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First Time Home Buyers Guide

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Purchasing your first house in Sydney is a significant milestone that is bittersweet when attempting to figure out the intricacies of Australian property laws. Comprehending the legal structure is essential for making well-informed choices and guaranteeing a seamless transition into homeownership. This guide will assist you if you are a first-home buyer in Sydney and highlight the various schemes and grants the Australian Government has enforced to assist individuals in purchasing their first home.  

The First Home Owner Grant is a nationwide scheme which offers first-home buyers financial support. The grant amount in Sydney varies based on the property’s worth and whether an individual is purchasing a new or existing home. According to the most changes, the First Home Owner Grant can significantly alleviate the initial financial burden of purchasing your first house. 

First-time homebuyers planning to purchase their dream home are frequently eligible for reduced or free stamp duty, a substantial upfront expense in real estate transactions, if certain requirements are met. In New South Wales, stamp duty reductions or exemptions are available for first-time homebuyers for those that fall below a specific threshold. First-time purchasers will find homeownership more accessible and inexpensive with the help of this incentive. The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme was launched by the Australian Government with the intention of assisting qualified first-time homebuyers in acquiring a property sooner. As part of this scheme, participating lenders offer loans with a requirement of only a 5% deposit and do not charge Lender’s Mortgage Insurance.  

Property Search and House Hunting

Several essential steps and factors must be taken into account when navigating the legal aspects of buying a property in Sydney. The terms and conditions of a contract of sale, including the purchase price, deposit amount, settlement date and any special conditions are outlined in the legally binding contract. Following the unconditional exchange of a contract, buyers in New South Wales typically have five to ten business days to exercise their right to rescind from the contract if need be. An individual is able to rescind from the contract during this period without having to bear any financial penalties. Finally, in order to guarantee all legal parts of the transaction are handled legally, it is imperative to engage a certified conveyancer or Solicitor on your behalf.

They will review the contract, carry out any relevant searches needed for the property and oversee the settlement process. 

Building and pest inspection

It is essential to have a pest and building inspection conducted prior to sealing the deal. The purpose of the report is to help identify any structural issues or pest infestations likely to be present in the house. This inspection will influence an individual’s negotiation of repairs if need be. If an individual is purchasing a strata property, they will not require this inspection but rather a strata report. The strata report will provide them with key findings of not only the lot they are purchasing but the whole complex, including insurance details, rates and levies payable to the particular lot. Buying Process

Transferring ownership from vendor to the purchaser and finalising the sale’s financial details are part of the settlement procedure. During the settlement process, the conveyancer will ensure that all monetary and legal requirements have been satisfied, such as paying the purchase price and registering the property title in the purchaser’s name. Following the move into your new residence, you will have continuing legal obligations such as council rates, water rates and other expenses. It is essential to protect your investment with adequate home and contents insurance. If purchasing a strata-titled property, familiarise yourself with the strata-bylaws and understand your rights and responsibilities as an owner within the strata scheme. 

Home Loans

Hence, First-time home buyers in Sydney must navigate the property market by being aware of and compliant with the various legal requirements. Once familiarised with the First Home Owner Grant, stamp duty concessions and the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and important legal factors like contracts and settlements procedures you are ready to approach your first home purchase with clarity and confidence. Acquiring advice from seasoned experts, including financial advisers and conveyancers, will help you make well-informed decisions along the way. Optimistic and prepared, you can embark on your journey to become a homeowner in Sydney with adequate planning and knowledge of the rules, regulations and schemes surrounding first home buyers.

How much do most first-time home buyers put down?

Most first-time home buyers aim to put down between 3% to 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. The exact amount depends on various factors such as loan type, lender requirements, and the buyer’s financial profile.

Can I buy a house with $10,000 deposit?

It’s possible to buy a house with a $10,000 deposit, but the feasibility depends on the total purchase price of the home and the loan options available. Typically, a larger deposit can lead to more favourable mortgage terms, including potentially lower interest rates.

Do you have to pay 10% deposit when buying a house?

In some cases, particularly in certain markets or with specific lenders, a 10% deposit might be required. However, many lenders offer mortgages with lower down payment options, such as 3% or 5%, especially for first-time buyers. The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme requires only a 5% deposit.

How much is the first home buyers grant?

For new homes, the FHOG in NSW is currently $10,000 for eligible first home buyers purchasing a new property valued at $600,000 or less. For vacant land purchases, the FHOG is $10,000 for eligible first home buyers who are building a new home on the land, with the total value of the land and new home not exceeding $750,000.


