A Homestead Declaration is a simple document that can protect your home’s equity from attack by creditors. It prevents a forced sale of your home to satisfy your debts to most creditors (unpaid medical bills, bankruptcy, charge card debts, business/personal loans, accidents). Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 115 governs the declaration of a homestead. It declares that a homestead is limited to your primary residence. It protects your land with a dwelling on it (including a mobile home or condominium) where you reside. It does not protect any investment or rental property that you own. You are protected up to $550,000 in equity in your primary residence in Nevada.
The protection of the homestead is not absolute, however. It does not protect you from debts owed where you provided your home/land as collateral for a debt (mortgage or lien you voluntarily allowed on the property, generally). Further, you must declare your designation of the homestead in the protected property before the forced sale begins.
You may have received a flier in the mail after you bought your home encouraging you to rush to file your homestead exemption and charging you sometimes up to hundreds of dollars for helping you to file it. Is that really necessary? Yes, it is necessary to file, but you do not need to rush to the filing office unless a creditor has a judgment against you (a process which takes months if not years) or you are going to file for bankruptcy protection. So, while a homestead declaration is a good thing to file, you should not feel like you must file it immediately or lose your protection. If someone threatens to or files suit against you, that is probably a good time to think about filing, however.
In order to file the declaration, you will need to know your parcel number and fill our this easy online pdf, print it, sign it in front of a notary public, and file it with your county recorder. The recording fee in Clark County (Las Vegas) is $17.00 for the first page and $1.00/page for every page thereafter.
The Nevada Homestead Exemption is a powerful and simple tool available to any homeowner. It is probably the cheapest protection available to secure your home’s equity against creditors, but you don’t need to rush to file it.