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My partner purchased a property, am I still a first home buyer?

Looking to buy your first home with a partner or spouse is a big milestone in any relationship. It’s the beginning of a new chapter and can bring with it excitement, nerves, and sometimes a lot of questions.

Aside from the obvious questions like “How much can we afford?” or “Where do we want to live?”, there’s one question that you might not even think is that important to ask, but could impact your eligibility for first home buyer incentives in Victoria.

There’s one question that you might not even think is that important to ask, but could impact your eligibility for first home buyer incentives in Victoria.

“Have you owned a property before?”

If your spouse/partner answers yes to this question – regardless of whether you’ve owned a property yourself, or your relationship status with them at a time – we need to do some quizzing to see how this might impact your eligibility for the first home owner grant (FHOG) or first-home buyer duty exemption/concession.

 

How does the State Revenue Office (SRO) define spouse and partner?

The SRO is the government department which, among other things, looks after first home buyer incentives handed out by the state. It has specific definitions for terms it uses when laying out eligibility criteria, which covers words like “spouse” and “partner”, so everyone can play by the same rules.

In their books, a spouse is “someone to whom you are legally married”. A partner is “someone who you are in a registered domestic relationship with or someone who you are living with as a couple on a genuine domestic basis irrespective of gender”.

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When would you NOT be eligible for the FHOG and/or first-home buyer duty exemption/concession?

If your partner has owned property before, there are a few scenarios that exclude you from being eligible for the FHOG and/or the first-home buyer duty exemption/concession.

Neither you nor your partner/spouse will be eligible if:

  • You and/or your partner/spouse have received the FHOG and/or duty exemption, concession or reduction before
  • You and/or your partner/spouse owned a residential property before 1 July 2000 (living in it or renting it out), regardless of whether you were in a relationship at the time
  • You and/or your partner/spouse owned a residential property on or after 1 July 2000, where neither of you received the FHOG, but one or both of you lived in the property for a continuous period of six months.

When would you still be eligible if you or your partner has owned property in the past?

If you and/or your partner/spouse owned a residential property on or after 1 July 2000, and neither of you lived in that property for a continuous period of six months (nor received the FHOG), then you may still be entitled to the FHOG and/or first-home buyer duty exemption/concession – provided you meet all other eligibility criteria. For a comprehensive and up-to-date guide on state government first home buyer incentives, including eligibility criteria, check out the SRO website.

What happens if you lived in a property your partner/spouse owned but you’re no longer in a relationship with that person?

If you’ve been in a relationship in the past where a partner or spouse owned a property, but you’re no longer together, your future eligibility for first home buyer incentives depends on few factors. The main consideration is generally whether you were deemed to have a “relevant interest” in the property – i.e. whether you had a legal entitlement to the home being purchased or built.

Timing also plays a role, and whether you lived in the property for a period of six or more continuous months. If in doubt, this online tool may help you further determine your eligibility.

Whether or not you’re eligible for the FHOG and/or stamp duty exemption/concession can certainly have an impact on your planning and decision making around buying a first home. To work out you and your partner’s strategy, speak to First Things First today.

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