With the cost of living and house prices increasing more and more, thousands of Queenslanders are looking for a leg up when it comes to purchasing their first home. The Queensland government has recently announced that they are planning to double the first home owner grant. This is obviously great news for a lot of people, but what are the details behind this change? This post is all about making the most of this grant, explaining who’s eligible, what steps you need to take to apply and some helpful tips for making the most of this opportunity.
What is the first home owner grant?
A first home buyers grant is a government grant that specifically targets those looking to build a new house. The incentive is to help ease the burden for those looking to own a home while simultaneously helping the economy by providing work to the construction industry.
The grant will only be given to projects which are worth $750,000 or less. Like any grant, the government won’t simply just give it to you. You’ll need to meet a set of requirements. The home you’re planning to build will need to be one of the following:
- a new home
- off the plan purchase.
- substantial renovation.
- contract to build.
- owner builder.
What changes have been made to the grant?
Currently, the first home buyers’ grant offers $15,000 to those who qualify. While that is nothing to sneeze at, the government has recently announced that they are planning to double this amount to $30,000 starting from January 2024.
While applications for this new grant are expected to open in January 2024, the grant can apply to any eligible project in which the contract is signed between November 20, 2023 and 30 June 2025. The government has promised more information to come, so we will update this section with any new details as they come through.
How do I apply?
There are two main ways to apply for the homeowners grant which are:
- Through an approved agent (examples include a bank or financial advisor).
- Through the Queensland Revenue Office.
Am I Eligible?
Before you start making any plans, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out whether you’re eligible for the first home buyer’s grant. Here are the key criteria you’ll need to adhere to before you can apply:
- You must be over 18 years of age or have your application made by a guardian or trust.
- You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. If you’re not either of the above but are making a joint application with someone who is either an Australian citizen or a permanent resident, you may get an exception.
- If you’ve previously received a grant, you can still apply, provided you’ve paid back the previous grant.
- You or your partner cannot have previously owned and lived in a residential property after 1 July 2000. Likewise, if you owned property before or
- The grant has to go towards a home you plan to live in. Investment properties are not eligible for the grant.
Even if you meet all of the above criteria, there are still some factors that could stop you from receiving the grant (or get you into some hot water if you get the grant and get caught later). Some of these include:
- If it’s believed you’ve entered the grant solely to receive the money and have no intention of building a home.
- you enter an arrangement that somehow negates or circumvents any of the above criteria.
What are the residency requirements attached to the grant?
To receive the first homeowners grant, you’ll be required to move into your new home within a year of completion and live there continuously for six months. You are allowed to rent out rooms to tenants during this six-month tenancy, however, you must also live in the house during this time. The point of these requirements is that the government has a definition of what distinguishes a home from an investment property.
To apply for the first homeowner’s grant, you’ll need to supply the following documentation to prove you’re really you:
Proof of Identity
You’ll need to provide one form of identification from each of the following categories:
Category 1: Australian Birth Certificate, current Australian Passport, Australian citizenship certificate. You need something which proves you were born in Australia or are a legal citizen.
Category 2: A current driver’s license, proof of age card, firearm license, or passport. If you’ve used your passport as your category 1 piece, you need a separate form of identification for this category.
Category 3: A medicare card, car registration, debit or credit card, concession card, or veteran card.
Category 4: You’ll need to provide a document that shows your current address which could include an electricity bill, bank statement or home insurance policy. If you’ve changed your name you’ll also need a marriage certificate, change of name certificate, or divorce certificate.
Other documentation you’ll need to provide includes:
- Details outlining any financial help you’re receiving.
- If you’re purchasing or building a house, you’ll need a building contract, registration confirmation statement or something to prove a deal has been made.
What’s the story with stamp duty?
Stamp duty is a tax that is paid whenever ownership is transferred from one person to another. This could apply to a variety of things, but most relevant to this article, it applies to land and pre-existing buildings.
One of the big advantages of building a home over purchasing a pre-existing home is that you’ll only have to pay stamp duty on the land itself rather than both the house and the land. This applies even if you’re purchasing a house and land package as the house has not been built at the time of purchase.
The amount of stamp duty you need to pay goes up based on the price of the purchase. This means the block of land you purchase costs less than $250,000, you’re in luck as you won’t have to pay any stamp duty at all.
Stamp duty isn’t a minor expense, as it can add tens of thousands of dollars to your overall costs. We can certainly think of a few uses for that type of money and we’re sure you can too!
What is the first home guarantee?
The first home guarantee is another government incentive to help first-home owner purchase their first house. While it may sound similar to the first home buyers grant, it is actually an entirely separate concept. This incentive allows first-home buyers to only have to put down a 5% down payment on their first home. There are a few conditions which are:
- A single person cannot make more than $120,000 per annum and a couple cannot more than a combined total of $200,000.
- The total cost of the project must be less than $700,000.
- You must be an Australian citizen.
- You must not have previously owned a home.
You may be wondering why we would mention the first home guarantee at all if it isn’t the same thing as the first home owner grant. Well, the great news is it is possible to qualify for both of these incentives, making it that much easier to get started on building your new home.
More Tips and Things To Keep in Mind
Don’t rely on the grant for a deposit:
Exactly when you’ll be paid the grant money can vary, so it’s best not to rely on it for your initial deposit. In fact, the best way to think of the home buyers grant is as money you’ll get back rather than money to get you started.
Remember, you may be able to get both the first home buyers grant and the First Home Guarantee
Depending on your project, you may qualify for both meaning you’ll only have to pay a 5% down payment for your initial deposit and you’ll receive $30,000 for your home. This could really help you get started.
Make sure you get your paperwork right:
We’ve all been there. You make a mistake on a form and it takes forever to sort it out. For the sake of your time, finances and sanity, try to get everything right the first time. For $30,000, it’s worth triple-checking everything.
Providing misleading information on your application is unlikely to end well for you. Even if you get the money, if you get found out later, the punishment will be a lot more than simply having to pay the money back.
Talk to a financial advisor:
Budget problems are one of the most common hurdles people face when building a new home. It is, after all, an expensive project. Therefore, having a thorough understanding of your financial situation will go a long way to helping you avoid issues during your build. A financial advisor can help you create a budget for your situation.
Talk to a building broker like Buldi:
Getting a grant is only one small step during your construction journey. There are many decisions to be made, applications to be made and mistakes you’ll want to avoid. It can be overwhelming, especially for first-time home buyers, but the great news is that you don’t need to go it alone. Buildi is a building broker whose mission is to bring power back to the consumer. Usually, builders hold all the cards, but with our help, you’ll be able to ensure your needs are met. We can help you find the right builder for the job as well as guide you throughout the process. We’ve saved our clients hours of time, loads of frustration and thousands of dollars, so get in touch today!