Should you take it?
Who is eligible?
In a new policy aimed at supporting jobs within the building industry the Federal Government is implementing a new scheme offering $25,000 grants to middle income earners that are looking to build a new home or renovate an existing property. To be eligible you must be earning less than $125000 if you are single or $200,000 if you are a couple.
I want to say first up though, for those that are eligible, not everyone will be in a financial position to take advantage of it, and even for those that are, it won’t make financial sense for everyone. Make sure you consult your financial advisor before making any decisions.
How can a $25,000 cash grant not be a good idea I hear you say?
Well, in the fine print it says that to be eligible, the cost of your renovation or new home must be more than $150,000 and less than $750,000 and the pre renovation value of the property must be less than $1,500,000.
For many people $150,000 is a reasonably high figure for a renovation. It’s not that it’s hard to spend $150,000 on a renovation, the problem is that you have to spend at least $125,000 of your own money to get the $25,000 grant. Not everyone will be able to do that.
For those considering building a new house, it makes good sense to access this grant if you meet the criteria, and on face value it looks as though it can be accessed alongside the State Government First Home Owners package, which is worth up to $15,000. So potentially there is $40,000 available for first homeowners. That’s serious money and a decent leg up onto the property ladder.
Now let’s talk about the situations where it works for existing homeowners.
Can you afford it?
The first, and most important factor, is affordability. Can you afford the minimum $125,000 it will take to qualify for the grant? There is no point putting yourself under financial stress for the sake of picking up $25,000 in free cash. Believe me when I tell you, that over the span of your lifetime a government gift of $25,000 is not significant, if it will keep you awake at night worrying about the extra $125,000 of debt you have taken on. Not to mention… if it is not spent wisely, to improve the liveability or increase your equity…you have wasted the money and your time.
But let us assume that you have spoken to your financial advisor and they agree that affordability is not a concern for you.
Who Can Benefit?
I can see two potential types of existing homeowners who might benefit from this grant. First there is the homeowner who is already planning a renovation that exceeded $150,000. In that instance it is a no brainer. It is effectively $25,000 of free money. Go for it, make the most of it, and good luck to you.
The second type of beneficiary is the potential vendor. A well-planned renovation will make your home easier to sell and increase its value.
Get Good Advice
It has been well documented (based on countless reality TV shows), that a clever renovation can add value to a property that far exceeds the cost. However……..contrary to what all the spruikers and reality TV shows suggest, a clever renovation is not always easy, but neither is it impossible. What is required is some good advice, from an experienced advisor, on what will add buyer appeal, and what is not necessary. Your trusted local agent should be the person you can turn to. They know what buyers are looking for and where the buyers see value.
Given the right advice, a quality builder, realistic budget and careful planning, there is no doubt that $150,000 spent could add substantial value to your final sale price. But I just cannot emphasise enough how important it is to make good choices on where you spend your money. A $150,000 dollar wine cellar added to a standard 3 bed, 2 bath home in suburbia is unlikely to be a good investment. On the other hand, adding an extra bedroom and living area, or a new kitchen and bathroom with some impressive landscaping could reap rewards well above the cost.
These days, most homebuyers usually make at least one visit to a display village to see what is new and in fashion. Whilst a new home in a new estate may not be your competition, they are certainly your benchmark. Most buyers are impressed by that new home feel, and regardless of how old the home is (within reason) that new home feel is achievable. If you repaint the interior, put in new floor coverings, replace the kitchen and bathrooms, you have basically presented a new home. You have that new house feel and smell. Buyers love it.
So rather than be daunted by the prospect of a $150,000 renovation, talk to your Madeleine Hicks Real Estate agent about what improvements you can make to your home, that will add to the value of the property and most importantly appeal to buyers. Make the most of this opportunity with smart planning and good advice, ensuring a clever renovation and maximum return.