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MAINTAINING A HOME

What you need to know about the HomeBuilder grant program

25 June 2020

For many Australians, the impact of COVID-19 may have derailed plans to build or renovate a home. The HomeBuilder grant program has been introduced to encourage Australians to get their plans back on track. Launched in early June 2020, the HomeBuilder grant program offers eligible owner-occupiers a $25,000 grant to build or substantially renovate their home.

How the HomeBuilder grant program works

What it can be used for

The HomeBuilder grant program can be used for both new home builds and substantial renovations. So, if you’ve bought some land to build on, you could consider applying if the combined home and land will be valued at $750,000 or less (provided that you meet certain eligibility criteria).

If you’re a first home owner, you could also be eligible for the usual State or Territory schemes too, like stamp duty concessions and first home owner grants.

If you’re already a home owner, you could consider applying for the grant to partially fund substantial renovations if they cost between $150,000, and $750,000. The combined house and land value cannot be more than $1.5 million before the renovation. The renovation also has to improve the accessibility, liveability and/or the safety of your property — meaning no tennis courts, pools or sheds can be built using the grant.

Who can use it

The HomeBuilder grant program is designed for owner-occupiers only, meaning you must live in the home to be eligible. This means it can’t be used for investment properties or holiday homes. Applicants must also be:

  • 18 years old or older;
  • an Australian citizen; and
  • an individual, not a company or a trust.

Income limits apply too, based on your 2018/2019 tax return or later:

  • Singles must be earning $125,000 per annum or less; and
  • Couples must have a combined income of $200,000 per annum or less.

How long does it run for

Contracts for builds and renovations must be entered into between 4 June and 31 December 2020, and construction or renovation must start within three months of the contract date.

How to apply for the HomeBuilder grant program

You’ll be able to apply for the grant through your relevant State or Territory revenue office or equivalent authority, once your State or Territory government signs the National Partnership Agreement. You can contact your State or Territory revenue office for more information about when and how you will be able to apply for HomeBuilder.

Your State or Territory revenue office will require certain documentation to process your application. At a minimum, you’ll likely need to provide:

  • proof of identity;
  • copy of the renovation or building contract, signed by you and your registered or licensed builder;
  • a copy of the builder’s registration or licence;
  • a copy of your 2018-19 tax return (or later) to prove your income against the income cap; and
  • documents like council approvals, building contracts, occupation certificates and evidence of land value.

More information on what you’ll need to provide will become available through your relevant State or Territory authority. In the meantime, head to the Australian Treasury website for a high level overview.

Meet some potential candidates for the HomeBuilder grant program

Rufus, a first home buyer

In July 2020, Rufus purchased a house and land package in Brisbane’s outer suburbs, with construction due to commence in September 2020. The package is valued at $540,000 and he earns $90,000 a year as a software developer. The revenue office checks Rufus’ eligibility and documentation and confirms that he is an Australian citizen, over the age of 18, has a taxable income of under $125,000 per annum based on his 2018-19 tax return. The value of the contract is under the $750,000 contract price cap. Rufus is likely to be eligible for the HomeBuilder stimulus package. As Rufus is a first-home owner, he may also be eligible for the Queensland First Home Owner Grant and stamp duty concessions.

Jack and Anna, home owners taking on renovations

Jack and Anna have been dreaming about doing a big renovation to their New South Wales family home. They enter into a renovation contract with a licensed builder worth $175,000 in September 2020, and their property is valued at $1 million pre-renovations. They also have a combined income of $180,000 per annum. The revenue office checks Jack and Anna’s eligibility and documentation and confirms they are Australian citizens, over the age of 18, have a taxable income of under $200,000 per annum based on their 2018-19 tax returns. The value of the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000 and the value of the existing property does not exceed $1.5 million. This means they may to be eligible for the HomeBuilder grant.

Finding the right loan to help fund your renovation or home build

While the HomeBuilder grant program could give you the extra push you’ve been waiting for to build your first home or take on a renovation, you may still need a little more help. That’s where Suncorp Bank can come in. With flexible loan options for people wanting to build or renovate, Suncorp Bank has a range of home and personal loans that could help with your new build or renovation journey.

Explore Suncorp Bank Home and Personal Loans

What renovations could mean for your insurance

Before you start renovating or building, it’s important to get in touch with your insurer. If you’re a Suncorp Insurance customer, the Suncorp Insurance team can go through any cover restrictions and exclusions that may apply while your home is undergoing renovations.

After the renovation, you should then update your Home and Contents sum insured – the most you can claim for any one incident. It’s your responsibility to ensure the sum insured reflects the amount it would cost to rebuild your home and replace its contents. That way, you could save yourself the financial heartache of being underinsured. If you’re looking to update your sum insured, our Buildings Calculator can be a great place to start.

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The information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries

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Escape of liquid

This covers the sudden liquid leaking, overflowing or bursting from things like your fridge, washing machine, bath, toilet, fixed pipes (except agricultural pipes), gutters, swimming pool, water main, fixed cooling system or an aquarium.

We don’t cover damage caused by wear and tear or the gradual leaking of liquid when you’d be reasonably expected to be aware of the condition.

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