mississippi, the homestead exemption is limited to $75,000 in value and one-hundred-sixty (160) acres in size.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, mortgages, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Mississippi, a designation or plat of a homestead must be filed.  Mississippi Code §89-9-1 onward; 85-3-21 onward.
Missouri: For Missouri, the homestead exemption is limited to $8,000 in value. The exemption does not apply against debts existing prior to acquisition of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Missouri, a designation or plat of a homestead does not need to be filed.  Missouri Code §513.475-.515.
Montana: For Montana, the homestead exemption is limited to $40,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, mortgages, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Montana, a designation or plat of a homestead must be filed.  Montana Code §70-32-101 onward.
Nebraska: For Nebraska, the homestead exemption is limited to $10,000 in value and two (2) lots in a city and one-hundred-sixty (160) acres in the country.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, mortgages, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Nebraska, a designation or plat of a homestead must be filed.  Nebraska Code §40-101 onward.
Nevada: For Nevada, the homestead exemption is limited to $550,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, liens existing prior to acquisition of the homestead, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Nevada, a designation or plat of a homestead does not need to be filed with the county recorder.  Nevada Code §115.010 through .060;  123.230.
New Hampshire: For New Hampshire, the homestead exemption is limited to $30,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvements of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For New Hampshire, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  New Hampshire C. 480, §1-8a.
New Jersey: In New Jersey, there are no statutes regarding a homestead exemption, except that a homestead interest is created by joint possession of real estate by a husband and wife which is used as their principal residence.  New Jersey Code §3B-28-3.
New Mexico: For New Mexico, the homestead exemption is limited to $30,000 in value per person.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, garnishments, recorded liens for purchase or improvement of the homestead, and recorded liens of lessors and mortgagees.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For New Mexico, a designation or plat of a homestead does not need to be filed.  New Mexico Code §42-10-9 through 13.
New York: For New York, the homestead exemption is limited to $10,000 in value above liens and encumbrances.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  New York C.P.L.R. §5206(a).
North Carolina:

In North Carolina, the exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  North Carolina Const. Art. X, §2, 3.

North Dakota: For North Dakota, the homestead exemption is limited to $80,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, mortgages, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For North Dakota, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  North Dakota Code §47-18-01 onward.
Ohio: For Ohio, the homestead exemption is limited to $5,000 in value per person.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, mortgages, security interest, or other liens.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Ohio Code §2329.669A;  2329.661.
Oklahoma: For Oklahoma, the homestead exemption is limited to one (1) acre or $5,000 for an urban residence, and one-hundred-sixty (160) acres for a rural residence.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Oklahoma Code §31-1 onward; 16-4.
Oregon: For Oregon, the homestead exemption is limited to $25,000 in value for one (1) person and $33,000 for two (2) ore more persons.  The exemption does not apply against taxes for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Oregon Code §23.164, .240 through .300.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania has no statutes regarding homestead exemptions or rights.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island does not have a homestead exemption law.
South Carolina: For South Carolina, the homestead exemption is limited to $5,000 in value per debtor.  The exemption does not apply against a mortgagee of the real estate.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  South Carolina Code §15-41-10 through 36.
South Dakota:  For South Dakota, the homestead exemption is limited to $30,000 in value and one (1) acre in town and one-hundred-sixty (160) acres in the country.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For South Dakota, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  South Dakota Code §43-31-1 onward.
Tennessee: For Tennessee, the homestead exemption is limited to $5,000 in value for one (1) person and $7,500 in value for joint owners.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, certain government fines, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Tennessee, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed prior to levy.  Tennessee Code §26-2-301 onward.
Texas:  For Texas, the homestead exemption is limited to one (1) acre for urban areas and one-hundred (100) acres for rural areas in the case of a single adult and two-hundred (200) acres in the case of a family.  There is no limitation to value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Texas, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  Texas Prop. Code §41.001 onward.
Utah:

For Utah, the homestead exemption is limited in value to $8,000 for a head of a family, $2,000 for a spouse, and $500 for each dependent.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts for purchase of the homestead, and child support debts.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Utah, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  Utah Code §78-23-1 onward.

Vermont: For Vermont, the homestead exemption is limited to $30,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, debts existing prior to acquisition of the homestead, and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Vermont Code §27-101 onward.
Virginia: For Virginia, the homestead exemption is limited to $5,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Virginia, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  Virginia Code §34-4 onward.
Washington: For Washington, the homestead exemption is limited to $30,000 in value for real estate.  The exemption does not apply against liens for improvement of the real estate, mortgages, and debts for alimony or child support.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  For Washington, a designation or plat of a homestead may be filed.  Washington Code §6.13.010 onward.
West Virginia: For West Virginia, the homestead exemption is limited to $5,000 in value.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  West Virginia Code §38-9-1 onward.
Wisconsin:

For Wisconsin, the homestead exemption is limited to $40,000 in value and 40 acres in size.  The exemption does not apply against taxes, mortgages and liens for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Wisconsin Code §706.02; 815.20-.21; 990.01.

Wyoming: For Wyoming, the homestead exemption is limited to $10,000 per person.  The exemption does not apply against taxes and debts for purchase or improvement of the homestead.  If a husband and wife own a homestead, the law usually requires that both of them sign a conveyance or mortgage regarding the real estate for it to be applicable or enforceable against both spouses.  Wyoming Code §1-20-101 onward.

This is not a substitute for legal advice.  An attorney must be consulted.
Copyright © 2002-2006 by LAWCHEK, LTD

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