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HomeBuilder Grant

POSTED 1/10/2020


HomeBuilder is a $25,000 grant available to eligible owner-occupiers (including First Home Buyers) who build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off the plan new home.

You may be eligible for the HomeBuilder grant if you meet the following criteria:

Each applicant must be
  • a natural person (not a company or trust)
  • aged 18 years or older at the date of the contract and 
  • an Australian citizen 
  • Applicant(s) must be below one of the following two income caps:
    $125,000 pa for an individual on either your 2018-19 or 2019-20 taxable income,
    or $200,000 pa for a couple on either your combined 2018-19 or 2019-20 taxable income.
  • If more than one person is listed on the property title, you must jointly apply for HomeBuilder as a couple (if you meet the definition of a couple). 
The property
  • The property must be owner–occupied (not rented or vacant)
  • New builds must not cost more than $750,000 (house and land combined).
Timing
  • The contract must be signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020.
  • Construction must start after 4 June 2020 and within 3 months after the contract is signed.
  • You must be registered on the title before 31 October 2022. 
  • Where commencement is delayed due to unforeseen factors outside the control of the parties to the contract, a maximum extension of an additional 3 months may be provided
How do I apply for HomeBuilder?

You can lodge an application online with Revenue NSW once you have signed an eligible contract for off the plan or new home purchases. You will usually need to lodge additional documentation via the online portal after commencement of your building works and once payment requirements have been met.


When will I receive the HomeBuilder grant?


For new builds, the grant will be paid after the foundations have been laid and the first progress payment has been made to your builder.

For off-the-plan or new home purchases, the grant will be paid after your name is registered on the title.


For further information about the HomeBuilder scheme, please contact Revenue NSW.
Website: https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/grants-schemes/homebuilder


Application and Guide: https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/grants-schemes/homebuilder/HomeBuilder-Grant-Application-and-Guide.pdf



How a deposit bond can help first home buyers
1/10/2020

Getting into the property market can be frustrating. Once you’ve found a property you love and can afford, you’re faced with an even bigger challenge: How do you get access to the 10% deposit?

The good news is there’s a solution that is increasingly popular amongst first home buyers who simply don’t have enough cash sitting in the bank for the deposit: Deposit bonds.

What is a deposit bond?

Think of a deposit bond as an IOU for the deposit amount you need to secure your property. You use the deposit bond in place of the cash deposit required between signing the contract of sale and settlement.

Just like a cash deposit, a deposit bond guarantees your commitment to an unconditional contract of sale. Then, at settlement, you pay the full purchase price, including the deposit amount and other costs (stamp duty, etc).

Deposit bond advantages for first home buyers

1.    Deposit bonds are often cheaper than borrowing

The cost of a deposit bond is often cheaper than the cost of borrowing funds to pay the deposit. For example, if you are settling under six months and hold a finance approval that is unconditional, the one-off deposit bond fee is usually 1.3% of the deposit bond amount. So, for a $50,000 deposit bond, you pay a $650 fee.  

To get an instant quote for your deposit bond please click here.

2.   Deposit bonds are a flexible option when using a family guarantor

Maybe you’ve asked mum and dad to leverage the equity in their home so you can get a family guarantee loan. The next hurdle is how do you come up with the cash deposit or supplement the savings you have worked hard to achieve? A deposit bond is the convenient option because you don’t have to provide the cash until settlement, when your finance comes through.  

3.   Deposit bonds are quick and easy

Buying a house can be a stressful process. Applying for a deposit bond is the complete opposite! In most cases, all you need to do is sign a simple application form and provide the finance approval letter. Typically, the deposit bond can be issued within a business hour.

4.   Deposit bonds can be used for auctions

Auction bonds are a special type of deposit bond used to buy property at auction. Think of it as a blank cheque. If you have the winning bid, you simply write in the amount of the deposit and hand it over to secure your purchase. The best part is, if you aren’t successful at the first auction, you can use the auction bond for the next and the next, until you are successful.

RECAP

Flexible, low cost, easy to arrange… it’s no wonder more first home buyers are turning to deposit bonds to secure their property purchase. 

Here are three facts you need to remember about deposit bonds:

A deposit bond is not a loan, so there’s no interest.
 
A deposit bond guarantees your commitment to an unconditional contract of sale.
      
A deposit bond is ideal if you don’t have access to the 10% cash deposit immediately but know that you will by settlement time.

Thinking about using a deposit bond for your first home purchase? Talk to our team on 02 4957 3655


9 Most Common Questions About Deposit Bonds Answered

 

So, you’re thinking about getting a deposit bond? 

Whether you’re a first home buyer, seasoned property investor, downsizing or buying off the plan, chances are you have a few questions. 

Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers you need.Here are the 10 most common deposit bond questions answered:


#1. When do I pay back the deposit?

You actually never “pay back the deposit” unless there is a claim. 

The role of a deposit bond is to “guarantee” you for the deposit amount right up until you get the funds at settlement. 

In other words, a deposit bond tells the vendor that you’re good for the money. Then, at settlement, you pay the full purchase price plus the deposit and any additional costs, like stamp duty. 

The only money that is exchanging hands is the deposit bond fee, which you pay to the provider up-front.


#2. How much does a deposit bond cost?

It depends on the deposit bond amount and the required length of time. Talk to our team for a quote.


#3. Do I pay interest?

No – you only pay the one-off fee just before your deposit bond is released. That’s the brilliant thing about a deposit bond. 

To get an instant quote for your deposit bond please click here


#4. I am buying off the plan – how long does the deposit bond need to be made out for?

