The Federal Government has unveiled its HomeBuilder package, offering $25,000 for people to upgrade or build their homes. The scheme’s primary goal is to support Australian homeowners and the Australian construction sector.
Under the program, individuals or couples who are building or renovating their homes can apply for a single payment of $25,000 between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020.
- You need to be an adult Australian citizen with a taxable income less than $125,000 a year. If you live with your partner, your combined income has to be less than $200,000 per year;
- Before the end of the year, you need to enter a contract to renovate or build your main place of residence, with construction to begin within three months of the contract date (no investment properties);
- For renovations, you need to spend between $150,000 and $750,000 of your own money, and the house you’re renovating must be valued at less than $1.5 million prior to renovations;
- Renovations need to improve the accessibility, safety or liveability of the home and don’t include external work like swimming pools, tennis courts and sheds;
- For new builds, the total value of the completed home needs to be less than $750,000, including land.
Here are some great renovation ideas that can improve the livability of your home:
- Add insulation to accessible floor, wall, door, window and roof sections. Replace garage doors with high performance units appropriate for the climate, such as insulated garage door. Insulation can help keep your home at a more comfortable temperature and gives you that extra space by utilising your garage for a home office, rumpus room, workshop or gym.
- Ensure high levels of controllable natural ventilation or fans in rooms that are difficult to ventilate. Louvre garage doors or sectional garage doors with windows can give a high level of airflow combined with natural light to your garage.
- Remove carpet or other insulative coverings on slabs and replace with tiles or polished concrete finishes to expose thermal mass, in locations where exposed thermal mass is desirable.
- Install thermal mass in rooms that have little or none and are exposed to passive heating or cooling, e.g. dark coloured, sealed water containers or phase change materials in solar or breeze exposed positions.
- Install fans that ventilate your roof space in summer and can be sealed in winter.
- Draught seal the whole building, including brush seals for your garage door.
- Install a solar or energy efficient hot water service.
- Replace low efficiency lighting with LED or other efficient lighting.
- Consider installing rooftop renewable energy generation.
- Consider a ducted vacuum system to remove toxins and allergens from the home to an externally mounted receptor.
- To renovate your kitchen: choose low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) materials with E0 or better finishes.
- To renovate your bathroom: choose toilets, showers and taps with the highest WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) star rating.
With careful planning, thoughtful design and a considered choice of builder, you will be able to better use the $25k government grants and improve your home’s livability and sustainability.