Understanding first home owner grants and concessions

 

Clients of mine recently purchased an apartment off the plan for $550,000 in Melbourne. As (1) they had never owned property in Australia (2) the property they were purchasing had never previously been lived in and (3) the property was valued at under $750,000, they were entitled to a $10,000 First Home Owners Grant from the Victorian State Government. In addition to the First Home Owners Grant, they were also entitled to a Stamp Duty Concession – a 50% reduction. As they had purchased the property off the plan, the Stamp Duty was approximately $3,000, so with a 50% reduction, they saved around $1,500 in Stamp Duty. 

Before you start searching for your first home, it pays to know where you stand on any government concessions that might help you out. These concessions tend to vary state by state and situation by situation, so if you need an explanation, please get in touch and we can discuss how they work.

First Home Owner Grant

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme was introduced on 1 July 2000 to offset the effect of the GST on home ownership. Under the scheme, a one-off grant is payable to first home owners that satisfy all the eligibility criteria. Although it is a national scheme, it is funded by the states and territories and administered under their own legislation.

For information on the FHOG in your specific state you can visit firsthome.gov.au .

Stamp duty breaks and concessions

Some of Australia’s state governments have concession waivers of the stamp duty associated with a property purchase.

Stamp duty is a tax applied to certain property transitions. When land is sold, transferred or leased, for example, stamp duty is generally payable. It is usually the buyer, not the seller, who is liable to pay stamp duty. Payment must generally be made within three months of entering into the contract for purchasing the property. The amount of stamp duty payable depends on the value of the property and the amount for which it is sold, transferred or leased. It is calculated on its market value or the price paid by the buyer.

Each state government has its own rules surrounding stamp duty on property purchases. For this reason, the exemptions and concessions available differ from state to state.

Some first home buyers, vacant land holders, and farm buyers may be entitled to some exemption or discount on stamp duty. You can check out whether any apply to you by contacting the revenue office in your state or territory (see the list below for details).

More information

You can also find further information on the First Home Owner Grant or details on stamp duty breaks on your state’s relevant government office website.
ACT – revenue.act.gov.au
NSW – osr.nsw.gov.au
NT – nt.gov.au/ntt/revenue
QLD – osr.qld.gov.au
SA – revenuesa.sa.gov.au
TAS – sro.tas.gov.au
VIC – sro.vic.gov.au
WA – osr.wa.gov.au

 

Don’t worry if you find eligibility criteria for First Home Owners Grants and Stamp Duty Concessions confusing – you are not alone! Get in touch and we will let you know (in an jargon free way!) how these might apply to the purchase of your first home. You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

 

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

*Note: Details are current as at publish date and should be confirmed with your local Office of State Revenue or equivalent body.

Navigating your way to your first home loan

Although applying for your first home loan may be the biggest financial decision you’ll make, it doesn’t need to be an overwhelming one. With the right preparation, a realistic understanding of your financial position and some professional guidance, you can position yourself as an attractive first home loan customer and gain approval in no time.

So what should you do?

1) Clean up your credit

Before applying for your first home loan, make sure you are creditworthy in the eyes of a lender by obtaining a copy of your personal credit file (you can get a free copy of your credit report at the veda website). Your credit history will be a key factor that a lender will consider when deciding to process your loan application. If you have a history of credit defaults, be prepared to explain honestly and up-front to the lender why those defaults occurred, how you remedied the situation and how you’ve taken steps to ensure the situation will not repeat itself.

2) Check your financial position

It’s also important to conduct a self-assessment of your financial position. This is to work out the amount you can borrow and the ease with which you’ll be able to manage your repayments. Try creating a spreadsheet of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Make sure you are honest with yourself about your everyday living expenses and commitments. Your home loan repayments should equate to no more than a third of your income, give or take your expenses. Then consider the extra costs of buying a home (on top of the purchase price) such as legal fees, lender establishment fees, stamp duty (if no government concession applies) and so on. You may also want to look into the availability of any available government concessions or grants that may help reduce the overall cost. A mortgage broker can help you assess your financial position to ensure the amount you wish to borrow is feasible in your circumstances.