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property transfer stamp duty

Transfer property without paying stamp duty

Stamp duty (also called transfer duty) is a substantial cost component of a property purchase, and if there’s any exemption or concession whatsoever you’d want to know about it! A transfer involves removing parties from the property title Here are the most common scenarios that you can transfer property without paying stamp duty: Transfers between married couples and de facto partners where the transfer is either the principal place of residence (the family home) or vacant land which is intended to be used as the site of the principal place of residence. Upon completion of the transfer of the residential property, both partners must hold the property equally (whether joint tenants or tenants in common). Note: If the family home is also used for other purposes, the exemption will only apply to the residential part of the home. Marriage, de facto or domestic relationship break-ups Section 68(1) of the Duties Act 1997 (NSW) specifies that where a break-up of marriage or de facto relationship occurs the title transfer can occur with transfer duty exemptions between either of the parties of the domestic relationship breaks, or a child or children of either of the parties. This must be effected by court order under the Family Law Act, or in accordance with a binding financial agreement made under sections 90B, 90C, 90D, 90UB, 90UC or 90UD of the Family Law Act 1975. Foreign transferees who are eligible for an exemption, still have to pay the surcharge purchase duty currently set to 8% of the property value they receive. Deceased estate transfers to a beneficiary in accordance with the terms of the will or under the rules of intestacy are entitled to a concessional rate of $50. If a will is contested, the duty chargeable will be determined based on any court orders made. Where a transfer does not confirm to a will, transfer duty will be payable. Example, if the beneficiaries agree to become owners on different properties, then they will need to pay transfer duty on the ownership proportions they now hold, that were not originally gifted in the will. Speak to a lawyer today Always engage a property lawyer to assist you with the transfer of property, and advise you transfer duty implications. Further, if you are separating, make sure your family law lawyer has effected the transfer in such a way that ensures the stamp duty exemption is applied.  Do I have to pay Stamp Duty? Where there is no stamp duty exemption or concession met under the Duties Act 1997 (NSW) and as noted above, you will be required to pay stamp duty and the vendor may need to pay capital gains tax. In NSW, stamp duty is based on the property’s contract price (or sales price) or the market value of the property, whichever is higher; and not the contract price. If the buyer and seller are related or associated, or you’re not transferring the whole property, the property you must obtain an independent valuation by a suitably qualified property valuer. They will look into a number of factors such as the property’s market, recent sales, originally purchased price, zoning, restrictions on the property, and renovations or any property upgrades to determine the valuation price for nominal transfer duty. Transfer duty will then be payable on the new portion of the property title now attributed to you. As part of the property transfer, our solicitors will lodge an application for assessment on the contract for sale or transfer of land on your behalf, and arrange for paying transfer duty as part of the property title settlement process.   Gifting Property or Selling property Whilst you may be generous gifting property or selling property at below market value to a family member or significant relationship, the tax man isn’t so gifting. Whether it is an investment property or the family home, transfer ownership will attract stamp duty if it does not fall in the stamp duty exemption categories: For relationship breakdowns there would need to be a certified domestic partnership agreement, binding financial agreement or court order; Deceased estate where the beneficiary is specified on the will and/or under the general rules of intestacy stamp duty exemptions may apply. Transferring family home within a marriage significant relationship or de facto partners. Foreign transferees who would need to pay the surcharge purchase duty currently set to 8% on the property’s independent valuation or market value.   What is a related party? Related parties can be defined as spouses, family members or people in a business or personal relationship. Such transactions are not considered “arms length”, and the parties have a pre-existing relationship and often benefit from the nature of the transaction differently to an “arms length” transaction, such as receiving a property at a below market value price or gift. Related party transfers include adding a spouse on title, change of ownership between related parties for refinancing, court orders and/or property settlements such as divorce or de facto partners separations, transfers between family members as a gift or below market value, transfer to deceased estates to the beneficiary, and transfers between a trust or company to a person for tax purposes.   Property transfer to family members or related parties Generally speaking, transferring property between family members or related parties attracts transfer duty, however some property transfers may qualify for a stamp duty exemption or concession. If you paid transfer duty, but realise you were entitled to an exemption or concession you can actually lodge a claim for a refund within 5 years. There are 3 main questions you need to ask before transferring property between family members or related parties: Will the property transfer be by gift, sale, or holding change? Understand the costs involved including: What are the Title Office costs and stamp duty fees involved? Are there any capital gains tax implications for the vendor? Speak to a lawyer today Depending on the type of transfer, it is important to engage a qualified solicitor to assist you with the

Do I Need a Conveyancer to Buy a House or Can I Do It Myself?

