The American Dream is to own your home. A home is where the heart is and most likely that person’s most cherished possession. The prospect of losing a home to judgment creditors or a bank holding a mortgage can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare.
The good news is, in contrast with the $10,000 homestead exemption that existed 24 years ago, the New York State legislature has over time dramatically increased the “homestead exemption” available to homeowners that reside in their property.
A homestead exemption is the amount of money protected from the reach of judgment creditors over and above consensual liens (such as mortgages and home equity loans) and statutory liens (generally tax liens) in an involuntary sale. Prior to 1994 the New York homestead exemption was only $10,000. That was hardly enough money to purchase a new home or even pay rent for more than a few months. In 1994 the homestead exemption was increased to $50,000. Thereafter, the homestead exemption for persons living in NYC and the surrounding Metropolitan counties, was dramatically increased to $150,000 with adjustments to be made to that amount every three years. The last adjustment was made in 2018. As of September 2018 the homestead exemption for Metropolitan New York counties is $170,825. (Upstate counties have lower amounts).