In most cases, buying off the plan means the deposit bond needs to be issued up to the “sunset clause” date. The sunset clause date is a provision in off-the-plan contracts that allows either the vendor or the purchaser to rescind the contract if the title to the property has not been created by a specific date.

Find the sunset clause date in your contract of sale or ask our team to help. 

While you’re there, look out for a separate clause in your contract relating to deposit bonds – some vendors may request to add additional time on a deposit bond. If you can prove that settlement occurred earlier than 6 months from the expiry date of the deposit bond, a pro-rata refund can be obtained. The maximum refund applicable is 18 months. Terms and Conditions do apply – refer to your deposit bond application or bond provider’s website, or ask our team for help.


#5. Do I need to seek approval from the vendor to use a deposit bond to secure my purchase?

Definitely. Always check with the real estate agent or directly with the vendor to make sure they will accept a deposit bond instead of a cash deposit.


#6. How quickly can a deposit bond be issued?

Much faster than you think. Within 15 minutes, we can help you get pre-approval. Within one business hour, we can have your application form ready for e-signing. And, once you return your signed application with the bond fee payment, your deposit bond can be ready in less than one business hour!


#7. Am I eligible for a deposit bond?

Each scenario is different, but you are typically eligible if:

You hold formal finance approval

OR You have at least got conditional finance approval that is subject to valuation only

OR You are selling a property and funds from the sale are enough to purchase your new property outright.


If none of these apply, or when a property settles over six months, your deposit bond provider will need to conduct an asset, income and liability assessment. To be eligible, you or your guarantor will need to own a property with some equity.

The best way to check if you are eligible is to talk to our team.


#8. I am a first home buyer; can I get a deposit bond? 

If you already have formal approval for your finance through a family guarantor loan, and your property settles within six months, you can typically obtain a deposit bond. The good news is there’s no need for your guarantor to also sign your deposit bond.

If settlement is more than six months or you don’t have finance approval, your guarantor will need to apply with you for your deposit bond. Your or your guarantor will need to have a property with the equity to release a deposit bond. This is to ensure the guarantor can pay back the deposit bond amount in the unlikely event of a claim on your bond.


#9. How do I obtain a deposit bond?

Obtaining a deposit bond is easy. Simply talk to our team. We will work with the deposit bond provider on your behalf, so you don’t need to add another thing to your list.

The supporting documents you need will depend on your application type, so we’ll tell you exactly what you need to provide. Then, when the application is ready, we’ll send it to you for electronic signing. It’s as easy as that!


Have you got some questions we haven’t answered here? Talk to our team at Conveyancing Services.


Property Grants available in 2018


FIRST HOME BUYERS ASSISTANCE SCHEME


The First Home Buyers Assistance scheme is a NSW Government initiative which provides exemptions or concessions on Stamp Duty for eligible NSW first home buyers. This includes vacant land on which you intend to build your first home.


First home buyers can apply to receive:

- Exemptions from stamp duty on new and existing homes up to $650,000

- Concessions on Stamp Duty for new and existing homes between $650,000 and $800,000

- Eligible purchasers buying a vacant block of residential land to build their home on will pay no Stamp Duty on vacant land valued up to $350,000, and will receive concessions on duty for vacant land valued between $350,000 and $450,000.


To qualify for First Home Buyers Assistance, you must meet the criteria listed below:

- The contract and the transfer must be for the purchase of the whole of the property.

- All purchasers must be ‘eligible purchasers’.  An ‘eligible purchaser’ is a natural person (i.e. not a company or trust) at least 18 years of age who has not, and whose spouse/defacto has not at any time owned (either solely or with someone else) residential property in Australia other than property owned solely as trustee or executor previously received an exemption or concession under First Home—New Home.

- At least 1 eligible purchaser must occupy the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of 6 months, commencing within 12 months of completion of the agreement. (Where an eligible purchaser was a member of the permanent forces of the Australian Defence Force and all purchasers were enrolled on the NSW electoral roll, as at the transaction date, then all purchasers are exempt from the residence requirement).


First Home Owners Grant (New Homes)

- First home buyers building a new property may be entitled to a $10,000 grant on homes worth up to $750,000.

- First home buyers purchasing a brand new property worth up to $600,000 may be entitled to a $10,000 grant.


The criteria to be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant are:

- at least one buyer must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

- the agreement must be for the purchase of the whole property

- you must be a natural person (not a company or trust)

- you must be over 18

- the home is a brand new home

- you or your partner have not previously owned property in any form in Australia

- at least one purchaser must occupy the home within 12 months and needs to live in the home for a continuous period of at least 6 months

- you have not previously received a First Home Owners Grant in any State or Territory. 


If you would like to know more about these benefits, please contact Revenue NSW or our office.


IAN MARLER RECOGNISED BY AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF CONVEYANCERS NATIONAL AND STATE DIVISIONS


Ian Marler has been inducted as a Fellow into the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC) and has also been awarded a Life Membership into the NSW Branch of the Institute for his tireless efforts and expertise in the Conveyancing industry.


Adamstown, NSW, March 8, 2018

– Conveyancing Services is proud to announce that one of our founders, Mr Ian Marler, has been awarded both a Fellowship with the National Division of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers and a Life Membership with the NSW Division.  Ian started one of the first conveyancing firms in the Hunter region, Conveyancing Services, in Denison Street in 1986 and later moved to Adamstown and expanded to Maitland.  Ian was instrumental in having conveyancing recognized as a stand alone profession outside of solicitors and has long been well regarded in the industry.  Ian is one of only five people to receive a Fellowship with the AIC and the only one from Newcastle.


