First home buyers reap a windfall of $7000. This money may help you qualify for a home loan from a lender. If you are buying or building your first home you may qualify for a $7000 grant. (Your lender can help you understand your eligibility.) The payments come through the Federal Government's First Home Owner Grant scheme. This scheme is designed to offset the higher cost of buying a home under the GST.
The Federal Government initially offered a $14,000 grant for buyers of new homes, but cut it to $10,000 after December 2001 and $7000 from July 2002. That left it at the same level as the grant offered to buyers of existing homes.
The payments are not means-tested - in other words, you can apply for them no matter how much you earn.
You need to be ...A couple or individual buying or building your first home
An Australian citizen or permanent resident
Entering into a binding contract to buy or build a new home after 1 July 2000 (owner-builders who started building a home after 1 July 2000 are also eligible).
Houses, townhouses, flats and units all qualify for the grant. You remain eligible even if you've previously purchased land, just as long as you haven't built a home on it.
The First Home Owners Scheme Web site at www.firsthome.gov.au provides eligibility checklists for each state.
You cannot be ...
Purchasing a holiday house, investment property or any property which is not your "principal place of residence"
A trust or company
When do I apply ...?
You must apply for the grant within 12 months of settlement on an established home or within 12 months of your home being built. You must also move into the home within 12 months.
Can I use the grant as part of a downpayment/deposit on a house?
Most lenders require you to pay at least five per cent of the home's cost out of your "genuine savings". But . . .
If you're building, some lenders allow the $7000 grant to form part of your deposit.
In some states, you may be able to make a request for earlier payment if you can show "exceptional circumstances".
In most states you can ask to have the $7000 grant offset the stamp duty you pay on the sale or loan documents.
In NSW, the grant is paid on settlement but "payment may be earlier if applying through a participating agent".
Does it matter where I live?
The states and territories administer the scheme, and rules may vary slightly between states. But payments will be the same regardless of where you buy or how much your new home costs.
Who administers the grant and how do I apply?
The states and territories are responsible for administering the grant (even though the money comes from the Federal Government). Forms are available from State or Territory Revenue Offices as follows:
New South Wales
Click here to download a NSW First Home Owner Grant Government form
Ring (02) 9685 2122 within Sydney or 1800 629 550 toll-free
Click here to download a VIC First Home Owner Grant Government form
Ring 13 2161
Click here to download a Queensland First Home Owner Grant Government form
Ring (07) 3404 3956 within Brisbane or 1300 300 118 (toll-free within Queensland)
Ring 1300 363 211
Ring (08) 8226 3750
Ring (03) 6233 3465
Ring (02) 6207 0029
How is the grant paid and how long will it be until I receive it?
The State or Territory Revenue Office will deposit the grant money into a nominated account by electronic funds transfer. If the grant is to be divided between a number of applicants, it will be paid by cheque. Payment is made about one week from the date of application.
What do I need in order to apply?
To receive the grant, you need a signed and dated contract of sale and a fully executed transfer of land document. If you are building a house, you need a signed and dated building contract and a certificate of occupancy. An owner builder must provide a certificate of occupancy. All applicants must produce photo identification.
Want more information?
For more information, ring the Australian Tax Office's infoline on 13 61 40, or visit these Web sites:
The First Home Owners Scheme Web site at www.firsthome.gov.au - this site contains separate guides to the scheme for each state.
The Australian Tax office at www.taxreform.ato.gov.au.
This article is bought to you by Imperator Financial and eChoice Home Loans
Home Loan Repayment Calculator
Home Loan Apply Online
No investment advice provided to you. This web site is not designed for the purpose of providing personal financial or investment advice. Information provided does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation or investment needs. You should assess whether the information on this web site is appropriate to your particular investment objectives, financial situation and investment needs. You should do this before making an investment decision on the basis of the information on this web site. You can either make this assessment yourself or seek the assistance of any financial adviser.