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If you plan to build a new house or you have renovations in progress, it pays to learn about the HomeBuilder scheme. The Federal Government recently announced the much-awaited stimulus package for COVID-19. The goal is to boost construction activities in different parts of the country, including Western Australia.

What is the HomeBuilder Scheme?

The Treasury has publicised the commencement of yet another grant scheme, HomeBuilder. It was named along the lines of recent initiatives. What makes it different is that it is for owner-occupiers, including those who just bought a new house.

The grant amounts to $25,000 and can be given to you if you will build a new home. You may also be qualified if you are performing a substantial renovation for your existing house.

The primary goal is to provide ongoing work for the construction sector, particularly for residential development. Due to the pandemic, the workers in this sector were forced to stop their duties temporarily. Now that things are slowly going back to normal, the Government aims to provide support for contractors and builders.

The scheme is expected to be worth $680 million, although the final cost will depend on certain factors. The program remains uncapped for the meantime and will be based on the demand.

It is a means-tested initiative. Therefore, before you can benefit from it, you should understand the eligibility requirements. The Government believes it can provide the grant to about 27,000 Australians. You are part of this number if you meet the following conditions:

  • You should be an adult Australian or at least 18 years old.
  • Your taxable income does not exceed $125,000 yearly.
  • If you have a partner, your combined annual income should not be over $200,000.
  • You are required to sign a contract by the end of the year. This contract demonstrates your willingness for building or renovating your primary residence. Therefore, investment properties are not allowed.
  • You agree that the project should start within three months upon the date of signing the contract.
  • The new build should be valued at $750,000, which also includes the worth of land.
  • Meanwhile, if you do plan to begin a renovation project, you should spend at least $150,000 to $750,000 to be eligible. This expense should be your own money. Plus, the house you will renovate should be your own and must be less than $1.5 million before the renovation took place.
  • You cannot merely renovate the property to make it look more appealing for you. To be eligible, the renovation project should entail improvements for safety and accessibility. Exterior jobs, including the addition or remodelling of the pool or court, are not qualified.

The financial threshold is a big area to look into. It immediately limits the people who can take advantage of the scheme. However, contrary to many people’s belief, this stimulus package is not for wealthy individuals only. In fact, the total value of the house after renovation should not be more than $1.5 million.

Additionally, the threshold denotes that people who are in central Melbourne and Sydney are excluded right away. After all, the house prices in these areas can go over $1.5 million.

On the other hand, Adelaide, Perth, and around Queensland, have median home prices at $440,000 to $485,000. It shows that these places instantly fit the bill based on the threshold.

Before you can jump in, you should also be aware that the abovementioned requirements are for the homeowners. For instance, there are contract criteria to meet, as well. One is that you should ensure the contract is based on a fair market price. This way, you, as the homeowner, will not demand the builder to increase the total cost, which can grant you access to the scheme.

There should also be no relationship between you and the contractor, such as familial relations. Only licenced builders are allowed to participate.

Again, the contract should be signed anytime from 4 June to 31 December. If the agreement is performed during this period, you can get a non-taxable grant of $25,000. On top of this, Western Australia has announced a further increase to the first home buyers grant of $20,000. Meaning some people who choose to build now could be eligible for up to $70,000 worth of government assistance.

The applications have begun and will run until 31 December this year. This package is a significant step towards protecting the state of employment in the building sector. There is an expected decline in housing activity for the next 12 months or so. With this scheme, it may generate more than $15 billion to the national economy.

How Can You Benefit from the HomeBuilder Stimulus Package?

Real estate agents, along with some builders across the country, have confirmed the growing number of enquiries from buyers. Most of the calls come from first home buyers, soon after the announcement of the scheme.

For those who have always dreamt about building or renovating their own home, now is the chance. Because of the coronavirus, numerous Australians thought this dream of theirs would be lost permanently. But this stimulus package is here to help.

Plus, it is beneficial for the industry. Many jobs, including those of tradies, apprentices, and builders, can remain stable.
If you do qualify, it is a great time indeed to build or renovate your house. Flooring is one of the essential parts of your home’s interiors and now is your chance to use decorative concrete.

Here are the top reasons why:

  • It is durable.

    Concrete is hailed as one of the planet’s most durable materials. You can never go wrong when choosing it for your flooring. Of course, you should maintain it properly so that it can last for decades.

  • It offers easy maintenance.

    Maintaining flooring is often a deal-breaker for many people. If it takes a lot of work just to keep the floors in good condition, it is a big no. But unlike other materials, decorative concrete is so conveniently easy to maintain.

    For instance, let us say that you are torn between decorative concrete and hardwood. If you care about maintenance, you should certainly avoid the latter. Why? Hardwood is costly, especially with its sealing requirements. Also, the material is expensive itself, along with the installation. You could easily take a massive chunk out of the HomeBuilder grant if you select hardwood.

  • You have plenty of options in design.

    We’re almost halfway through 2020, and decorative concrete just keeps giving more unique styles and looks. From concrete overlays to weather-resistant designs, you cannot run out of choices.

    You get the benefit of craftsmanship with decorative concrete. As long as a reputable company installs it, you can select from a virtually unlimited colour palette. Applications will depend on your home, but they can be customised according to your wants and requirements.

  • The material used is affordable.

    Renovations and new builds are certainly expensive. As much as possible, you want to lower the costs so you can spend more money on other parts of the project. The good news is that you do not have to spend a fortune with decorative concrete floors. They compare favourably with other flooring materials, including ceramic and wood, especially considering the life of the floor.

    As mentioned above, you can incorporate different designs and patterns. You can truly save a lot of money if you want decorative flooring. This way, you do not have to switch to more expensive ones, such as slate or marble.

  • It is good for your health.

    Decorative concrete easily fits the renovation requirement in which the project should entail improvement on liveability. If you or a family member has asthma or any other respiratory ailments, you do not have to use carpets anymore. Instead of suffering from allergy-inducing fibres, you can switch to decorative concrete instead.

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Other Uses

Decorative concrete is not just for your flooring needs. You can use it on your kitchen benchtops, too. Just like with floors, you can personalise concrete, so it matches your existing décor.

Another option is to use the material for your bathroom. If you are tired of scrubbing the grout because of the accumulated mildew that does not seem to go away, you are not alone. It’s time to opt for a permanent remedy: renovate the showers with concrete.

Typically, it is trowelled on during installation, except there are no seams. Sealers are quite simple to maintain. The installer can add a non-slip material to help prevent accidents. It is also why decorative concrete is popularly used in pool surrounds.

Indeed, the scheme does not cover external jobs, such as garage improvements. However, if you are eligible, you can use the extra money you have to pay for these remodelling projects. Your garage floor is one of those areas that need attention. However, homeowners typically neglect this part of the house. After all, it is often viewed as an extension and just a place where cars are parked.

Your garage flooring needs care, too. Decorative concrete enhances not only the appearance of this section but also its durability.

With the constant exposure to heavy vehicles, the driveway should be made of flooring that can take such abuse. Talk to an expert about how you can use decorative concrete on your driveway or home flooring.

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