Natalie Mason, who began working with Conveyancing Services in 2001 and is now a Co-Owner of the business, says “Ian is an amazing Conveyancer who is extremely generous with his knowledge and his time and we are incredibly grateful for his contribution to conveyancing.”


Ian is a very well respected gentleman in Newcastle and many industries and has vast knowledge which is he always willing and available to share with anyone seeking to further their own interest in conveyancing.  Ian is a Founding Member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancing, NSW Division, a Registered Surveyor and continues to be an asset to the local community with his services as a Justice of the Peace.


Kat Bell, who started at Conveyancing Services in 2010 and commenced studying for her conveyancing licence in 2011 says “Ian is a wonderful person who was part of the reason that I decided to aim for my conveyancing licence.  He was always available for any questions I had and continues to be an inspiration in my career and a great friend.” 


IMG_5579


Triple Trophy Win for Conveyancing Services


Conveyancing Services have won three top awards in the last two months, one for each business partner and one for the company itself. 


Natalie Mason was awarded ‘Business Woman of the Year’ at the Hunter Region Business Hub Awards in September, and Conveyancing Services were the winners of the ‘Professional Services Award’. 


Tony Morris then won the ‘President’s Award for best practice and professionalism’ at the Australian Institute of Conveyancers - NSW Division annual awards night in Sydney at the start of October. 


Tony has long been held in high regard within the Conveyancing profession and his win was acknowledgement of his exemplary career. “We’re so excited to win these awards and so honored that all our hard work has been recognised. We are really proud of our staff for their dedication and want to thank all of our wonderful clients” says co-owner Natalie Mason. Natalie and Tony are co-owners of Conveyancing Services. Both business partners worked at the company before purchasing the business five years ago. They are both proud and humbled of how far Conveyancing Services has come. Tony Morris has been part of Conveyancing Services since it opened in 1986. He has dedicated his professional life to making the complex issues involved in buying and selling property as simple and stress-free as possible for his clientele. Natalie Mason has been part of the business for the last 17 years. She started in the office and obtained her conveyancing licence 10 years ago. She says one of the most satisfying aspects of the job is helping first home buyers to secure their first property. Tony and Natalie are also committed to giving back to their community. To celebrate a milestone birthday for the business last year they decided to do 30 acts of kindness, incorporating staff and the local community. Conveyancing Services are also proud sponsors of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Both Natalie and Tony are Licensed Conveyancers, Certified Practising Conveyancers and Justices of the Peace. 


Conveyancing Services is a Hunter based company with offices in Adamstown and Maitland. They celebrated 30 years of business last year and offer Conveyancing, the process of transferring legal property title from one party to another, throughout New South Wales. www.conveyancing-services.com.au


staff and bec awards


New First Home Buyer Benefits - The First Home Super Saver Scheme


It was announced in the 2017/18 Federal Budget that eligible first home purchasers will be able to use the advantages of super to save for their home deposit.


The First Home Super Saver Scheme

The Government is allowing first home buyers to make voluntary contributions into super in order to save for a home.First Home Buyers will be allowed to contribute up to $15,000 per financial year and $30,000 (over two years) in total from 1 July 2017.


From 1 July 2018 First Home Buyers will be able to apply to withdraw any voluntary contributions that they have made to their super for a deposit on their first home. The maximum amount that can be released from super is $30,000.00 of personal contributions, plus an associated deemed earnings amount.


There are many benefits, one of which is that by making these contributions by salary sacrifice, it may allow people to generate savings using super’s concessional tax rates.


Any withdrawals from a super fund will be subject to approval from the Australian Tax Office and will be taxed at the relevant marginal tax rate, less a 30% tax offset.


Time to get saving for your first home!


Speak to your Super Fund or read more here: https://www.ato.gov.au/General/New-legislation/In-detail/Super/First-home-super-saving-scheme/


New Swimming Pool Requirements


If you are selling a property with a Swimming Pool or Spa, you must now attach to your Contract for Sale one of the following documents which is less than 3 years old:

- Certificate of Compliance

- Relevant Occupation Certificate together with evidence that the pool is registered

- Certificate of non-compliance


If you do not attach the correct documentation to your Contract for Sale then the buyer may rescind the Contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has already occurred.


The 29th of April 2016 was the deadline to comply with the additional requirement.


If a Certificate of non-compliance is attached to the Contract, this transfers to the buyer the sellers obligation to obtain a Certificate of Compliance. The buyer has 90 days from the date of settlement to rectify defects listed in the Certificate and obtain a Certificate of Compliance.


If you own a property with a Swimming Pool or Spa you should contact your local council to arrange a compliance inspection, or find a private swimming pool certifier listed on the NSW Swimming Pool Register website. http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/


Property Grants available in 2016

If you are wanting to buy a new home in 2016, then there may be some property grants that could help you achieve this dream! The year has started with new legislation on how real estate agents can market properties, which is designed to make it easier for you to understand the expected sale price of homes, and interest rates have remained steady at very low rates.


There are currently three grants available in 2016 which you may be eligible for, to help you on your way to buying your first new home, or a brand new investment property.


First Home Buyers who buy a brand new home, or a vacant block of land to build your first home, can apply for free stamp duty, and a $10,000 Grant.


If you are buying a brand new home, or a vacant block of land on which a new home will be built, there is a $5000 New Home Grant – this is available regardless of whether you are buying another home, upgrading, downsizing or buying an investment property.


First Home – New Home scheme
Exemption or Concession from Stamp Duty

- First Home Buyers purchasing a brand new home under $550,000 can apply for an exemption from Stamp Duty, or if the purchase price is between $550,000 and $650,000 you can apply for a discount on your Stamp Duty.

