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.
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 Certiied 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.
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.
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 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 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 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.