First Home Buyer Starter Pack

December 6, 2022

Pay no stamp duty and save!

From 1 July 2019, First Home Buyers pay no Stamp Duty! Why wait, buy the home that’s right for you.

Am I eligible?

To pay no Stamp Duty on your home purchase:

  • All buyers of the home or land must be at least 18 years old.
  • The total gross income of all buyers, including their partners (if any) must not be greater than the income threshold below.
  • All buyers including their partners (if any) must not have owned any other property in the last two years*.
  • At least one buyer must live in the home continuously for at least one year, starting within 12 months of settlement or completion of construction**.

What property can I buy?

All properties in the ACT are eligible for this scheme. Unlike the previous concession scheme, it now applies to vacant residential land and both new and established homes, anywhere in the ACT and at any price.

What about my income?

To be eligible for the HBCS you must satisfy the total gross income test. The total gross income of all home buyers and their partners (if any) over the full financial year before the transaction date must be less than or equal to the relevant total gross income threshold as follows:

Purchasing a property.

There are 2 common ways to purchase a property.

Private treaty

A private treaty sale occurs when a property is listed for sale with an asking price, the buyer makes an offer to the agent, who then presents the offer to the seller, who can then decide whether or not to accept the offer.

In the ACT (and NSW) the time between having your offer accepted and contracts exchanged is usually 2 weeks.

Purchasing at an auction

Buying your home at an auction can be both exciting and stressful! Aside from knowing your budget (and not bidding over it), you should also be aware that one of the most important differences between buying your home by private treaty and buying it at an auction is the ‘cooling off’ period.

There is no cooling off period if you buy your home at an auction. This means that you cannot cancel the contract if you change your mind without being in breach of the contract. The likely consequences of breaching the contract are losing all of your deposit and having to compensate the seller for other costs or financial losses.

If you are the successful bidder at the auction, you must the sign the contract and pay the deposit immediately. It also means that you accept the contract and all of its terms and conditions, regardless of whether you are aware or understand those terms and conditions.

We strongly advise that you do the following BEFORE you attend an auction

  • Arrange for your loan pre-approval – to reduce the risk associated with bidding at an auction we recommend you obtain a pre-approval up to the maximum purchase you are prepared to bid to
  • Obtain Legal Advice – it is very important to have a conveyancing solicitor review the contract of sale and all it’s term and conditions
  • Undertake pre-purchase inspections – obtain building/pest, strata and or survey reports before the day of auction. These reports will identify any key issues with the property
  • Register to bid
  • Prepare your cheque for the deposit.

Key terms.

Exchange of contracts

The date at which the seller and the buyer enter into a contract.


5% – 10% of the value of the property paid at exchange of contracts with the balance payable at settlement.


The price between the seller and agent at which the property is able to be sold at auction. This is the minimum amount the seller will accept.

Market value

The amount the property is worth in the current given market.

Passed in

A property is passed in when the bidding at an auction does not reach the vendor’s reserve (the minimum price for which they’re prepared to sell). In most states, if this happens then the first right to negotiate further with the vendor goes to the person who placed the highest bid during the auction.


Is a legal process that is facilitated by your legal and financial representatives and those of the seller. It’s when ownership passes from the seller to you, and you pay the balance of the sale price. The seller sets the settlement date in the contract of sale.

A partner includes your spouse, civil union partner, civil partner or de facto partner. *There are limited exceptions to this requirement, including court orders and agreements made under the Family Law Act 1975 and the Domestic Relationships Act 1994. **The Commissioner for ACT Revenue can exempt you from the residence requirements, in full or in part, but only in very specific circumstances.

Credit Representative Number 504150 is authorised under Australian Credit License Number 389328. This page provides general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. Subject to lenders terms and conditions, fees and charges and eligibility criteria apply.

more insights and tips
December 6, 2022
The Do's and Don't's when applying for a loan
How to best prepare yourself when applying for a loan.
Read more
December 6, 2022
The Home Loan Process Explained
Everything you need to know about the loan process broken down into 8 easy to understand steps.
Read more