Concerned about buying from an owner builder? Here’s what you need to know – fast!
Ask the Inspector, Building Inspection Tips

Buying from an “Owner Builder” in Queensland – Implications for Buyers

You have done it – you’ve found the house of your dreams! It’s got everything you’ve been looking for – it’s spacious, great garden, beautiful outlook and room to grow. But there’s a potential catch. During the purchasing process, you have discovered that the majority of renovations (or at least a couple of them) were undertaken by an owner builder.

What are the implications for you? And should this be a deterrent when it comes to purchasing your forever home?

What is the Owner Builder Licence in Queensland?  

It’s important to know whether the owner was an actual builder or if the renovations were done by someone with a short course (and a lust for Bunnings) under their belt.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission makes allowances for certified owner builders to undergo home based projects. To qualify, they must have been the recipient of an owner builder permit. You can find information about that process here.

In broad strokes, the owner builder must have undergone the following:

  • Work must have been carried out that was outlined in the permit
  • They must have used licensed contractors
  • They must have appropriate occupational licences for works

As it stands, owner builder work is fine when it comes to considering making your purchase IF they have gone through the appropriate channels and they’ve got the qualifications and certificates required to back them up.

What If The Owner Builder DIDN’T Follow This Process? 

This is where your building and pest inspection company comes in. Due diligence will uncover the scope of the renovations and should be able to provide you with a complete picture of the works that went on. Anything ‘dodgy’ will quickly be uncovered and you’ll be able to present that information back to the owners, accompanied with a very clear ‘please explain’ highlighting any problematic issues. 

Works undergone by a non-professional will put you at risk when it comes to purchasing your new home. You have no guarantee that the work was done professionally or appropriately, and you’ll be opening the door for potential mishaps and potentially large cash outlays to fix any underlying problems. 

Bunnings and the power of shows like ‘The Block’ have opened the door to many lay people assuming that once they get the right tools, they’ll be able to do their own renovations. This simply is not true, and it leaves you, the potential purchaser, with a difficult decision.

Do your research. Talk to the experts. Know the property you’re buying as well as its past. 

Want to get the ball rolling? Start the process for your property building and pest inspection quote right here!  


About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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