3) Be deposit-ready

Although it’s true that some lenders don’t require a deposit – or require only a minimum deposit – you may want to aim to have a solid 20 per cent deposit saved up. Also factor in the additional costs of buying a home such as conveyancing, stamp duty and removalists. Saving a deposit is a good idea for two reasons:
– A 20 per cent deposit could mean you do not have to pay for Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). LMI is a premium amount that a borrower must pay to the lender when the loan-to-valuation ratio exceeds 80 per cent. Some lenders may make the loan available without having to get this insurance.
– A 20 per cent deposit immediately tells a lender that you are financially disciplined and responsible – attributes that will encourage lenders to look favourably upon your first home loan application.
If you do not have a 20 per cent deposit, don’t despair. Your mortgage broker will provide you with some options to help you find the right loan product. If you need any tips on saving a deposit, check out raising a deposit.

4) Do your research

Finding the right first home loan often entails so much more than just interest rates. You should try to research a range of products and investigate their fine print, including any set-up and break fees, loan structures, flexibility options such as redraw and offsetting, repayment options and guarantees. A good mortgage broker will have expert product knowledge that they can discuss with you to determine what loan would best suit your lifestyle and needs, both now and in the future (for example, when starting a family).

5) Gather your documents

To facilitate a fast assessment of your loan application, it’s helpful to gather recent copies of your pay slips and evidence of any other income. Also, gather copies of your bank account statements and credit card statements. If you’ve been employed for only a short time, try strengthening your application by obtaining letters of reference from your current and previous employers. If you are self-employed, a way to show your monthly income, outgoings and cashflow is by having business invoices and receipts on hand in case the lender requires such evidence of your earnings.

 

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when looking for your first home. Getting in touch as soon as you can with a good mortgage broker who can help position you as an attractive borrower to lenders, can help make things much easier.

 

For specialist lending advice, you can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

 

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing clients with lending advice they can trust. Whether it’s re-financing an existing property, buying a new or next home, or investing, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assisting clients with their lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

Why would you use a Mortgage Broker?

Research has revealed that 53% of Australian’s now use a mortgage broker for their lending needs, up from 35% ten years ago. So why are Australian’s increasingly using the services of a broker?

 

1) A choice of lenders

With an extensive panel of lenders (including the major banks), mortgage brokers are able to compare hundreds of loans to find a loan that gives you the best fit for what you need. If you go direct to a bank, they will only show you their lending products. Better choice across the whole market = a better loan and interest rate tailored to your needs. Here is the panel of lenders that we have at Choice Home Loans.

 

2) To save time

With today’s increasingly busy lifestyles you probably don’t have hours to devote to ‘shopping around’ to find the best loan and to go back and forth to a bank. Mortgage brokers are customer service focussed and most will come to you at a time and place that suits you – whether that is at home or work, during or after hours.

 

3) It’s free and could save you money

There is no cost to you for the services of a broker. Brokers get paid commission on loans from lenders, but regardless of whether you go direct to the bank or through a broker, the interest rate and fees to you will be the same. Very often, given brokers knowledge of the lending market and the access they have to special lending deals – using a broker can get you a better interest rate than going direct. Last year our clients who refinanced saved on average $3,800 a year in interest, a huge saving from finding a better rate in the market.

 

4) They are finance experts 

Mortgage brokers are experts in financing options, with an in depth understanding of the overwhelming array of loan options available. Many loans seem to offer a great deal, but they could have penalties, fees and charges you may not be aware of, or they may not offer the flexibility you require in the future. Mortgage brokers ensure that you find the best loan for your specific requirements, now and into the future.

 

5) They are with you for the loan and beyond 

Unlike constantly changing bank staff, Mortgage Brokers are often with you for the life of your loan and beyond. Mortgage Brokers usually own their own businesses and are committed to their clients for the long term, keeping in touch to make sure your loans are still right for you and that circumstances haven’t changed. How often does the bank call to tell you that interest rates have changed and you can get a better deal? Probably not often! But don’t be surprised if this is something your broker does.

 

There are significant advantages to using a mortgage broker. Whether you have an existing loan which needs a health check to see if it’s still the right fit and the best interest rate, or you are in the market for a first or next home, or it’s time to stretch yourself and get an investment loan – it’s a great idea to get in touch with your mortgage broker.

 

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing clients with lending advice they can trust. Whether it’s re-financing an existing property, buying a new or next home, or investing, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assisting clients with their lending needs. 

For specialist lending advice, you can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.