- If you are buying a vacant block of residential land to build your first home for under $350,000 you can apply for an exemption from Stamp Duty, or if the purchase price is between $350,000 and $450,000 you can apply for a discount on your Stamp Duty.


First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) scheme

$10,000 Grant

First Home Buyers purchasing a brand new home, or vacant block of residential land to build your first home for under $750,000 can apply for the $10,000 First Home Owner Grant (New Homes).


To be eligible for the “First Home - New Home Scheme”, or “First Home Owner Grant” above:

- at least one buyer must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

- the agreement must be for the purchase of the whole property

- you must be a natural person (not a company or trust)

- you must be over 18 years old

- the home is a brand new home

- you or your partner have not previously owned property in any form in Australia

- at least one purchaser must occupy the home within 12 months and needs to live in the home for a continuous period of at least 6 months.


New Home Grant scheme

$5,000 Grant

If you are purchasing a brand new home (including “off the plan”), or vacant land on which a new home will be built then you can apply for the $5,000 New Home Grant. The Grant is paid by reducing your Stamp Duty costs, and if there is any money left over, then this would be paid to you by cheque.

You can apply for the Grant more than once, but it is limited to once per financial year. You can be a natural person, a company or trustee of a trust, and the grant is available to investors as well as owner occupiers.


To be eligible for the New Home Grant:

- Applications must be made within 3 months of the date of exchange of Contracts.

- The value of the new home must not exceed $650,000 and the value of vacant land must not exceed $450,000.

- For vacant land, construction of the home (by way of laying foundations), must commence within 26 weeks after settlement of the purchase. However, there is no limit on the time of construction.

- You must be an Australian citizen, Australian resident or an Australian-owned body.


The above information has been simplified to make it easier to understand. There are however, firm requirements that must be met to be eligible for each benefit so if you would like to know more please contact the Office of State Revenue http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/contact or I would love to hear from you. 

Helpful Link http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/grants


Property Grants available in 2015


2015 is off to a strong start in the property market!

Sales are up and interest rates are at a 60 year low. It may be the perfect time for you to start your property portfolio and buy an investment property, or even build your first home.


There are a number of grants that are available in 2015 which you may be eligible for to help you on your way. If you are a First Home Buyer looking to buy a brand new home, or a vacant block of land to build your first home, you can apply for free stamp duty, and a $15,000 Grant. Whether you are upgrading, downsizing or an investor, for people buying a brand new home, or a vacant block of land on which a new home will be built, there is a $5000 New Home Grant available.


First Home – New Home scheme - Exemption or Concession from Stamp Duty
First Home Buyers purchasing a brand new home under $550,000 can apply for an exemption from Stamp Duty, or if the purchase price is between $550,000 and $650,000 you can apply for a discount on your Stamp Duty.

If you are buying a vacant block of residential land to build your first home for under $350,000 you can apply for an exemption from Stamp Duty, or if the purchase price is between $350,000 and $450,000 you can apply for a discount on your Stamp Duty.


First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) scheme - $15,000 Grant
First Home Buyers purchasing a brand new home, or vacant block of residential land to build your first home for under $750,000 can apply for the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (New Homes). This will reduce to $10,000 on 1 January 2016.


To be eligible for the “First Home - New Home Scheme”, or “First Home Owner Grant” above:

- at least one buyer must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

- the agreement must be for the purchase of the whole property

- you must be a natural person (not a company or trust)you must be over 18

- the home is a brand new home

- you or your partner have not previously owned property in any form in Australia

- at least one purchaser must occupy the home within 12 months and needs to live in the home for a continuous period of at least 6 months.


New Home Grant scheme - $5,000 Grant
If you are purchasing a brand new home (including “off the plan”), or vacant land on which a new home will be built then you can apply for the $5,000 New Home Grant. The Grant is paid by reducing your Stamp Duty costs, and if there is any money left over, then this would be paid to you by cheque.


You can apply for the Grant more than once, but it is limited to once per financial year. You can be a natural person, a company or trustee of a trust, and the grant is available to investors as well as owner occupiers. 


To be eligible for the New Home Grant:

- Applications must be made within 3 months of the date of exchange of Contracts.

- The value of the new home must not exceed $650,000 and the value of vacant land must not exceed $450,000.

- For vacant land, construction of the home (by way of laying foundations), must commence within 26 weeks after settlement of the purchase. However, there is no limit on the time of construction.

- You must be an Australian citizen, Australian resident or an Australian-owned body.


The above information has been simplified to make it easier to understand. There are however, firm requirements that must be met to be eligible for each benefit so if you would like to know more please contact the Office of State Revenue or I would love to hear from you.


Helpful Link
http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/grants



First Home Saver Accounts Abolished


First Home Owner Saver Accounts have been abolished by the Federal Government in the new budget handed down this week.



Federal Treasurer Mr Joe Hockey MP has said that the scheme “had limited effectiveness in improving housing affordability due to the low take up of the accounts...”


The announcement is effective immediately and any new accounts opened after 13 May 2014 will not be eligible for the Federal Government co-contribution, or any tax or social security concessions.


This is expected to result in savings of around $125 M over the next four years.


No other benefits for First Home Buyers were announced in the budget.



Swimming Pool and Spa and Spa Pool Changes in Legislation

strykpool

Recently the Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 introduced changes to increase swimming pool safety and save children’s lives, but they do put a responsibility on all property owners with swimming pools.


These days the definition of Swimming Pool might mean more than you think. It includes in-ground, above-ground, portable and spa pools that can be filled to a depth of 30 cm or more.


