Guide to Buying Your First Home in Perth
Guide to Buying Your First Home in Perth
If you’re looking to buy a new first home in Perth, you have two basic options: buying a ready-built home or building one.
A ready-built home is a complete, move-in ready home. It has everything already done, including internal painting, floor coverings, landscaping and paving. All you need to do is bring your furniture and move in! A ready-built home is the perfect option if you’re looking to move into your new home as soon as possible.
On the other hand, if you don’t need to move in straight away and you decide to build instead, you can have the excitement of choosing your ideal block of land, designing your new home and watching it come to life during the building process.
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Checklist for a first home buyer in Perth
Buying your first home is a big decision. Whichever new home option you choose, make sure you follow these 3 steps so you can get the home of your dreams and that the process goes smoothly.
- Step 1: Assess your needs
Work out the size and location of the home you need. Consider both your current and future needs. For example, are you planning on starting a family? How close would you like to be to work, friends and family?
- Step 2: Assess your finances
Work out the value of the home you can afford. This will include understanding how much deposit you need and how much you can afford to borrow. We’ll provide more information on new home financing later in this article.
- Step 3: Do your research
Go and visit builder’s open or display homes so you can gauge prices and the quality of their work.
What can I expect at an open home viewing?
When you’re inspecting an open or display home, you should expect:
- the quality of the home to match any sales and marketing claims made by the builder.
- the agent or builder’s representative to be knowledgeable and willing to accurately answer any questions you may have.
- the agent or builder’s representative to provide key information in writing to help you make an informed decision.
New home financing
If you’re an eligible Perth first home buyer, you’ll be able to access the first home owners grant (FHOG, also known as the first home buyers grant). You might also be able to access your super if you take advantage of the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme. The Keystart low-deposit program is also available to first home buyers.
We’ll now look at each of these finance initiatives in turn.
How much is the first home owner/buyer grant?
The FHOG in Western Australia is a one-off payment of $10,000 by the State government. If you qualify, you can use the FHOG for your deposit so you can buy your own home sooner.
It’s important to understand that the FHOG is only available for new homes, not for established homes or for home renovations.
Only one FHOG payment can be made per eligible Western Australian property transaction. In other words, if you’re buying a residential property together with your partner and you are both first home buyers, you only qualify for a single $10,000 FHOG payment.
The FHOG will generally be paid at the contract settlement date if you’re buying a ready-built/turnkey new property, or when your slab is laid if you’re building a new home (for example, via a house and land package).
How do you qualify for the FHOG?
To qualify for the home buyers grant, you’ll need to meet all of the following requirements:
- be aged over 18,
- you (or your partner) must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident,
- you (and your partner) must not have owned Australian residential property before, and
- you must intend to live in your new home for at least 6 months within 12 months of the home’s contract settlement date. In other words, you can’t be buying an investment property to rent out to tenants. If you are, you won’t qualify for the FHOG.
There are no income thresholds for the FHOG, but if you’re buying in the Perth metropolitan area, then the value of your new home must be less than $750,000.
Can I use my super to buy my first home?
Yes, but only if you take advantage of the federal government’s First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme. The FHSS allows eligible first home buyers to make voluntary contributions to their superannuation fund to save for a deposit on their home.
It’s important to understand that these contributions must be additional to any compulsory super contributions made on your behalf by your employer. In other words, you can only withdraw super funds to buy your first home if you have voluntarily contributed funds to your super.
Superannuation is a tax-effective savings environment in Australia because super funds are taxed at the concessional rate of just 15%, which is lower than even the lowest marginal tax rate.
Normally, you can’t access your super until you have reached your preservation age (which is between the ages of 55 and 60, depending on your date of birth) and met a condition of release (such as retiring from the workforce). However, the FHSS allows you to access your super for a deposit on your first home.
How do I apply for the FHSS?
You can apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to have a maximum of $15,000 of your voluntary super contributions in any financial year included in your eligible FHSS contributions to be released. It’s possible to withdraw up to $30,000 worth of your voluntary contributions for a deposit on a home. For example, two years’ worth of the maximum annual $15,000 worth of contributions.
- be at least 18 years of age to be eligible to withdraw super funds under the FHSS.
- intend to live in the first home that you’re buying for at least 6 months in the first 12 months after you acquire it.
- buy an Australian property.
In addition, you must have never previously owned property in Australia, nor have ever requested an FHSS release. Couples, siblings or friends can use their own eligible FHSS contributions to buy the same property.
Can I buy a home with no deposit?
If you don’t have any deposit of your own (or a low deposit), a Keystart loan is a potential option for you.
What is Keystart?
A Keystart home loan is a low deposit, variable interest rate loan that’s available to all first home buyers across Western Australia who intend to be owner-occupiers. Keystart home loans are an initiative of the State Government to help Western Australians who are unable to meet the deposit requirements of mainstream lenders.
Keystart loans only require a deposit of 2%, which is much lower than the 5% or more that’s required by most lenders. Best of all, if you qualify for the First Home Buyers Grant, you can use it for your Keystart home loan deposit.
How we can help
At Now Living, we specialise in providing affordable housing for first home buyers. We’ve helped more than 1,100 first home owners in WA to finance their property purchase over the last four years through The Loan Company, a mortgage broking service. The extensive range of new homes that we build start from just $269,000 and we can help you get started with a deposit of as little as 1,000!