First home buyers may be eligible for a $2000 assistance account.

Just about every agent and buyer knows about the government’s First Home Owner Grant. But did you know that some first home buyers are also eligible for another grant of up to $2000?

The Home Buyers Assistance Account is a state government scheme aimed to reimburse buyers for incidental expenses up to $2000. Such expenses include mortgage registration fees, settlement agent fees, and valuation and inspection fees.

The criteria for the Home Buyers Assistance Account are different from those of the First Home Owner Grant. Buyers qualify for the Assistance Account if:

  • The purchase price of the home is $400,000 or less,
  • They are buying their first home which is established or partially built (not vacant land or a house and land package),
  • The buyer or their spouse or partner must not own or have owned any property in the State of Western Australia before (if one of the buyers owns or has owned a home in Western Australia before, then the other buyer can apply for a partial grant based on the percentage of their ownership of the home),
  • The buyer lives in the home for at least the first 12 months,
  • The buyer purchases the home through a licensed real estate agent,
  • The application is lodged with the Department of Commerce no more than 90 days after the date that the contract to buy the home is accepted (in exceptional circumstances, a short extension of time for lodgement may be granted if reasonable grounds exist), and
  • The home loan is financed through a lending institution (such as a bank, building society or credit union).

To apply for the grant, buyers need to complete the application form on the Department of Commerce website and lodge it no more than 90 days after the date the contract is accepted. Part of this form is a table in which buyers list the amount of each of their incidental expenses, so that they can be reimbursed for those expenses up to the amount of $2000.

Once the grant is approved, a cheque is forwarded to the buyer’s lender. How the grant is paid to the buyer will depend on their lender.

If you’re an agent, inform buyers that the Home Buyers Assistance Account exists and let them know that they can apply through the Department of Commerce website.

By doing so, you can help ease the financial burden on first home buyers during what can be a very expensive time.

Image by Daniel Hoherd via Flickr.