This legislation means that if you sell a property with a swimming pool you must put a Certificate of Compliance into your contract for sale. This was initially scheduled to begin at the end of this month on 29 April 2014, however this requirement has now been pushed back a full 12 months to 29 April 2015.


The reason for this extra time is because councils inspectors have advised that there has been a high fail rate of swimming pools. The owners then need to undertake work to the pool or surrounding area, and have sufficient funds to pay for the work, and then have council re-inspect the pool. This can cause delays in the issue of a compliance certificate of up to 3 months.


This means that if you wanted to sell your property and experienced troubles in receiving your swimming pool compliance certificate, then you may have to wait ¼ of a year to even be able to market your property to look for a buyer. This has been found to be an unacceptably long time, and so the requirement to have a compliance certificate in your contract for sale has been delayed for 12 months, to enable people more time to have their pools inspected and carry out any repairs that may be necessary.


At the moment this means that if you plan to put your property on the market you are not required to get this certificate or carry out any work, you may still sell the property “as is” and leave the responsibility for the new owner to ensure that the swimming pool complies. However the Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulations 2010 require that the following statement must be included in all Contracts “An owner of a property on which a swimming pool is situated must ensure that the pool complies with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992…”


For this reason, if you are planning to sell your property, it is certainly a good idea to obtain a Swimming Pool Certificate of Compliance. It will guarantee that you have satisfied the above warning, it will avoid any possible headaches of needing to get one in a hurry if it takes longer to sell your property than expected and you cross the deadline, and it also helps ensure that all swimming pools in NSW comply with safety guidelines to keep our children safe from drowning.


If you are purchasing a property with a pool this year, you should give consideration to requesting a Certificate of Compliance from the owner, even perhaps if you offer to pay for it yourself. This way you will know that the pool is compliant prior to becoming the owner, and possibly save yourself a lot of cost for example if the fence does not comply.


Council will be carrying out a compulsory inspection program, whereby they will inspect every property with a Swimming Pool over approximately the next three years. The owner will receive a letter from Council advising when they will be inspecting that street, you are required to pay the inspection fee of $150 and will then be issued with a Certificate of Compliance. If you sell your property within 3 years from the date of this Certificate you will not be obliged to obtain a new certificate.


A Certificate of Compliance can be ordered through your local council at a cost of $150.00. We are advised that they take approximately 10 working days to issue the certificate, subject to how quickly council can make a mutually convenient time with you to inspect the pool, and whether there are any issues which are raised at the inspection which need to be attended to before council can issue the certificate. The certificate may be valid for 3 years, subject to any changes in legislation during that time. Certificates can also be ordered through some private certifiers.


Should you have questions about your Swimming Pool, please let me know, or speak with your local council.


Many thanks to Lake Macquarie City Council for their assistance with my research, however they are not associated with this blog.


http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/


What is a CPC Certified Practising Conveyancer?


CPC


Over the last few years, you may have noticed the phrase Certified Practising Conveyancer starting to be used, or perhaps noticed a new CPC logo on your local conveyancers’ door. I am often asked “Licensed Conveyancer”, “Certified Practising Conveyancer” - what’s the difference?


Well all Certified Practising Conveyancers are Licensed Conveyancers, but not necessarily vice versa.


A Certified Practicing Conveyancer, shortened to CPC, is a Licensed Conveyancer who has met a higher standard of professionalism, education and experience.


The standards in NSW are set by our institution the Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW Division.


If you are speaking with a CPC that person has held a Conveyancing Licence for a minimum of 3 years, is properly insured and conducts themselves in accordance with a strict Code of Conduct.


CPC's must also obtain 8 education points each year, whereas a Licensed Conveyancer is only required to obtain 5 education points.The requirements to be a CPC must be met every year to be able to keep the CPC status.


The purpose behind the CPC name is to make it easy for you to distinguish which conveyancers have the most experience and have chosen to make the additional effort to have the most up to date knowledge with developments and technology in order to deliver the best service to you.


http://www.aicnsw.com.au/cpc-program/


First Home Saver Accounts


If you are saving up to buy your first home, a First Home Saver Account might be just the thing you need to give your savings a boost to help you reach your dream of owning your own home faster!



A First Home Saver Account is a special account where the government will increase your savings by adding 17% of your contributions for the financial year, up to a capped amount. For the 2013-14 year this cap is $6,000 making the maximum amount that the government will contribute as $1,020.


There are lots of great benefits of these accounts.


Free money contributed by the government.


Make as many or as little deposits as you like each year, up to a maximum amount that the account balance can reach. This cap is $90,000 for 2013-14.


The money added by the government is paid in a lump sum once a year, usually around December.


You do not need to close the account when you reach the cap, however you can't make further deposits and so the government contributions cease.


Other people such as mum and dad can also make deposits in your account


Earn interest on all the money in your account – that’s the money you, your parents and the government put in.


You don't have to report the interest on your tax return; the account provider pays the tax on these accounts, but make sure you ask if they are passing this cost onto you.


The money in this account is not included in income and assets tests for various government benefits such as family tax benefit.


You don't pay any tax on the money when you withdraw it.


A first home saver is an individual account, but you can buy a house with a partner whether or not they have a first home saver account.


You have a 14-day cooling-off period when you first open your account.


There are also some not so great parts about the account which you will need to consider.


You can't salary sacrifice payments into your first home saver account.


The money that you save can only be used to pay the deposit on a home or land or other costs sustained when you buy or build your first home.


You have to keep the money in the account for a minimum period of time currently 4 years.


If you lose your eligibility to hold an account, do not buy a house or change your mind you cannot simply close your account, withdraw the money and spend it. The money must be transferred into a superannuation account, unless you are over 60.


You can't make partial withdrawals.


