The First Home Owners Grant in NSW is a fantastic program that gives eligible people $10,000 for free! You absolutely *don’t* want to miss out on this, so as an independent site specialising in mortgages and homes, we’ve gone through every website and scrap of information out there to develop this ultimate guide. Get our expert advice and ensure you don’t miss out on any of that cash.
Table of Contents
What Is The First Home Owners Grant?
The First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) or also sometimes called the First Home Buyers Grant, is a state sponsored grant that’s given to eligible people buying or building their first home in NSW. Depending on your eligibility and what type of home or land you’re buying, you can get a significant amount of money added onto that deposit you’re saving for, helping you finally get onto the property ladder.
How Much Is The First Home Owners Grant?
NSW offers a $10,000 First Home Owner Grant for people that meet the eligibility criteria.
How Does The First Home Owners Grant Work?
In general the process is similar to many other government programs. Assuming you meet the eligibility criteria, you download, complete and lodge the application form to the correct state department. You can also apply for the FHOG through an approved agent such as your lender (a bank or other financial insitution) and they will submit it on your behalf.
The government reviews the form and if everything checks out, you, your bank or your builder receives the grant money. Notably, the grant money is not means tested (so your income doesn’t matter) and you don’t have to pay tax on it which makes it even better.
Who’s Eligible For The First Home Owners Grant?
To be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant in NSW:
- You must be a buyer or builder of a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar that is newly built, purchased off the plan or substantially renovated
- If you purchase a newly built house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar the purchase price must not exceed $600,000
- If you purchase vacant land and sign a building contract with a builder then they add the value of the vacant land plus the value of the building contract plus the cost of any building variations done together. The total combined cost must not exceed $750,000
- If you purchase a home which was substantially renovated by the seller, the purchase price must not exceed $600,000
- Each applicant must be at least 18 years old
- You must be a first home buyer as a person, not as a company or trust
- At least one applicant must be a permanent resident or Australian citizen
- You or your spouse, partner or co-purchaser must not have previously owned a home before 1 July 2000
- You must occupy your first home as your principal place of residence within 12 months of the construction or purchase of your home and the minimum period of occupancy is 6 continuous months
- You or your spouse must not have previously received a First Home Owner Grant in Australia
- You or your spouse must not have owned a home or other residential property in Australia, either jointly or separately, before 1 July 2000
- You or your spouse must not have lived for six continuous months or more in a home located in Australia that you owned (wholly or partially) on or after 1 July 2000
As you can see, there are quite a few hurdles to jump through. On top of all the points above, there are also a few other pitfalls to be wary of:
- Don’t assume your lender will inform you of your eligibility or otherwise for the grant – do your own research. It’s also highly recommended you enlist the help of a solicitor at some point if you are unsure of more complicated aspects of the grant or eligibility
- You won’t receive the FHOG as a direct payment – it’s only available on settlement, or when the slab is laid if you’re building, and will be directed to the builder or other involved parties, so don’t expect to be able to spend it where you please
- The date you sign the form must be after the date on your contract of sale or building contract. Sounds simple, but there are times when being too organised will come back to haunt you!
- Be careful if you’re buying off the plan. If your house is eventually valued at more than the FHOG cutoff then you’ll miss out
The laws and rules surrounding the FHOG can make it difficult for many First Home Buyers to understand. By their very nature they are “first home buyers” and thus, new to the world of property buying or building which means everything is all the more complex. However I always think more information is better than too little. Just take your time, and take advantage of anyone you can ask for advice such as your builder or bank.
How Do I Apply For The First Home Owners Grant?
Getting And Submitting The Application Form
Ask your home loan provider (your bank or financial institution) to lodge the application on your behalf
Filling In The Application Form
- Be sure to write clearly using block letters and a black pen
- Follow all instructions and ensure all required fields are completed
- Use your full legal name exactly as it appears on your birth certificate or passport
- Ensure you include any former or maiden names
- If mistakes are made do not use white out. You can cross it out and write your correction near it. All parties must initial the correction or if you prefer you can simply print out that page again and redo it
- The date you sign the form must be after the date on your contract of sale or building contract
The application form must be officially witnessed by someone over the age of 18. The witness cannot be a family member. If you and your partner are applying together then you cannot witness each other’s signature. The witness must clearly write down their full name including any middle names and residential address (PO Boxes are not acceptable).
Required Supporting Documents
Please note that all ID and additional documents must be certified!
ID to certify that you are an Australian citizen:
- Australian birth certificate issued by Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, OR
- Australian citizenship certificate, OR
- Australian Passport (not accepted by NSW if you were born in Australia)
Additional certified documents in the following situations:
- A certified copy of your marriage certificate if married
- A certified copy of your divorce certificate if divorced
- A certified copy of the death certificate of your spouse/partner if widowed
- A statutory declaration with the following information if separated:
- Former spouse/partner’s name
- Former spouse/partner’s date of birth
- Former spouse/partner’s current address (if known)
- Date you were married or commenced your domestic relationship
- Date you separated
- A statement declaring you do not live together and have no intention of resuming cohabitation
- A certified copy of the change of name certificate if you have changed your name
What Other Assistance Programs Are There?
If you don’t qualify for the First Home Owners Grant don’t be too worried, there are many other schemes available that you might qualify for instead. Below is a quick walk through of the various types and who they’re for.
First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme
If you’re a first home buyer, you may be entitled to a concessional rate of transfer duty or even an exemption from paying it altogether under the First Home Buyers Assistance scheme (FHBAS). Unlike the First Home Owner Grant, the FHBAS applies to:
- buying an existing home
- buying a new home and
- vacant land on which you intend to build a home
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I move out of the home before the minimum period of occupancy?
If you move out of the newly built or bought home within the mandated minimum period of occupancy then you’ll need to repay the grant, as you won’t have meet the requirements.
Can I apply for the grant if I’m a temporary resident?
No. The grant is not available for temporary residents. At least one applicant must be a permanent resident or Australian citizen
My partner and I are buying a property, do we each get a grant?
No. Even if both people have never owned properties or received the grant before, only one grant is payable per property.
Does my income affect the grant and is the grant taxed?
The First Home Owners Grant is not means tested, meaning that it isn’t affected by your income. The grant is also not taxed either.
What sort of home qualifies for the grant?
A “new home” is classified as being any house, unit, flat or other type of self-contained fixed dwelling that meets local planning standards.
Can I get the grant when buying an existing home?
No. The First Home Owners Grant is only available to newly bought, built or substantially renovated homes.
I own property outside of Australia, can I still qualify for the grant?
Yes. As long as you haven’t owned property in Australia before and meet all other eligibility requirements.
Can I get the grant if I’m buying or building a new investment property?
You may be eligible for the grant on an investment property depending on what other interests you own on other residential property
Can I claim the First Home Owner Grant for inheriting a property?
No. To be eligible for the grant you must either be a buyer or builder of the property.
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