Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nevada Homestead Update

We’ve had many inquiries lately regarding the act of filing a homestead on a primary residence as protection from credit cards debt. The Nevada Homestead Act does not protect a homeowner from any debt that was voluntarily incurred. This category includes mortgage financing, credit card debt, auto financing, lines of credit and Federal tax liability. Following is a repeat of an article we published in June of 2007 that offers a explanation as well as links to print the required homestead document.

Homeowner’s are advised to seek competent legal counsel regarding the ramifications of filing a Declaration of Homestead. This article is intended as a public service and not legal advice.

I’ve heard I should Homesteading my house … what does that mean?

The Nevada Homestead Act today doesn’t mean you can squat on 160 acres of public land and eventually own it, rather it is a means to protect equity in your home against seizure, forced sale by general creditor claims, and judgments that might be entered against you. The amount of protection was recently increased in Nevada to $550,000. The Nevada Homestead Act is one of the gifts the Constitution of the State of Nevada gives to homeowners and yet it’s amazing how few people actually take advantage of it. Most of the people we speak with don't even know it exists.

Here’s how it works: You must own or be buying your home or mobile home in order to file a Declaration of Homestead. The home must be your principle residence, not a rental or investment property. It doesn’t matter whether you are single, married or an unmarried head of household. You may homestead your mobile home even though you don't own the land the mobile home sits on. Some mortgages may prohibit homesteading, check with your lender to ascertain their position on you homesteading your property.

Be aware that a homestead will not protect your home or mobile home if the judgment or lien is for: Taxes, the mortgage or deed on the home or mobile home, improvements made on the home or mobile home, mechanics liens and other liens on the home or mobile home, any debt or obligation you willfully and voluntarily incur.

Thanks to legislative changes this year, you can protect $550,000 of your equity. If your equity exceeds $550,000 you should go ahead and homestead understanding that you will only be able to protect $550,000 of your equity. To protect your property all you need to do is: Obtain and fill out a
Nevada Declaration of Homestead form, sign it before a notary and print your name beneath your signature, Record it at the County Recorder's office of the county in which the property is located. There is a nominal recording fee. You can record your homestead at almost any time, even if you have already lost a lawsuit or had a judgment entered against you.

If you have already filed a Declaration of Homestead on your property remember that you will need to prepare and record a new one if you: Sell your home and buy another one, move your mobile home from one lot space to another, marry, divorce or become widowed, get a new loan.Our Advice: Filing a Declaration of Homestead is easy and is such a valuable tool that we recommend all Nevada homeowners utilize this very inexpensive means to protect their home equity.

You can obtain a homestead packet at most office supply stores, or contact
Lisa and Jim by phone or email, or simply stop by at 1320 Highway 395, Gardnerville. You can also Click Here for Nevada Homestead Form.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472, Visit our websites at or email us at


Tim Harris said...

This is a very good analysis of your current market conditions. Helping us to recognize the trends our market is taking is something important to keep in mind; another is to figure out ways to be more productive. I can think of 10 things I do each day to enhance my success...can you?

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that the limit has been raised, this is a good thing for every homeowner to do.

Thanks for the great tip

Tom said...

Intereting, I thogh that homestead ment something entirely different. This is a helpful article! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

if one of these lowlife collection agencies gets a judgment lien on your property for an old credit card that has been written off, i am pretty sure, the homestead will protect you equity from these lowlifes getting money from your equity that they do not deserve. please correct me if i am wrong

Lisa Wetzel and Jim Valentine said...

We aren't attorneys and this is not legal advice ... but ... We tend to believe that a judgment granted as a result of unpaid credit card debt is probably not protected by Homesteading. The original financial obligation was incurred voluntarily.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to help us and talk us through this uncomofrtable situation -you were awesome! We tell everyone we know that you are the BEST Realtors in Carson Valley! You know who this is from!

banker said...

I have a condo in nevada here just in my name. I got married and changed my name with dmv and ss etc... On my property deed it has only my maiden name. I am not going to change my name on the deed or add my husband. I would like to update my homestead because I did it before I got married. Would I file married jointly or by wife(for benefit of both? Does this also protect my husband even though he is not on the deed? Also wouldn't he have have to sign the declaration of homestead? I hope I don't have a problem because of the name? Help

lawyer said...

Credit card debts are protected under homestead law. There is nothing in the law that says debts incurred voluntarily are exempt from homestead protection. Anyone can look this up online in the Nevada state laws (NRS 115.010). What homesteading doesn't cover is unpaid taxes, mortgages, home equity loans, hoa/condo fees, and work done on your home.

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