Guess what? A cool $10,000 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is waiting for you when you take the exciting step of buying or building your first brand-new home. And by 'new home,' we mean you can pick a house, a cosy townhouse, a modern apartment, or something similar. It still counts, even if it's a home with a major makeover or a fresh start to replace a torn-down place.
Here's the deal: To snag this grant, your home's price tag needs to be $750,000 or less. Whether you're going for an off-the-plan purchase or sealing the deal to construct your dream home, the key is that the contract price should stay within that budget.
Now, what's a 'new home'? It's a place that hasn't been sold as someone's residence or used as a home, even for short stays like Airbnb. So, if it's the first time someone's calling it home – that's when you can grab that FHOG. But if the person who built it lived there, rented it out, or used it for short-term stays, it won't qualify as a 'new home' for the grant.
In this article, we’ll discuss things you need to know in 2023 before applying for a first home buyers grant in Australia. So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What You Need to Know First
Usually, the bank or credit union helping you with your financing (check the list of approved agents) will handle your First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) application. You must submit your application through an approved agent if you need the grant for settlement or your initial payment. Before that, move on to step 2 and gather your supporting documents.
Only apply directly with gov. if no approved agent handles your FHOG application. Remember, you can't submit your application to gov. until your eligible transaction is complete.
Check Your Eligibility
Your First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) eligibility depends on your responses in the FHOG online portal.
You won't qualify for the FHOG if you or your spouse/partner have:
- Previously received a first home buyers grant anywhere in Australia.
- Owned a home or other residential property in Australia, either together or separately, before July 1, 2000.
- Lived in a home you owned or part-owned in Australia for at least six consecutive months, starting from July 1, 2000.
However, there's still hope! You may be eligible if you or your spouse/partner bought a property on or after July 1, 2000, and haven't lived in it as your primary residence.
Also, to qualify for the FHOG, at least one applicant must:
- Occupy the home as their main place of residence for a minimum of 12 months, starting within 12 months of settlement or construction completion.
- Be 18 years or older (sometimes exceptions may apply).
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. The purchase of a new home generally applies on the date you become entitled to possess the home under the contract, which is usually the settlement date. For comprehensive building contracts, it applies when the building is ready for occupation as a place of residence, typically when construction is completed.
It's important to note that New Zealanders with a special category visa under s32 of the Migration Act 1958 and individuals holding a permanent visa under s30(1) are considered permanent residents for FHOG purposes.
Collecting Your Supporting Documents (Proof of Identity)
When applying through an approved agent, you and your spouse/partner need to supply a copy (not the original) of a primary identity document and proof of citizenship or permanent residency.
However, if you're submitting your application directly to us, here's what you'll need: Each applicant and their spouse/partner should provide a copy (again, not the original) of a current document from each of the three categories (meaning three documents per person). Remembering that a single document can't be used for more than one category is essential. This helps ensure a smooth processing of your application.
Category 1 - Proof of Identity and Citizenship or Permanent Residency
If you're an Australian citizen, you'll need to provide one of the following documents:
- Australian birth certificate
- Australian passport
- Australian citizenship certificate
If you are a citizen of another country, you'll need to provide:
- Your current passport
- Evidence of permanent residency or a permanent residence visa, along with the date it was granted
For New Zealand citizens, the following documents are required:
- Your current passport
- A movement record as evidence of living in Australia upon completion of the eligible transaction. You can obtain this record from the Department of Home Affairs.
Category 2 - Proof of Link Between Identity and Person
To establish the link between your identity and yourself, you'll need to provide one document from the following options:
- A copy of your current Australian driver's license
- Passport (if it wasn't used for Category 1)
- Working with Children Check card
- Firearms license
- Proof of Age card issued by Liquor Control Victoria (photo ID card)
Category 3 - Proof of Residency in Australia
To confirm that each applicant and their spouse/partner reside in Australia, you'll need to provide one document from the following options:
- A copy of your current Medicare card
- Motor vehicle registration notice
- Centrelink or Department of Veterans Affairs card
Additional Supporting Evidence
In some situations, you'll need to provide extra documentation. Here are the requirements for specific circumstances:
- Married: Include a copy of your marriage certificate.
- Divorced: Include a copy of your divorce certificate.
- Widowed: Provide a copy of your spouse/partner's death certificate.
- Separated: Create a statutory declaration containing the following details:
- The name of your former spouse/partner.
- Your former spouse/partner's current address (if known).
- Your former spouse/partner’s date of birth.
- The date you were married or started your domestic relationship.
- The date you separated.
- A statement confirming that you no longer live together and have no intention of resuming cohabitation.
- Member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF): A copy of a document issued by the ADF displaying your name and confirming your permanent ADF membership at the eligible transaction's completion date. Documentation verifying your enrollment on the Victorian electoral roll.
- Name Change: If the name on any document differs from the applicant's name, provide evidence of the name change. This can be a change of name certificate issued by births, deaths, and marriages or a statutory declaration explaining why you don't possess the change of name certificate.
Completing Your Application
If you're applying through an approved agent, be sure to have a discussion with them regarding the application process. They'll guide you through completing the application form and provide valuable assistance.
Am I Eligible for the First Home Buyers Grant?
The eligibility criteria for first time home buyers can vary slightly from one state or territory to another, but here's a general overview:
- You must be a first-time homebuyer as an individual, not on behalf of a company or trust.
- At least one applicant must be a permanent resident or Australian citizen.
- Each applicant must be at least 18 years old.
- You or your spouse, partner, or co-purchaser must not have previously owned land in Australia with a residence before July 1, 2000.
- You or your spouse/partner cannot have lived in a residential property you owned since July 1, 2000.
- You or your spouse, partner, or co-purchaser should not have previously claimed the grant.
- You must use your first home as your main residence within 12 months of buying or building it, and you should live there continuously for at least 12 months.
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