Pre-Purchase House Inspections and Owner Builder Defect Reports -Who Needs One and When?

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Pre-Purchase House Inspections and Owner Builder Defect Reports -Who Needs One and When?

Are you house-hunting? You’re probably already aware that an important step in purchasing a home is doing your due diligence and organising a building and pest inspection from a reputable company, before you make an offer on a property.

Perhaps you’ve heard that an owner builder defect report (or a 137B) must be provided by a vendor as part of the Section 32 documents.

If you haven’t bought a property before, you may be uncertain about these two documents. Are they the same? Do I need both if I’m buying a home or selling my home?

Let’s look at how each type of inspection differs and how to decide which one is appropriate.

Pre-Purchase House Inspections:

  • Are organised by you, the buyer, before you make an offer on a property. There is no legal requirement for this to happen, though some lending institutions make it a condition of the mortgage agreement that you have one before they will offer you a loan. This is to protect them in the event that you cannot meet your repayments and the property needs to be sold.
  • Are conducted BEFORE any money or documentation changes hands. A pre-purchase house inspection or a combined building and pest inspection should be organised after you have viewed the property – you will want to make sure you are making a sound investment before you make an offer. If the property is being sold at auction, you must organise the inspection and arrange for the report before the auction date, to be fully informed before you make a bid. There is no cooling off period for a property bought at auction.
  • Are not admissible as evidence for insurance claims or warranties and can’t give specific advice on the extent of a problem or how much it would cost to repair. This is when a special purpose report is more appropriate.
  • Should be conducted by a qualified and experienced building professional – check your inspector’s qualifications before agreeing to the inspection.

Owner Builder Defect Reports

  • Are the responsibility of the vendor and must be supplied as part of Section 32 documentation if renovation works of any value have been completed within 6 years and 6 months of the works being completed. If this is you, find out more about owner builders’ responsibilities. This report must be accompanied by domestic building insurance if the value of the works is over $16,000.
  • Must be no older than six months at the time the property is sold
  • Can have legal ramifications in the event that the report is not provided (or contains incorrect information). It is an offence not to supply this report and can register a contract null and void if serious problems are found with the property which result from works not disclosed in the report.
  • Can ONLY be issued by a suitably qualified building practitioner such as building surveyor, building inspector or engineer. You are entitled to verify your inspector’s professional credentials if you are an owner-builder who needs this type of report.

The Home Inspection Hub have a friendly sales and booking team who can advise you on what type of inspection best fits your requirements.

We are established in the residential building inspection marketplace with a team of qualified and experienced inspectors.

In addition to pre purchase house inspections and owner builder defect reports, we conduct all stages of new home construction inspections, special purpose reports and a range of specialised services including tax depreciation schedules, contract review and VCAT reports and expert witness testimony.

Our remote office is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Call on 1300 071 283 or email

We also offer a free quote service.