You can't take money out of a first home saver account even if you are experiencing financial hardship.


You need to have contributed at least $1,000 per year to your account in at least four financial years - the four-year rule. You need to be aware that you cannot access this money until you buy or build your first home, but if you are saving for that event then 17% government contributions is a fantastic investment.


Sound good? Wondering how you get one? 

Well to receive the benefits you must meet the following requirements:

- You must be aged 18 to 65 years old when you open the account

- You must not have owned a house in Australia or Norfolk Island

- You must be an Australian resident.

- You must contribute at least $1,000 in four or more financial years You must use your account funds to buy or build a home you will live in for at least six months.

- You must withdraw all your savings before settling the purchase contract or completing the construction First Home Saver Accounts were first offered on 1 October 2008, and now in 2014 many financial institutions are no longer offering these accounts. This may be because people are concerned about how locked in their money is, or it may be because they are not aware that the accounts exist. 


First Home Saver Accounts have fairly strict rules and so won’t be right for everybody, and not all first home saver accounts are the same, so as always before you choose an account, you should read the product disclosure statement provided by the financial institution.


Here is a list of Financial Institutions currently providing First Home Saver Accounts:

- AMP Bank Limited - ABN 15 081 596 009

- Credit Union SA Ltd - ABN 36 087 651 232

- Hume Building Society Ltd - ABN 85 051 868 556

- Hunter United Employees' Credit Union Limited - ABN 68 087 650 182

- IMB Ltd - ABN 92 087 651 974

- Members Equity Bank Pty Limited - ABN 56 070 887 679

- Police Financial Services Limited - ABN 33 087 651 661Railways Credit Union Limited - ABN 91 087 651 090Teachers Mutual Bank Limited - ABN 30 087 650 459The Police Department Employees' Credit Union Limited - ABN 95 087 650 799Victoria Teachers Limited - ABN 44 087 651 769Wyong Council Credit Union Ltd – ABN 29 087 650 897The Trust Company (Superannuation) Limited – ABN 49 006 421 638When you buy or build your first home, you can withdraw your saving, close your account, and you will be that much closer to paying your mortgage back and owning your home debt free.
 
I hope that you have found this information helpful. If you wish to find out more about First Home Saver Accounts, please look at the following links, or contact your financial adviser to discuss the best plan for your circumstances. Best of luck with your saving goals.

http://www.ato.gov.au/firsthomesaver
http://www.homesaver.treasury.gov.au/content/default.asp
https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/banking/savings-accounts/first-home-saver-accounts
https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-tools/first-home-saver-calculatorPage Content
http://www.hunterunited.com.au/savings-savings-accounts.html


 

Should I buy my property as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common?


When you purchase a property in more than one name, you need to think about whether you wish to take the property as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common.


This means that each purchaser must decide what they wish to have happen with their share of the property in the event that they were to pass away.


What Does Joint Tenants mean?

“Joint Tenants” means that the person that you purchase the property with has what is known as a right of survivorship. Meaning the deceased persons share in the property would pass straight to the surviving person, not via their will.

Joint Tenants must own the property in equal shares i.e. 50% each. There can be more than two people holding the property in this manner.


What Does Tenants In Common mean?

“Tenants in Common” means that the person that you buy the property with does not have right of survivorship. In this case a deceased persons share in the property would pass according to the terms of their will. If a person dies without a will their estate is distributed according to the Wills, Probate and Administration Act 1898.

Tenants in Common may own the property in whichever percentage of shares that they may chose i.e. 50/50; 60/40 or even 99/1. There can be more than two people holding the property in this manner. 


For example, if Mr & Mrs Smith are going to purchase a property in 50% shares each, then they need to think about what they want to happen to their share of the property if either of them were to die.


If they choose to buy as Joint Tenants, and Mr Smith was to die, then his 50% share of the property would pass automatically to his wife.


If they chose to buy as Tenants in Common, and Mr Smith died, then his 50% share of the property would be distributed via his will. So if Mr Smith had a child from a previous marriage and he wanted to leave the estate to them, he could do so this way.


If Mr & Mrs Smith chose to take the property as Joint Tenants, and then they break up in the future, the decision is not irreversible, even if they choose to keep the house. They can decide to split their tenancy by writing a letter to the Land Titles Office to say they now wish to hold the property as Tenants in Common. This may happen for example if Mrs Smith is going to remain living in the property with custody of their children, and it is an amicable break up of marriage so Mr Smith is happy to remain as part owner so as not to complicate the financial situation for their family.


You can of course purchase the property with more than two people and choose from a mixture of the above tenancy options to suit your purposes.


It is definitely wise for you and your property partner to really consider what you want to have happen to your share in the property if one of you were to pass away, as this decision is recorded on your Title Deed when you purchase a new property.


What are Improvements, Inclusions and Exclusions in Conveyancing?


When you buy a property in NSW, what you are really buying is the land.

So when you are looking at that four bedroom house with the beautiful polished floors, an amazing chandelier in the foyer and with a wooden cubby house in the back yard, what you are really purchasing is a plot of dirt.


That’s why it’s so important to go through the contract in detail and really specify what you expect to be on that plot of dirt when you hand your money over!


On the NSW Contract for Sale of Land, what you want and what you don’t want are set out in three clear sections – Improvements, Inclusions and Exclusions.


IMPROVEMENTS
Improvements are the structures that have been built on the land. This is where we specifically list what you are buying, for example a House, or Home Unit, a Garage or Carport. If you are buying vacant land, this will also be stated in this section.


