Everyone who has even a passing interest in building their own home has heard of the first home buyers grant. But what is it exactly and how do know if you may be eligible? If you’re eligible, how do you apply? If you’re asking these questions, you’re in the right place, because we’re here to explain the process of using the first home buyers grant. In this article we’ll cover:
- What is the first home owners grant
- Who can apply for the grant
- Tips on applying, and a heads-up on anything you should keep in mind.
As we’re talking about the Sunshine Coast in this article, we’ll specifically be looking at the Queensland First Home Owners Grant. While other states have similar grants, there are differences, so it’s best to check their specific guidelines.
What is the first home buyers grant on the Sunshine Coast?
First things first: What exactly is the first home buyer grant? It is a government grant specifically designed to help first-home buyers build a house. Like most government benefits or government grants, you’re not required to pay it back. Unlike a home loan deposit scheme, it won’t occur debt or be affected by interest rates. Sounds pretty good so far, right?
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for… how much do you get? The grant is a one-off payment of $15,000. The house you’re planning to build needs to have a purchase price or be worth less than $750,000 for you to qualify. This money can go towards:
- Vacant land and the house you will build.
- An existing home providing no one else has lived in it
- An established home that has had substantial renovation performed before you bought it.
Filling in the application form
Mistakes on forms can often lead to delays, which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to get some cash. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The application must list everyone who will be an owner of the new house as an applicant. You need at least one applicant on your form
- If you have a spouse, they must be included on the application, regardless of whether they’ll be a co-owner. They can be listed as either an applicant (co-owner) or non-applicant spouse.
- You only need one application per house, regardless of how many applicants there are.
- Whether you have one or fifty applicants on your application form, the grant is paid per house, not per applicant.
- The situations of each applicant and their spouse will be taken into consideration when determining the eligibility of the application.
- If you’ve previously received a grant, you can’t apply again unless the previous grant is paid back.
If you have any doubts or are unsure how to answer a question, ask your agent or someone from the Queensland Revenue office. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, and it could save you some headaches down the line.
Am I eligible for the first home buyers grant on the Sunshine Coast?
Before you can apply, you’ll need to find out whether you’re eligible for the first homeowners grant. The basic eligibility criteria are as follows:
- The applicant must be aged 18 or over
- An Australian Citizen or permanent resident (sometimes New Zealand residents with special category visa may be eligible)
- You or your spouse must not have owned property in Australia on or after 1 July 2000
- You and your spouse can not have already received a first home owner grant in Queensland or any other state or territory in Australia.
It’s possible to get exemptions from some of the above criteria, however, this is handled on a case-by-case basis. We’d recommend discussing this with an agent to see your options.
On the Queensland Government website, you’ll find an online eligibility test that will help to determine if you’re able to apply for the grant. While passing this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be given the grant funds, it can help give you an idea if you have a chance.
Can I use the first homeowners grant to purchase an investment property?
Short answer: No. The grant can’t be used to purchase an investment property. This means any property that you have no intention of living in yourself will disqualify you from the grant. It is a requirement that you live in the purchased house as a permanent resident for at least six months, within a year of the house being completed.
How to apply for the first home buyers grant on the Sunshine Coast?
So you’ve had a look at the eligibility criteria and you tick all the boxes. What’s the next step? Who do you go to make the application? You have two main options when it comes to making an application form for the grant, which is:
- through an approved agent (bank or lending institutions)
- Apply to the Queensland Revenue office
Let’s look at each option:
Applying through an approved agent
This is usually the quickest option. An approved bank or lending institution will help you determine whether you’re eligible and help you with the homeowners grant application form.
For your application, you’ll need some supporting documents. The documents can be scanned provided there:
- signed and dated contract
- properly completed
- clearly legible
Your agent should be able to run you through each of the steps to ensure you don’t make a mistake that causes a delay or, worse, ends up getting you fined. If you have any questions or queries, be sure to ask.
Applying through the Queensland Revenue Office
There’s always the option of applying for the grant through the Queensland Revenue Office website. To achieve this, you’ll need to upload the requested supporting documents. Your grant won’t be paid until your home is finished and all documentation has been received.
When to apply for the first home owner grant on the Sunshine Coast?
During your building process, you’ll need to provide supporting documents within the following timeframes:
- Buying a home – apply within one year of possessing your new house and registering your title.
- Contract to build – you must apply within a year of the home is finished: the final inspection certificate is issued.
- Owner-build – apply one year of your new home is completed.
When will I receive the grant funds?
This can vary, so our advice is to consider the grant money you’ll get back rather than depend on it to make a down payment. The most common times people receive their first home buyer grants are:
- at the settlement of the house
- the first drawdown of funds
- upon receipt of the final inspection certificate.
Can I use a first-home buyer grant to build a new home?
Yes. The purpose of the first home buyers grant is to help people buy a brand new home and build a new home provided the house, unit or townhouse. It’s important to note whatever you’re building, it has to be worth under $750,000. You can’t use the grant to buy a previously owned property in Australia or a pre-existing property that someone has already lived in.
What’s the definition of a new home?
For the purposes of the grant, a new home is one in which you:
- move into and make your permanent residence within a year of completion.
- must remain as a permanent resident for at least six months.
How to build your first home on the Sunshine Coast?
Building a new home is a big step in anyone’s life, so it’s natural to feel a little lost as to where to start.
- Consider where you’d like to buy land and what you want to achieve with your new home.
- Look at possible designs and find floorplans that will meet your needs.
- Research your potential builders carefully. Your choice of a builder can make or break your building experience, so it’s worth putting in the time to find the right match for you.
How We Can Help You
Building a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your life. At Buildi, we’ll be there throughout the entire building process, guiding you step by step so you can avoid any pitfalls. We will help you by following these steps.
- Free Consultation – We will sit with you to understand what you are looking to accomplish.
- Due Diligence – We work with you to ensure you’re buying the right block of land at the right price without hidden problems.
- Builders tender – We will take your requirements out to the market of builders and they will bid to win your business.
- Present solutions – We will compile the top 3 options and present you with a comprehensive proposal on builders’ strengths & weaknesses along with prices and specifications.
- Contract Signing – We will work with you and your selected builder to ensure there is full transparency in what you are entering into.
- Building your home – We work closely with the builder to ensure all service levels are met and your project is on schedule.
Research reputable home builders on the Sunshine Coast
Research house and land packages on the Sunshine Coast
Visit display home locations on the Sunshine Coast
The first homeowners grant could be helpful in getting you into your first home sooner. Whether you’re eligible for the Queensland grant or federal government benefits, it’s worth looking into as that extra 15,000 can make a huge difference to your finances. So our advice? If you may be eligible for the first home owners grant, go for it!