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First home owners grant and rebates – 5 things you need to know that could save you thousands

It is often said, “It’s not what you know, but who you know in life that counts.” But when it comes to First Home Owners Grant and Rebates, knowing what is available and who can help you with the process are equally important. Because ongoing changes to the government’s First Home Buyers Grant and Rebates have left First Home Buyers confused and unsure about what they are entitled to claim. Which means that many are missing out on thousands of dollars’ worth of free financial assistance and rebates.

However it doesn’t have to be this way because the process is simple if you know the basics.

That’s why we’ve put together this simple, easy to read guide for you. To literally cut through all of the complicated information and perplexing details on the subject, so you can:

  • Get clear on what’s available.
  • Understand your position and eligibility.
  • Know who can offer you assistance or advice.

And, if you’re eligible, you can take advantage of the $1000’s of dollars on offer to First Home Buyers through First Home Owners Grants and Rebates initiatives. It’s that simple.

Let’s get started.

What’s Available? 

First Home Owners Grant

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is a once-off grant of up to $10,000 offered by the WA State Government to assist First Home Buyers to purchase new residential homes. As of 3rd October 2015, the FHOG no longer applies to First Home Buyers who purchase established homes. The FHOG is also not available for the purchase of vacant land, business premises, and holiday properties or to fund minor renovations to an existing home. However, a First Home Buyer may be eligible to apply for a FHOG if they purchase a home which has undergone substantial renovations.

Eligibility- You may be eligible for a First Home Owners Grant if you:

  • Are natural person (i.e. not a company or trust) and over 18 years of age.
  • Are an Australian Citizen or a permanent resident. At least one applicant per grant must be an Australian Citizen.
  • Have not received any First Home Buyer Grants or concessions in the past within Australia. This also applies to your spouse or de facto partner.
  • Have not owned property anywhere in Australia prior to 01 July 2000, nor owned property anywhere in Australia after 1 July 2000 and occupied that home before 30 June 2004. Nor occupied that home for more than six continuous months commencing after 30 June 2004. This also applies to your spouse or de facto partner.
  • Will occupy the home as your principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least six months, commencing within twelve months of completion of the property transaction.
  • Hold a relevant interest(ownership) in the land on which the home is situated.
  • Enter into a contract to buy or build (or in case of an owner builder, commence construction) on or after 1 July 2000.
    • $750,000 if the property is located south of the 26th parallel of south latitude. The 26th parallel is located at Shark Bay in WA.Are applying for an eligible transaction commencing on or after 1 January 2010, where the total value of the home does not exceed the financial cap amount. The Western Australian cap amount is:
    • $1,000,000 if located north of the 26th parallel of south latitude

First Home Buyer $5000 Boost Payment

An additional $5,000 boost payment was also made available to eligible First Home Buyers for those who entered into a contract between 1 January and 30 June 2017. This applied if you were purchasing or constructing a new home, buying off the plan and for owner builders who commenced laying foundations of their home between those dates. This payment is no longer on offer for current First Home Buyers, but it is worthwhile checking to see if your situation meets the criteria if you entered into a contract between 1 January and 30 June 2017.

First Home Owner Rate of Duty

The First Home Owner Rate (FHOR) of Duty is available to eligible First Home Buyers including those who are buying both new and established homes. The FHOR offers eligible applicants exemptions and concessions on Stamp Duty and transfer costs which can provide savings totaling tens of thousands of dollars. These include the following:

Stamp Duty exemptions or concessions based upon the following criteria:

  1. For First Home Buyers purchasing established homes, of up to $430,000 value, the transaction is Stamp Duty Exempt. With concessions on Stamp Duty for properties of up to $530,000 in value.
  2. For First Home Buyers purchasing new homes, house and land packages, off the plan and owner builders, the same figures apply as above, where the land portion of the property does not exceed $400,000 as a total. Land valued under $300,000 receives a full Stamp Duty exemption and land valued between $300,000 and $400,000 attracts a concessional rate on Stamp Duty.

The FHOR also offers concessions on the costs involved with the transfer of the property and/or land.

Eligibility – You may be eligible for a First Home Owner Rate of Duty if you:

  • Qualify for a First Home Owner Grant or
  • Would have qualified for a First Home Owner Grant otherwise except for purchasing an established home
  • Are a First Home Buyer and resident of the Indian Ocean Territory.

If you are not eligible for the First Home Owner Rate of Duty because the value of your home or vacant land exceeds the criteria thresholds for the value of the property, you may be eligible for the residential rate of transfer duty.

Home Buyers Assistance Account Rebate

The Home Buyers Assistance Account Rebate scheme offers eligible First Home Buyers grants of up to $2000 to reimburse you for some of the expenses involved in the purchase of your home. The grant can be used to cover fees and charges such as mortgage registration fees, solicitor and/or conveyancing fees, valuation fees, inspection fees, establishment fees, mortgage insurance premiums and lending institution fees associated with the purchase of your home.

Eligibility – You may be eligible for a Home Buyers Assistance Account Rebate if you:

  • Are purchasing a property which complies with the current total price threshold for dwellings purchased in WA of $400,000.
  • Do not or have not previously owned a property in WA. However, if you or another applicant owns or has owned a property in WA, then a partial grant may be available for the First Home Buyer applicant based on the percentage of their interest in the property.
  • Have purchased your property through a licensed real estate agency conducting business in WA.
  • Have financed your purchase through a lending institution, which is also required to lodge the application on your behalf.
  • Have purchased an established or partially built home at the time of acceptance of the contract to purchase, not a plan to build a dwelling.
  • Will be using the property as your principal place of residence and intend to live in your home for at least the first 12 months (the home cannot be rented out during this time). However, if there is an existing fixed term tenancy agreement in place at the time of purchasing your property, the tenancy agreement must finish within six months from the settlement date on your property. You must then intend to live in the premises for at least 12 months after the expiry of the tenancy agreement.
  • Lodge your application no more than 90 days after the date on which the offer to purchase the property was accepted. After this time a late lodgement of your application may be allowed if exceptional circumstances provide reasonable justification for the delay of lodgement.

Who Can Help?

For help with applying for your First Home Buyers Grant, $5000 Boost Payment and Home Buyers Assistance Account Rebate, your mortgage broker or lending institution will handle these or offer assistance through the process.

Whist your settlement agent or conveyancer will process the First Home Owner Rate of Duty at settlement so that the correct Duty Certificate and exemption / concession is applied. This is done once your settlement agent has received confirmation of your eligibility for this.

Image by Harsha K R on Flickr