INCLUSIONS

Inclusions are a list of all the items in the house that you expect to remain in the property when you take ownership. Standard inclusions noted on the Contract are blinds, built-in wardrobes, clothes line, curtains, dishwasher, fixed floor coverings, insect screens, light fittings, range hood, stove, pool equipment and TV antenna. Some other common examples are air conditioner, ceiling fans, gas heater, security system etc.
Occasionally you may make an agreement with the seller to buy something that belongs to them and is not really a part of the house, so for example if there are not built in wardrobes in the property, you may agree to purchase a free standing wardrobe that they have in the bedroom as part of the Contract.
The idea here is to be as specific as you can about what you expect so that there are no surprises on settlement.
We have had clients on the day of settlement disappointed about comparatively small things, for example the owner removing tomato plants from the garden. If you really want that tomato plant, or chandelier, or whatever it may be for you, the best thing you can do is write it down on the Contract so you know exactly what you are getting and there are no arguments or unnecessary stress on settlement.


EXCLUSIONS

Exclusions are a list of anything that you specifically want taken off of the property before it becomes yours. Examples may be an aviary in the yard or a built in workbench in the garage if you plan to use that space for something else.
This is also the place that the owner may tell you if they plan to take something that you may have thought was included. In this case it would normally be something of sentimental value for example the owner wants to keep the curtains in the bedroom as they were made for them by their mother, or perhaps they wish to move the cubby house to their new home.


The whole system is designed to make sure that you know exactly what to expect on the day of settlement.


Remember, ambiguity is the enemy of the law, so take the time to set out exactly what you and do not want on your Contract.


Why wouldnt settlement take place on the Contract date?


What reasons could settlement be delayed?

Can you guarantee the settlement date?


These are some of the most common questions I get asked during a conveyancing matter. Of course – I completely understand why! You need to know what date you’re getting your money, what day you need to book the removalist for and bribe all your friends to help you move. It’s one of the most important factors for you when you are buying or selling property.


Unfortunately I can’t guarantee the settlement date any more than I can guarantee that I personally will be alive tomorrow to help you with your conveyancing. I certainly plan to be – but some things are just outside of our control - and I only make guarantees that I know I can honour.


With the property market starting to heat up, and particularly just after the Christmas break, I’ve noticed an increase of properties not settling on the agreed date under the Contract. This is probably caused partly by buyers entering into Contracts before they were ready in fear of missing out on the property to somebody else, and partly by losing some of the working days over the Christmas break for conveyancers, solicitors and banking institutions to process their paperwork in time for the settlement date.


In January we had 6 files not settle on the agreed Contract date and for each file the reason was because either the discharging or incoming mortgagee was not ready.


So the best lessons we can learn from these facts is that you should have your pre-approval ready with your chosen financial institution before you go looking at property, and then when you find the right house tell them straight away so they can give you the formal unconditional approval on that property. Find somebody accountable, it helps if they are also local, that you can check in with at your bank or building society so you can make sure that they will be ready for settlement.


You certainly can’t choose the timing of finding the right home, or the right buyer for your home, but if it happens around Public Holidays, consider lengthening the Contract time a little to allow financial institutions sufficient time to be ready. This may mean that settlement is a little longer than you would have ideally wanted, but you will be more likely to have your settlement go through on the intended date. Particularly if you are exchanging Contracts with your Real Estate Agent, you could suggest this option to them, and call your Conveyancer and lender before exchange to ask if they believe they can meet the expected settlement date. For example, over this past Christmas break our office returned to work on 2 January 2014, most other firms returned on 6 January 2014, and some didn’t come back until 20 January 2014. Everybody deserves a holiday, but obviously the amount of working days dictate when the matter will be ready for settlement, and this is a problem that can be foreseen, and worked around to give you a more reliable settlement date.


Lastly, be aware that even if every person does everything right – your property matter may still not settle on time. Unfortunately disasters do happen from time to time and may mean that settlement is delayed, for example:

- If the tenant doesn’t move out; if a caveat is lodged to say a person has an interest in the property; if the property is vandalised, or has storm damage, or if there’s a fire in the property.


But rest assured that the vast majority of property settlements do, in fact, take place on their Contract date.


Benefits available in 2014

As we start a new year with wonderful possibilities you may be wondering if it’s the right time for you to buy or sell this year. Interest rates are low, the housing market is strong and there are a number of grants that are available in 2014 which you may be eligible for to help you on your way.


The government, unfortunately, is not currently offering very supportive incentives to First Home Buyers to assist them in taking the first step into the property market, which I strongly hope they reconsider. For now the only benefits available are for First Home Buyers who can afford to buy a brand new home, or a vacant block of land to build their first home. If you are one of these lucky first time home buyers you may be eligible for free stamp duty, and a $15,000 Grant.


For people buying a brand new home, whether you are upgrading, downsizing or an investor, there is a $5000 New Home Grant available. Also, for people moving from a metropolitan area and buying a home in a regional area there is a $7000 Regional Relocation Grant.Sometimes that little bit of extra assistance can really make a difference, so I’ll summarise the benefits available in 2014 for your consideration.


First Home - New Home scheme

First Home Buyers purchasing a brand new home under $550,000 can apply for an exemption from Stamp Duty, or if the purchase price is between $550,000 and $650,000 you can apply for a discount on your Stamp Duty under this Scheme. If you are buying a vacant block of residential land to build your first home for under $350,000 you can apply for an exemption from Stamp Duty, or if the purchase price is between $350,000 and $450,000 you can apply for a discount on your Stamp Duty under this Scheme. 


First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) scheme

First Home Buyers purchasing a brand new home, or vacant block of residential land to build your first home for under $650,000 can apply for the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) under this scheme.

