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Building Your Own HomeBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Australia - Building Your Own Home
It is possible to buy a plot of land and then have your dream home designed by an architect, or if you would prefer a newly built home without the hassle of arranging architects and builders then you can buy off plan from a property developer. Either way you can have some input in to the features you would like to have within the home.
As expats moving into Australia, if you have not yet been given a permanent resident’s status then permission to build your own home will be required prior to the start of planning or construction. You can apply for the permissions from the Foreign Investment Review Bureau (FIRB). You will be exempt from this only if you are a citizen of New Zealand.
Australia has very strict policies and rules that must be met when building a home. Each state has their own individual rules but the standard regulations are enforced countrywide and must be adhered to. All builders are regulated by the Builders Regulation Board which is an Act of Parliament. Only if the builders and contractors are properly licensed will they be allowed to build homes. You must ensure that any contractors or builders you use are properly licensed with the state you are building in.
It is possible to purchase land to build on at a later date, if for example financial reasons hold you up, but if you are a foreign buyer who does not have permanent residence status then you must have built on the land and have moved into the home within 2 years of the purchase. Foreign investors and/or those who do not have a permanent residence status can only purchase homes that are brand new, to be built or less than 12 months old but never lived in.
There are a few things to be wary of when purchasing land and home packages. Many of the properties you buy off plan will only include the land and the building costs. This is not an unusual occurrence in Australia. Some do not cover expenses such as preparing the area for building or laying foundations. Other hidden extras can include the cost of connecting to the mains services such as water and electrical cables. Some interior fixtures and fittings can also be classed as extras depending on which builders or developers you are using. Such additional hidden costs can increase your budget by tens of thousands of dollars.
Where possible, it is wise to use the services of builders and developers who offer a ‘turnkey’ service which means you are paying a fixed price for the whole job and then the home will be ready to move into, exactly to your specifications. When buying off plan, it is also a good idea to discuss with your property developer any extras you might need prior to the job starting so that you can be quoted in advance for the additional works.
When building a home in Australia, no matter which region you choose to live, you should be aware of the fact that the Australian government is striving for improvements in environmental issues. This means that homes that are to be built to an eco-friendly standard are highly encouraged. The use of solar panels for heating homes and providing hot water is one of the most popular ways to cut down on energy bills in Australia, and as the country sees a high percentage of days with sunlight per year, it is possible to use solar panels to great effect almost all year round.
Buying land and property in Australia is subject to stamp duty, just as it would be in the UK. The tax amount is a percentage of the value of the home and this varies from state to state. If you are buying land to build a home then the stamp duty is only applicable to the cost of the land. If you were buying a new home then the stamp duty would be applicable to the cost of both the house and land. This in effect means that by building your own home you can save large amounts of money by not paying as much stamp duty.
If you have permanent residency status you may be eligible for some state government grants. There may also be some provisions which allow you to purchase land or property without having to pay stamp duty. The grants and incentives usually only apply to first time buyers. The grants and incentives available vary from state to state and certain restrictions will apply.
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