Who’s Eligible for the Grant?
Like any grant, there’s a list of requirements you need to meet before the government will even consider your application. According to the Queensland government, those requirements are as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- Neither you nor your spouse may not have previously owned property in Australia that you lived in.
- You must be buying or building a new home (NOT purchasing a home previously used as a place of residence).
- The value of the home including the land is less than $750,000.
- You must intend to move into the new home as your primary place of residence within one year of completing the transaction and live there continuously for six months.
Even if you meet all these requirements, you may be disqualified from the grant if any of the following apply:
- You are a trust or company (not an individual).
- You enter into an arrangement to get the grant, but don’t use it to buy a new home.
- You held an interest in a residential property before 1 July 2000, regardless of how you used the property.
- You buy or build the home with financial help from a non-eligible related person who will also stay in the home often and for long periods of time, or for family reasons.
- You have received a first home buyers grant from any state or territory of Australia (without paying it back).
If you meet one of these disqualifying criteria and/or fail to meet the qualifying criteria, you will not receive the grant. If you’ve already received the grant, the government will expect you to return it.
What are the other requirements to get and keep the grant?
1) Filling Out the Application
Once you meet all the eligibility requirements, you need to fill out an application. You must include yourself, your spouse, and any adult who will own any stake in the home. Despite this, you only need one application per home, regardless of the number of owners.
Before you submit your application, you must make sure it’s completed in full, all applicants have signed it, it’s been witnessed, and all supporting documents are attached. These supporting documents include…
- Proof of identity.
- Final inspection certificate.
2) Keeping the Grant
Once you’ve submitted all the materials, then you need to make sure you continue to meet the requirements. Again, failing to meet the grant’s requirements after you’ve received it will result in being forced to repay the money.
To keep the grant, you need to meet the aforementioned residency requirements. If you must move out of the home before living there for six months, you must contact the Queensland government within fourteen days. Depending on your exact circumstances, you may or may not have to pay back the grant.
3) When to Apply
There’s two specific timeframes when you can apply for the grant, depending on how you acquire your home. If you’re purchasing your home fully built, you must apply within one year of the purchase and registering the title. If you’re building your home or contracting someone to build your home, you must apply within one year of the home’s completion (for example, when the final inspection certificate is issued).
Since these grants are paid at different times depending on your exact circumstances, it’s strongly advised you don’t use these grants towards any deposits. Additionally, you do not need a deposit to apply for the grant.
How do I apply?
There’s two avenues through which you can apply for the grant. You can apply through government-approved banks/lending institutions. Alternatively, you can apply directly with the Office of State Revenue through post or email. It’s generally recommended that those who need the funds for settlement or otherwise need the grant as soon as possible apply through approved banks or lending institutions.
1) Banks and Lending Institutions
Once you’ve filled out your application and found an approved agent, you can take the documents to the bank or lending institution you’ve chosen. Make sure you also have all supporting documentation so the agent can process the grant.
Some agents will also accept scanned applications as long as they’re complete, signed and witnessed, and legible. Once the agent has your documentation, they will confirm if you’re eligible and manage your application.
2) The Office of State Revenue
It’s important to note that those who apply directly to the Office of State Revenue will not receive their grant until they’ve supplied the institution with the final inspection certificate for the home. To apply via post, you must send your complete, signed, and witnessed application and all supporting documentation to the following address:
Office of State Revenue, GPO Box 953, Brisbane Qld 4001
The Office of State Revenue will also accept scanned applications via email as long as they’re complete, signed, witnessed, and clearly legible. You can email your complete application to email@example.com.
Officials will process most applications within ten days of receiving them, but this may take longer if they’re processing an influx of applications. Occasionally, they will contact you for more information.
When will I receive the grant money?
When you receive the money depends on three factors: (1) how you apply, and (2) whether you’re building or buying.
If you applied through a lending institution or bank, payment timeframes usually fall into one of three categories:
- At settlement, for buying a new home.
- When you first drawdown funds when you contract someone to build your home.
- When you receive the final inspection certificate after building your new home.
When you apply to the Office of State Revenue, they will not supply the grant money until you supply the final inspection certificate, regardless of whether you’re building or buying.
Are there additional requirements if I build my own home?
If you’re building your home yourself (instead of contracting another person or entity to build it for you), then your home needs to fall under one of a few categories. It must be…
- A house, duplex/townhouse, or a granny flat build on a relative’s land (a “relative” in this sense refers to a parent, grandparent, child, stepchild, sibling, or the spouse of any of these).
- A kit home or relocatable home that has been moved from one site to another and has not been occupied since being moved to the new site.
- A “tiny home” fixed to the property (i.e. not on wheels, not meant to be moved).
Do renovated houses count as new homes for the purposes of the grant?
Whether or not renovated houses count as new homes depends on a variety of factors. First, the seller must meet the following requirements:
- They must be registered or required to be registered for the GST and be selling their home as a part of their business.
- They must give you a tax invoice that shows the GST component of the home purchase price.
- They must give you a statement confirming no one has lived in or sold the house since its renovation.
Second, the home must be substantially renovated before the applicant(s) purchase(s) it according to the following criteria:
- All or most of the structural or non-structural components of the building are removed or replaced.
- Most of the building’s rooms have been affected.
- The renovations must have affected the building as a whole.
If you and your prospective home meet all the criteria for the First Time Home Buyers Grant, it’s definitely worth applying. If you know you qualify, and are looking to purchase your first home in or around Brisbane, you can trust the real estate experts at Hauss to help. Contact us any time for more information, and we’ll be happy to help.