 
To be eligible for the First Home New Home Scheme, or Grant above: 
- at least one buyer must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

- the agreement must be for the purchase of the whole property

- you must be a natural person (not a company or trust)you must be over 18 the home is a brand new home

- you or your partner have not previously owned property in any form in Australia

- at least one purchaser must occupy the home within 12 months and needs to live in the home for a continuous period of at least 6 months. 

New Home Grant scheme
If you are purchasing a brand new home (including “off the plan”), or vacant land on which a new home will be built then you can apply for the $5,000 New Home Grant under this Scheme. The Grant is paid by reducing your Stamp Duty costs, and if there is any money left over, then this would be paid to you by cheque. There are no restrictions on the number of times you can apply for the Grant, so if you are an investor considering purchasing more than one new home, then you can apply for the $5,000 New Home Grant Scheme each time! You can be a natural person, a company or trustee of a trust, and the grant is available to investors as well as owner occupiers.  

To be eligible for the New Home Grant:  
- Applications must be made within 3 months of the date of exchange of Contracts.

- The value of the new home must not exceed $650,000 and the value of vacant land must not exceed $450,000.

- For vacant land, construction of the home, by way of laying foundations, must commence within 26 weeks after settlement of the purchase. However, there is no limit on the time of construction. 

Regional Relocation Home Buyers Grant
If you are purchasing a residential home in a Regional “Country” Area and selling your current home or moving from a rental property in a Metropolitan “City” Area then you can apply for the $7,000 Regional Relocation Home Buyers Grant. There is no price limit on sale of the metropolitan home. Application for this grant can be made after purchasing the regional property and your name is on the title deed. The Grant is paid electronically into your account within 21 days from application.
 
This is a list of Metropolitan “City” Areas:  
- the Sydney metropolitan area (incl Ashfield, Auburn, Bankstown, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Botany Bay, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury, Fairfield, Gosford, Hawkesbury, Holroyd, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Hurstville, Kogarah, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Leichhardt, Liverpool, Manly, Marrickville, Mosman, North Sydney, Parramatta, Penrith, Pittwater, Randwick, Rockdale, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Warringah, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly, Woollahra and Wyong)
- the Newcastle local government area                    
- the Wollongong local government area

Regional “Country” Areas are participating local government areas outside the above, and if you are uncertain of the Council Area for the home you are selling or buying, you can conduct a 'Local Council Search' through the Division of Local Government website. Please note that the Byron local government area, although regional, opted out of the scheme. 
 
In 2014 they have broadened the Grant so that where the metropolitan home is sold and 2 regional properties are purchased, applications for both properties may qualify. However in 2014 they have also applied a minimum distance requirement of 100 km between the metropolitan home and the regional home to be eligible to receive the grant. 
 
To be eligible you must: 
- be a natural person (not acting in the capacity as trustee)

- at least one applicant must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

- have bought a regional property for less than $600,000 for a home, or less than $450,000 for vacant land

- start living in the regional property within 12 months from the purchase, for at least 12 continuous months. If you have purchased vacant land you must commence construction of your home within 6 months and be residing in the home within 12 months of the date of purchase

- have lived in your metropolitan home in the 12 months before purchasing your regional property. The metropolitan home must be sold in the 12 months before or after the purchase of the regional property, OR 

- have been renting a home in a metropolitan area in the 12 months before purchasing your regional property and can establish a 2-year continuous rental history in this and other metropolitan homes.


The above information has been simplified to make it easier to understand. There are however, firm requirements that must be met to be eligible for each benefit so if you would like to know more please contact the Office of State Revenue http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/contact or I would love to hear from you.

  
I encourage comments and also invite you to be involved and ask any questions or suggest a future topic.
   

Helpful Link  
http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/grants  
 

Why I love my job as a Licensed Conveyancer


Posted 15 Jan 2014 


Hi, my name is Natalie Mason and I am a co-owner and licensed conveyancer at Conveyancing Services. 
Welcome to my blog - Conveyancing Conversations!
  
I started work fresh out of school with Conveyancing Services as a receptionist and found the staff friendly and funny - it was a great place to work! Conveyancing, on the other-hand was a minefield of words I’ve never heard and legal documents that I had never seen. Can it really be this complicated just to buy a house I wondered?
  
It was all fascinating to me! At the time I was saving to buy my first home myself and loved that every day I went to work I would learn something new, a helpful tip, or an issue to be wary of. I love that every client I speak to has a different story, and that no two conveyancing transactions are ever the same. Even today with thousands of conveyances under my belt, I still go through Contracts and go wow, I’ve never seen that before and I enjoy the challenge of finding out the answers.  
  
After 2 years at the company I knew I had found my home and I began studying Conveyancing Law and Practice at Macquarie University. I wanted to become a conveyancer because I wanted to help people with such an exciting time in their life. Also, I wanted to get my hands onto those Contracts. This magical stack of paper that makes you the owner of your own little piece of Australia!
  
I have now worked in the conveyancing industry for 13 years. It’s been over 6 years since I graduated from Macquarie University and became a Licensed Conveyancer. My business partner Tony Morris is a highly respected conveyancer and was issued one of the first conveyancing licenses when the legislation was first passed in 1992. Last year Tony and I were very proud to become the owners of Conveyancing Services.
  
Conveyancing Services is one of the longest established conveyancing firms in NSW and as a leader in the conveyancing field we wanted to write a blog to help demystify the conveyancing process for people and give something back to the industry that supports us.
  
Every fortnight we will be sharing our experience and advice on the many various topics that can arise when you are looking to buy or sell property.
 
We encourage comments and also invite you to be involved and ask any questions or suggest a future topic.






 
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