Buying Your First Home

Buying a first property is often the first major investment a person will make, and one that can go a long way towards providing stability and financial opportunities in the future. Grants and concessions are available to those seeking to buy their first home, to both ease the financial burden and allow more people to step onto the property ladder sooner.

If you are a first home buyer we can guide you each step of the way, including explaining in detail how to make an offer and sign a contract, how to protect your best interests with special conditions, make sure you meet your legal obligations, and help you take advantage of the concessions and grants available to you. Ever since our Sargeants days our team has helped thousands of first home buyers take that exciting first step onto the property ladder.

The First Home Owners Grant

The first home owners grant is a nationwide initiative to provide a one-off grant to first home buyers under certain circumstances, with each state dictating their own specific rules and criteria. It was originally introduced from the 1stof July 2000 as a means of offsetting the effect of GST on home ownership. In Victoria, the grant provides $10,000.00 to first home buyers purchasing new properties in metropolitan areas for contracts signed on or after 1stJuly 2013. ‘New’ here means the property is being sold for the first time and has not been lived in before, so if the property you are interested in is currently tenanted, you will not be able to claim the first home owners grant. New homes built in regional Victoria have additional funds available, with the first home owners grant providing $20,000.00 for contracts signed from 1stJuly 2017 to the 30thJune 2020. The SRO determines what is and is not a regional area based on whether the property is based within any of a list of 48 councils, which can be found here.

The property can be a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar residential property, must be valued at $750,000.00 or less, and been constructed less than five years ago. You may be eligible for the grant if you buy vacant land that comes with entering into a home builder contract or if you will be constructing a home as an owner builder, however buying vacant land does not automatically make you eligible for the grant. Applications for new established residences will be considered after settlement.  For builder contracts or owner builders, applications will be considered after the certificate of occupancy is issued.

Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents over 18 year of age and are required to occupy the property as their principle place of residence for a minimum of twelve months, commencing within twelve months following settlement or completion of construction.

Note: if you or your spouse/partner have owned property either jointly or separately that you have lived in since the 1stof July 2000, you will not be eligible for the first home owners grant. New Zealand citizens holding a special category visa or anyone holding a permanent visa are considered eligible for the first home owners grant, subject to the remaining eligibility criteria being satisfied. It’s important to note that if you receive the grant and then fail to move in to the property within twelve months of settlement, you will have to repay the grant in full to the State Revenue Office. If you fail to give notice within 14 days of the twelve-month period lapsing, additional penalties may apply.

For more information and application details, visit


Stamp Duty Concessions

Stamp duty (or land transfer duty) is a one-off tax paid at settlement, based on the dutiable value of the property (the sale price or the market value, whichever is higher). A number of factors will influence how much stamp duty must be paid, including whether or not you intend to live in the property, and whether or not it is your first home. Stamp duty can easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars and present a huge burden for those saving to buy property for the first time.

The good news is that first home buyers purchasing any residential property up to $600,000.00, a full exemption on stamp duty applies. For properties over $600,000.00 up to $750,000.00, first home buyers are eligible to receive a concession on stamp duty. An exemption/concession on stamp duty is considered separately to the first home owners grant, so depending on your individual circumstances you may be able to take advantage of both.  A first home buying concession or exemption will be applicable to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2017. A principle place of residence (PPR) concession is applicable for contracts from 1 January 2007.

In addition to allowances available for first home buyers, there are a number of schemes in place to ease the burden of stamp duty on potential buyers, including concessions for owner occupiers, for those buying property off-the-plan, and for pensioners.

For a detailed break down of the different concessions available, visit


The Absolute Basics

How do I make an offer? What happens at settlement? Where do I pick up my keys? Almost all buyers venturing into home ownership for the first time have the same questions in mind, and we’re here to help. Visit our frequently asked questions page for an easy to understand and detailed summary of all the major milestones of home ownership. You can also speak to our friendly new business department any time at (03) 9867 5551.


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