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Buying property in Brisbane



With its vibrant culture and affordable property market, Brisbane is fast becoming the city of choice with homebuyers. Whether you’re looking to invest or thinking of relocating to the sunshine state, there’s much you need to know about buying property in Brisbane before you dive in:

The five-day cooling off period

Homes purchased in Queensland are subject to a cooling off period of five business days, during which either party may cancel the contract. If a buyer terminates the agreement within the cooling off period, they must pay a penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price.

That said, cooling off periods do not apply to homes purchased at auction, on private treaties entered into within two days of an unsuccessful auction, or in cases where the buyer was a registered bidder at said auction.

To cancel a contract of sale, you must provide signed, written notice to the seller (or seller’s agent) by 5pm on the final day of the cooling off period.

The cooling off period can be waived or shortened if written notice is given.

Stamp duty

In Queensland, transfer duty (stamp duty) is set out in the Duties Act 2001 (Qld) and applies whenever you sell, buy or transfer a property. It’s up to you as the buyer to pay stamp duty within 30 days of signing a contract. The dutiable value of the property is calculated by considering the unencumbered value of the property, or the price you have agreed to purchase it for—whichever is higher.  

Transfer duty rates vary depending on this figure, and the Queensland State Government website has a helpful chart and calculator to assist you in determining the duty you’re likely to owe.

If you’re buying your first home or building on vacant land, you may be eligible for a transfer duty concession, which will reduce the amount you need to pay by a substantial amount (up to several thousand dollars).

In addition to the FHOG (see below), the transfer duty concession means no duty is payable or properties valued at less than $500,000 for first homebuyers, making Brisbane an excellent choice for those wishing to take that first step onto the property ladder.

Inspections

Building and pest inspections should be carried out by inspectors registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). You can check if your inspector is registered by entering their name or registration number into the tool at www.qbcc.qld.gov.au.  

Further inspection requirements apply if you’re buying a property that has a swimming pool. If the seller hasn’t obtained a pool safety certificate, they will need to provide you with a Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate (available on the QBCC website), and you’ll then have 90 days to organise one yourself with a registered inspector.  

Pool safety certificates are also required if you’re planning on renting the property out, and form part of the lease agreement. Pool safety certificates for non-shared pools are valid for two years, while for shared pools (such as in an apartment complex) they are valid for one year. Further information and a checklist for ensuring your pool meets safety standards can be found on the QBCC website or by contacting poolsafety@qbcc.qld.gov.au

Smoke alarms

This year, the Queensland Government introduced laws that will eventually require all homes bought and sold in the state to have photoelectric smoke alarms installed throughout.

Contact the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service at www.qfes.qld.gov.au or email SmokeAlarms@qfes.qld.gov.au for further information on this new legislation rollout.

First Home Owner’s Grant

If you’re a first-time buyer planning on buying or building a new home worth less than $750,000 you may be eligible for the state government’s First Home Owner’s Grant (FHOG). The grant has recently been boosted to $20,000 (until 30th June 2017), after which it will reduce to $15,000. You and your spouse (if you have one) must not have previously owned property in Australia, and you must an Australian citizen or permanent resident over 18 years of age to qualify.  

This grant is only available to owner occupiers, not investors, and you must move into the property within 12 months of its completion, and live there for at least six months. The grant is applicable to newly built homes, homes bought off the plan, and in some cases substantially renovated homes where all or most of the structural and/or non-structural components have been renovated or replaced.  

Still keen on buying in Brisbane? Click here for the inside scoop on living in the Queensland capital.