The First Home Owner Grant could make your property investment dreams a reality.
Blogger: Cameron Bell, sales and marketing manager, Complete Homes
If you are thinking of buying or building your first home, a little bit of help from the government in the form of the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) may just be the extra boost you need.
The FHOG is a national scheme, funded and administered by the states and territories under their own legislation, which pays a one-off tax-free grant to first time homeowners who meet all the eligibility criteria. Some states and territories have additional incentives, subsidies and variations on the regulations, but the objective is consistent –- and that is to incentivize first home buyers and help them get a foot onto the property ladder.
The grant isn't means tested, which means people don’t have to undergo any income or assets test to qualify but, in some areas, there is a cap on the price of the property that is to be purchased. There may also be differences in the amount of the grant payable, depending on whether the first-time home owner is buying a new home or an existing one.
How does it work?
If someone is buying a house and land package, they can apply for the FHOG as soon as the contract has been signed; they can do this either from an approved agent, such as a bank or mortgage provider, or they can apply directly to the state government’s revenue office.
Are there restrictions on the type of property?
The grant only applies to residential dwellings and can’t be used for business premises, holiday homes or vacant land (unless of course it’s part of a house and land package). In some instances, substantially renovated homes may qualify for the grant.
How do I know if I am eligible for the grant?
A comprehensive list of eligibility criteria can be found on the websites of each state’s revenue office, but here are some of the main things that are required:
Do I have to live in the property to qualify for the grant?
The rules state that each applicant must live in the home as their principal residence for at least six concurrent months, and that six-month period must start within 12 months of the property having been built or the transaction completed. Sometimes, special consideration will be given to those who can’t fulfil those conditions, but a written application has to be made to the Commissioner.
When is the grant paid?
Generally, the money is paid at the following times:
The grant is usually paid directly to the finance house and most major mortgage lenders are authorised to receive the grant on the applicant’s behalf.
If you’ve always dreamt of starting a new life with a new home, you may find that the FHOG is just the kick-start you need.