Being new residents to Australia we applied for the first time buyers grant as part of our mortgage application.

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme was introduced on 1 July 2000 to offset the effect of the GST on home ownership. It is a national scheme funded by the states and territories and administered under their own legislation.

Under the scheme, a one-off grant of up to $7000 is payable to first home owners that satisfy all the eligibility criteria. Although it’s not a massive amount and certainly won’t help you buy the house of your dreams ever little bit helps right?

The First Home Owner Grant form was issued by our bank as part of the mass of documents that needed to be completed as part of our Mortgage application.

Being honest it’s a bit of a pig to fill in. The questions aren’t to hard, but you need to provide a number of documents with the form which you need to get certified.

Thankfully, here in Western Australia, Pharmacists can certify documents so finding a local chemist with a pharmacist shouldn’t prove to difficult. Many Pharmacists (including the one we used) don’t charge to certify documents although some may request a ‘donation’ to one of the local charities. Also, having got to Australia in the first place you should all be experts in the form filling and certification process.

Ok, onto the form itself. The first home owner grant application form has 8 sections. These sections must be completed as follows:

Section 1 – Eligibility Criteria

Section 1 has 7 questions. Answer Questions 1 to 7 by ticking the relevant Yes or No box. The answers are designed to establish that you meet the eligibility criteria.

All persons with a relevant interest in the property, and any spouse/de facto partner of these persons, must be considered when answering these questions.

Remember, even though you may have owned a home in another country this is still the first home you are buying in Australia so you will still qualify for the first time buyers grant

Section 2 – Applicant DetailsWithin this section you detail the number of persons with a relevant interest. All the people who have, or will have, a relevant interest in the property must record their details in this section.

If there are more than two applicants you’ll need to complete an additional application form and attach it to the main one.

If an applicant has a spouse/de facto partner, there are two options. If your spouse/de facto partner is an applicant, they must be recorded within this section. If your spouse/de facto partner is not an applicant (don;t have an interest in the property) then they are required to complete the details in section 3 of the application form.

You’re also requested to provide your current postal address for correspondence to be sent on behalf of all applicants within this section.

Section 3 – Spouse/de facto partner Details

We didn’t complete this section and for most couples you’ll probably be able to skip this section to.

However, this section must be completed by the applicant in relation to the spouse/de facto partner of the applicant who has not already been specified as an applicant.

In English this means if you have someone your going to be living with in the property who is you’re partner but they don’t have a financial interest in the property then you need to provide their details in this section. The person who your providing the details of in this section will also need to complete the declaration in section 7.

Section 4 – Property and Transaction Details

Within section 4 you need to provide the current title (Volume and Folio numbers) details of the property.

Like us you may be thinking what!? But don’t panic just yet. The title number can be obtained from either the Contract for Sale and Purchase, the Transfer of Land document, or a title search. All of these will be requested and forwarded onto you by the conveyancer you are using to buy the house so if you get stuck speak to them.

You also need to provide the expected date of occupancy as owner of the home. Estimate this date if you are unsure.

This is quite important as to be eligible for the grant an applicant must move into the home and maintain it as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least 6 months, commencing within 12 months of completion of the eligible transaction.

If you’re buying the property as an investment and plan to rent the house out without living in it then I’d stop reading now as you won’t be able to use the first home owners grant as a contribution towards the purchase price.

Section 5 – Payment Details

You only need to complete this section if applying through the OSR (Office of State Revenue). If your applying via a bank or an approved Estate Agent then they will record all the payment details for you

You must nominate an account to receive funds electronically. The account can belong to a person who is not an applicant. Provide details of the name of financial institution, account name, BSB (sort code), and account number. Make sure you get this section right as stuffing this up will cause delays in getting the grant.

Section 6 – Declaration by Applicant

Within this section you sign your life away. OK, not really but you must sign the declaration stated that you have read and understood all the details completed on the application form.

Section 7 – Declaration by Spouse/de facto partner

If your spouse/de facto partner is not an applicant, they must sign the declaration in this section. Basically it’s just a place for them to confirm that they have read and understood all the details which relate to them on the application form.

Section 8 – Supporting Documentation Checklist

This is the section where you need to provide a number of certified documents.

We provided our passports, copies of our Medicare cards, bank statements and a copy of our marriage certificates.

Make sure you get this section right as your application will be delayed if you stuff up here.

How long does it take to receive the first home owners grant?.

Thankfully not long at all. From submitting our form the $7000 was available two weeks later. We never saw the money, it was just taken off our final bill for the house on settlement day

Useful links (open in a new window)

First Home owners official website : http://www.firsthome.gov.au/

Office of state revenue first home owners grant section : http://www.dtf.wa.gov.au/