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Balfour Homes - 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About the HomeBuilder Grant

5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About the HomeBuilder Grant

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the HomeBuilder scheme on 4 June this year, which grants $25,000 to Australians who are looking to build a home or tackle significant renovations. The scheme, with its strict eligibility criteria, has faced a lot of backlash due to the lack of clarity on several details. However, all states and territories have become signatories to the HomeBuilder National Partnership, which means all Australians in the country can benefit from it.

Even as the federal and state governments continue to discuss the details, aspiring applicants have many questions and clarifications about the grant. In this article, we’ll be answering some of the most commonly asked questions about the HomeBuilder Grant.


Can Australians Use the HomeBuilder Grant As A Deposit?

This is one of the country’s biggest questions. It’s gotten so big that even the most prominent banks in Australia weren’t able to give a concrete answer as they didn’t receive enough details from the federal government.

Although they have no uniform response on the matter, ABC News said that banks shared a “unanimous sentiment” that “they were not keen to allow people with next-to-no personal savings to use the government cash towards a deposit.”

According to the news outlet, NAB clients are allowed to use the grant as a deposit, although the total deposit required remains unchanged. Meanwhile, ANZ clients can use the funding as part of equity funnelled towards building costs, but only if the loan is not subject to Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).


Is It Possible to Access the HomeBuilder Grant with Other State Grants?

First-time homebuyers can access this grant when building their homes, although they must use the funding only for construction. They cannot use it to purchase the property. However, this cash grant is on top of existing state and territory First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) programs and other grant schemes, like the First Home Super Saver Scheme. It is also on top of stamp duty concessions.


What Does the HomeBuilder Grant Cover?

The scheme requires a renovation contract that must cost between $150,000 and 750,000, and it should be on properties that aren’t worth more than $1.5 million. The renovations must also “substantially alter the existing dwelling.” The upgrades, however, do not need to involve the removal or replacement of foundations, external walls, interior supporting walls, floors, roofs, or staircases to be considered substantial.

The renovations must improve the safety, liveability, and accessibility of the property to be considered substantial. Upgrades or additions like swimming pools, outdoor spas, detached sheds, or landscaping do not qualify as a significant renovation since it does not contribute to the liveability or safety of a home.


Can Non-First Time Homebuyers Qualify for the Grant?

As long as they meet the eligibility requirements, non-first home buyers can qualify for the grant. However, they can receive the grant only once.


What If My Income Changes and Surpasses the Cap?

The grant scheme applies to an income cap of $125,000 or less annually for singles and $200,000 a year for couples. This is based on the 2018/2019 tax return or later. Your income will be confirmed using your most recent tax return, so you won’t have to worry about income changes.

However, if your circumstances change after your application for the grant is approved, you must notify your state or territory revenue office right away.


Have other questions?

The HomeBuilder Grant has provided Australians with an affordable way to construct their homes or pay for renovations that improve their homes’ liveability. Although there are many other details that the federal and state governments must settle on, we hope that this article has answered your questions about the HomeBuilder Grant.

Hoping to build your dream house? Let us know at Balfour Homes! We aim to provide a multifaceted home purchasing experience by helping you find the right mortgage and the perfect piece of land to create your ideal home. We compare builders, designers, and land so that you don’t have to. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!