Congratulations, you’ve found your dream property, a home that’s perfect for you and your family. What now? There are numerous administrative and financial tasks that will need to be addressed, and this is where engaging a conveyancing solicitor or conveyancer can help, but is it a necessity?   Speak to a lawyer today Apart from the obvious benefit of saving money, there are several other factors to consider when conducting your own conveyancing process. What is conveyancing? Conveyancing is the legal process necessary to facilitate the transaction of buying or selling a house or real estate. Put simply, a conveyancer is a professional who understands this process as well as the legal landscape surrounding property sales and property law. Conveyancing involves the preparation, verification and lodgment of an array of legal documents needed for transferring ownership of a home or property, as well as preparing that home or property for settlement. Conveyancing Process This process is quite complex and can be broken down into three broad stages: Pre-contractual stage; pre-completion stage; and post-completion stage. It’s important to keep in mind that making an error at any stage can result in a voided contract. This has caused home buyers to lose their dream homes and in some extreme circumstances, forfeiting their deposit. A professional conveyancer can also assist their client with other stages related to purchasing property, from the sale process such as arranging various inspections and surveys or getting rid of outstanding utility rates that are associated with the building.   Speak to a lawyer today There’s no question that the conveyancing process of transferring property ownership can appear complex to anybody who is new to it. Don’t be afraid to book a consultation and discuss this process with one of our specialists if it’s overwhelming and you’d like to leave your conveyancing process in the hands of a licensed conveyancer or solicitor. How much will conveyancing cost you? Often the factor that is granted the most weight when somebody is deciding on a conveyancer to engage, it’s important to understand how much you are willing to spend on a conveyancer before you begin your search. The cost of a conveyancer will often depend on several factors, keeping in mind that their operation can range from self-employed to working at a large law firm. The services they offer can also vary which will ultimately vary their price. As a rough estimate, you should expect to pay somewhere between $500 to $2,500 depending on the above variables. You should find that most conveyancers will charge a flat fee whilst also charging you based on disbursement costs. Here’s a list of some common costs to expect from a property purchase (among an array of other potential costs depending on your circumstances): Conveyancing fees: $500-$2,500 Title search: up to $20-100 Council searches/certificates: $100-$1,000 Title registration and transfer: $50-$200 Settlement fees: up to $80 General clerical fees: up to $50 These costs are purely estimates and it’s always recommended to ask your chosen conveyancer for a breakdown of their costs. An alternative: DIY conveyancing kits If you ultimately decide to go down the path of DIY conveyancing, purchasing a DIY conveyancing kit can help. These kits are generally priced quite low, ranging from $50-$200 and often include the following: Step-by-step conveyancing guide Contract of sale Relavant forms and documentation List of agencies involved in the trasaction and their contact details Glossary of terms Whilst these kits are cost-effective and can be handy to somebody going through the process on their own, you will be held responsible for any mistake you make and mistakes during the conveyancing process often prove to be detrimental and costly.   In a nutshell… It’s difficult to say just how much the conveyancing process will cost you from start to finish. Instead, you should ask each conveyancer or solicitor that you approach for a full breakdown of their costs. However, sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise which might lead to increased costs. Who does conveyancing in Australia? Generally, there are two options you have when choosing a conveyancing professional, you can opt to engage either a solicitor or a conveyancer. The choice is completely yours and it’s always recommended to ask your chosen professional what their credentials are. Is DIY conveyancing suitable for you? When deciding whether to conduct your own conveyancing process or engage a professional, there are several factors that are important to consider, including: Money With all other variables aside, if you feel confident and comfortable handling your own conveyancing process, you can reap the benefits by skipping conveyancing fees. Whilst your savings will be limited to the above fees, you’ll still need to pay the disbursement costs so keep that in mind. Time One downside of DIY conveyancing is the time it takes. You need to remember that when you engage a conveyancer, you aren’t simply paying for their expertise but also their time. DIY conveyancing is known to be time consuming when undertaking tasks like reviewing contracts, conducting title searches and filling in documents. Industry Knowledge Conveyancers and solicitors have unparalleled industry knowledge, their skill and experience must be considered when you are contemplating DIY conveyancing. This is mostly important when unexpected situations arise, experienced solicitors and conveyancers have likely encountered every situation imagineable and can smoothly guide you through unforeseen circumstances.   Speak to a lawyer today Our conveyancing lawyers have a wealth of experience and industry knowledge when it comes to the process of transferring property ownership, get in touch with our team today if you would like to feel comfortable during the process. Protection Costly errors can arise when somebody without adequate skills or experience attempts to handle their own conveyancing. If you opt to take the route of DIY conveyancing, there is no recourse to recover financial loss should you make a mistake. However, licensed conveyancers will hold professional indemnity insurance which will keep you indemnified should something go wrong. The very thought of this alone should also make for a less-stressful

