First Home Owners Grant
The Queensland First Home Owners Grant: An added bonus for first new home buyers
Buying your first home is an exciting time – hitting the open houses every weekend, gazing around the property imagining your pictures hanging on the walls, your furniture, that fancy rug, the wall-mounted tv. Then comes the excitement of signing the contract, talking to the banks, getting the money together and heading towards settlement. Finally, you reach settlement day and with it, the excitement of having a celebratory drink in the middle of any empty house with plastic cups!
If you are about to embark on this journey, or even if you are in the middle of this journey, you should keep in mind the benefits of the Queensland First Home Owners Grant (formally the Great Start Grant). On 1 July 2016 this grant increased from $15,000 to $20,000 giving first new home owners an added boost in starting their next ‘life chapter’.
Who is eligible for the Queensland First Home Owners Grant?
- You must enter into a contract to purchase the property dated after 1 July 2016; and
- You need to be a new home buyer; and
- The property must be an off-the-plan property, newly built property or substantially renovated home.
“What is a substantially renovated home?”
A “substantially renovated home” is a renovation which all, or most, of the structural and/or non-structural components of a building are removed or replaced. Most of the rooms in the previous building must have been affected and the renovations must have affected the building as a whole for it to be considered a substantial renovation. For more information visit (https://firsthomeowners.initiatives.qld.gov.au/).
Further eligibility criteria for the Queensland First Home Owners Grant are:
- You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
- You must not have previously had an interest in a property in Australia;
- You must be over 18 years old; and
- The value of the property cannot exceed $750,000.
This is all pretty straight forward if you are buying property on your own – but what if you are married or in a de facto relationship and your partner has previously owned property prior to 1 July 2000. If that is the case, then unfortunately you will not be eligible for the grant.
Depending on your situation, please note that the funds are not always available to you at settlement.
You can test your eligibility at https://firsthomeowners.initiatives.qld.gov.au/eligibility.php
Disqualifications and caps
Even if you meet the eligibility criteria, some circumstances may stop you from getting the grant. Disqualifying arrangements can include:
- Buying or building your new home with financial help from a related person (who is not eligible for the grant) who will also stay in the home often or live in the home for long periods of time;
- Entering into an arrangement for the main purpose of getting the grant, rather than to get a new home.
Money borrowed from a bank or lending institution is not considered to be financial help. If there is a disqualifying arrangement, we will not pay the grant. If the grant has already been paid, you will have to repay it.
Some important tips to make sure you can keep your grant
In order to retain the full benefit that comes with receiving a $20,000 head start from the Queensland Government, there are certain requirements that must be complied with. If you do not comply with these requirements you must notify the Queensland Government through the Office of State Revenue within 14 days, which will most likely result in you having to refund the grant to the Government.
To keep the grant, you must:
- Move into your newly built home or substantially renovated home within 12 months of the settlement date; or
- If you have purchased vacant land and you are building your own home then you must move in within 12 months from the date when the final inspection certificate is granted; and
- Live there continuously for 6 months.
Where and how to apply for the Queensland First Home Owners Grant
You can apply for the First Home Owners’ Grant through the Office of State Revenue directly or through your financier / lending institution. We are happy to help you with your application if you are a cash buyer.
If you would like more information or have any questions for us, we would love to a free, no obligation chat with you. You can contact our Carroll Fairon Solicitors conveyancing team through our Contact Us page.