Like the value of the homestead exemption itself, the process of applying for it varies from state to state. Some states apply a general exemption automatically, while in other states you have to apply [source: Lake].
Generally, when applying for a homestead exemption, you must provide the following information:
- Evidence of ownership or interest in the residence: Usually, your name is already in tax records as the owner. To be on the safe side, have a copy of the deed, tax bill, or another document proving you are the owner of the residence.
- Proof you live in the premises: A vehicle registration, voter registration, or tax return should fill this requirement.
- A valid Social Security number.
- If you're a senior citizen or disabled, you may have to provide further information.
You can apply for your homestead exemption via mail or in person. You may be able to apply online too; check out your local county's website to see your options. Once you purchase your home, apply for your exemption by your state deadline for the tax year in which you want to qualify. Often this means by March 1 for first-time residents and January 1 each year after. If you miss that deadline, you will have to wait for the next year to apply, and miss out on your exemption [source: Crapo].
In most states, once you apply for a homestead exemption, you don't have to reapply every year. The exemption is automatically applied each year. However, if you move, then you need to fill out a new application -- a homestead exemption is non-transferrable.
For more about the homestead exemption, check out the links on the next page.