Finding the Right Conveyancer: The 7 Questions You Must Ask

Conveyancing is arguably the most important step in the process of buying or selling a home. It’s a complicated and often misunderstood process, hence the need to enlist the services of an expert conveyancing lawyer. First home buyers may find that property purchases involve the use of lots of Latin-based legal jargon. It is important to have an understanding of these common conveyancing terms or engage the service of a conveyancer who can clarify these terms for you. A good conveyancer will guide you through the conveyancing process, involving you each and every step along the way. Therefore it is vital to find the right fit for you, ask the right questions, and make sure your conveyancer is fully capable before choosing one.   Speak to a lawyer today Need an expert coneyancing lawyer? Contact us now. Here are the 7 most valuable questions you should ask when choosing the right Conveyancing Professional: 1 What are your qualifications? This can vary from state to state but remains a very important question to ask. Whilst some states require conveyancers or those who plan to offer a conveyancing service to complete an accredited course, others have continuing education obligations. On top of qualifications, experience is invaluable when it comes to conveyancing so remember to keep that in mind. More often than not, an experienced conveyancer will have a deeper wealth of knowledge than a newly qualified one. 2 What properties do you specialise in? It’s important to note that some conveyancers specialise in handling certain types of clients, properties or locations. For example, you may find conveyancers that only specialise in rural areas rather than metropolitan areas, hence the need to ask this question. Sometimes conveyancers might specialise in acquisitions of properties for first home buyers, apartments or even sub-divisions. Asking this question filters out any conveyancer that lacks knowledge about your specific situation which will help find a conveyancer that is well equipped to deal with your matter. 3 What is your breakdown of costs? This is a great starting point as it can filter out all of the specialists that aren’t within your budget, thus narrowing the list of options to make your decision easier. However, keep in mind that it is often not desirable to select your conveyancer purely based on conveyancing costs as this may sacrifice the level of attention they give you as a client. Often, a conveyancer will be able to provide a detailed quote so don’t be afraid to ask for one. This will generally include professional fees, search fees, administrative fees and other disbursements.   Case Study Adam is a 25 year old Electrician looking to purchase his first home. Adam’s friend James recommends Tony, a conveyancer who helped James secure his first home and tells Adam that he only charged him $500. Adam engages Tony and omits asking him about his fee structure. Finally, after purchasing his property, Adam is given a bill of $3000 for Tony’s services. 4 How long will the conveyancing process take? Whilst it depends on the terms and conditions of your settlement, the vast majority of settlements for an existing property take between one to two months after contract execution. You should never assume this date will fall within this timeframe. It’s important to ask your conveyancer during the conveyancing process about the settlement timeframe. This allows you to determine how much time you will have to prepare the documents required and financial transactions prior to settlement day. 5 How will you communicate with me and how often? Poor communication often results in missing opportunities in any profession, and that is especially true in the realm of conveyancing. The skill of efficient and insightful communication is incredibly important and it’s just as important to make it known that you value this from the outset by asking this question. Therefore it’s advised that you discuss this topic with your conveyancer to determine how often they will communicate with you and what method of communication they will use, whether it’s email, text messages or phone calls. Don’t be afraid to let them know what your preferred method is either!   Case Study Angelo and Carol are retirees looking to downsize their family house. They have decided that they wish to buy a two-bedroom unit closer to the city. Angelo realises he has missed a couple of opportunities that his conveyancer has emailed him and he doesn’t check his inbox too frequently. Instead, Angelo asks his conveyancer if he can call his mobile phone next time he wishes to contact him as he always has his phone on him. This is a simple way that Angelo can ensure he doesn’t miss any future communication with his Conveyancer. 6 Do you have insurance coverage? It is crucial to make sure that your licensed conveyancer has professional indemnity insurance. Regardless of their experience or expertise, an accredited professional conveyancer should always carry indemnity insurance. However, you should never assume they do and never forget to ask. Professional indemnity insurance provides protection against claims arising from the provision of professional services or duties. 7 What Government or additional fees will I need to pay? There’s an array of costs that you need to factor into buying or selling a home, including (but not limited to): Stamp duty Transfer fees Mortgage registration fees Inspection fees Depending on your situation, you may have more or fewer obligations regarding additional conveyancing fees. It’s important to ask your conveyancer which of these additional fees and cost associated you must pay. Finally, whether you are a buyer or selling property, choosing from good licensed conveyancers is extremely important. Next time you are searching for one, keep the above questions handy to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible whilst ensuring you don’t miss any vital information. Remember, it also doesn’t hurt to conduct your own due diligence on your conveyancer. This could be as simple as doing a quick google search and reading their reviews.   In


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