New home & house inspections in 2021

Find out what the rules are in your state around open home inspections before purchase. With different restrictions for each state you'll want to be across these!

Article up to date as of January 2021

As with various aspects of life, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we are used to doing many things. So it is not surprising that COVID-19 has affected auctions and house inspections across Australia as new rules and guidelines are being established. 

With restrictions in each state varying across the nation, it can be difficult to keep up with what you can and can’t do at property inspections anymore. To help understand the new rules and guidelines around property inspections, we have created a breakdown of the rules you may need to follow in each state. 

New Home & House Inspection Rules by State 2020

After the extensive restrictions place in Victoria in 2020, the Victorian government has introduced a ‘COVIDSafe Summer’ initiative that has been in place as of the 6th of December. 

This initiative has the following restrictions1 in place that relate directly to attending a home inspection or auction: 

  • You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • A face mask must be worn in all indoor public settings, including attending a home inspection. 
  • Home inspections must apply the two square metre rule to give people enough room to maintain 1.5m distance between them.
  • There are no group limits for attending home inspections.
  • Real estate agents must keep records of people attending an inspection or auction via electronic record keeping. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in Victoria. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

COVID-19 has impacted the way businesses across various sectors in New South Wales operate, including how auctions and house inspections are run. 

After a spike in COVID cases during the holiday period at the end of 2020 the NSW Government has introduced new restrictions across the Greater Sydney areas that affect directly to house inspections. 

The key health guidelines2 to consider when attending an auction or home inspection include:

  • Maintain physical distancing of greater than 2m, 4m in Greater Sydney. Property inspections must follow these physical distance rules when managing capacity.  In the event where the number of people will exceed the applicable square metre rule in the house, you will be expected to wait in an open space. 
  • Good hygiene is promoted on the premises, including the use of available hand sanitiser 
  • Providing personal information that will be collected and recorded for up to 28 days including full name and mobile number or email address
  • Only attend inspections if you are genuinely in the market for a new home
  • Do not attend a property if you’re experiencing any symptoms of illness
  • Refrain from handling any objects inside the property and where appropriate wash hands or apply hand sanitiser before and after handling objects. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in New South Wales. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

As of 3 July 2020, the Queensland government has eased the rules regarding auctions and open home inspections. 

Despite the rules being relaxed, if you are looking to attend a house inspection in Queensland it is important to understand that the following guidelines3 are still in place: 

  • There is no limit on the number of people who can attend a home inspection.
  • Personal data such as full name and mobile number or email address will be collected for potential COVID-19 tracing purposes
  • All attendees must adhere to strict hygiene standards and social distancing. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in Queensland. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

The ACT government reintroduced auctions and house inspections on the 8th of May along with some guidelines to combat the effects of COVID-19. Since then they have announced further easing of restrictions as attending house inspections in the ACT attempts to slowly get back to normal. 

As of the 9th of October 2020 the following guidelines4 are still in place and should be taken into account when you are attending a home inspection in the ACT:

  • No more than 25 people (excluding staff) are to be inside the house at any one time, however, more than 25 people are allowed if there is enough space for one person per 4 square metres up to a maximum of 200 people
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres
  • Stay home if unwell
  • Provide first name and phone number to be recorded along with the date and time of inspection for 28 days. 
  • Do not congregate in large groups. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in the ACT. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

In South Australia, house inspections and auctions recommenced on the 11th May 2020 with specific COVID-19 guidelines in place to ensure all attendees comply with the requirements established by the SA government. 

The following rules5 are in place in SA to assist in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and must be adhered to:

  • Only 1 person per 2 square metres (excluding staff) are allowed in the home, with the maximum number of attendees being determined by the size of the home. 
  • Personal information must be collected that includes the time and date of inspection, the name of each person that attended and their mobile number or email address. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in the ACT. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

The WA government’s response to COVID-19 has been in the form of a roadmap that advises all restrictions and limitations in each phase. As of the 27th of June, Western Australia has entered phase 4 and does not currently have any date in place as to when they will move into phase 5. 

Under phase 4 of WA’s COVID-19 roadmap, auctions and house inspections are allowed to be conducted with the following conditions6 applied: 

  • The limit on the number of people allowed to attend is determined by the 2 square metre per person rule
  • All attendees must practice physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres from other people 
  • Attendees should practice good personal hygiene. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in the Western Australia. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

In the Northern Territory, house inspections and auctions were permitted to be held as of the 1st of May 2020. 

Since the 5th of June 2020, the NT government has announced that they are moving into stage 3 of their COVID-19 restrictions. This stages involves an ease of previous restrictions, meaning that although you are still able to attend a house inspection you must adhere to these principles

  • Physical distancing of 1.5 metres minimum should occur between yourself and any other person at the inspection you do not know. 
  • If needing to face another person at a distance closer than 1.5 metres, this contact should be less than 15 minutes. 
  • Avoid touching your face and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow in order to maintain good hygiene practices. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in the Northern Territory. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

Tasmania has experienced many changes to they way house inspections are run and how they expect people to behave when attending. 

The Tasmanian government has developed “sector workplace guidelines” for many industries, including real estate. These guidelines outline the rules and regulations that must be followed by businesses to be considered having an adequate “COVID-19 Safety Plan” in place before they can reopen. 

Under stage 1 on the 18th of May, the Tasmanian government released the real estate sector guidelines that include the following rules in relation to house inspections:

  • When attending house inspections you are encouraged to not attend with any family or friends who do not reside with you. 
  • Explore virtual property tours when available to shorten the time you spend at a house inspection
  • Provide personal information such as name and mobile number or email address to assist with contact tracing
  • Refrain from unnecessary touching of items within the property
  • Maintain 1.5 metres physical distance with other
  • Expect queueing arrangements outside the property in the event of a large attendance for an inspection. 

If you are looking to attend a home inspection for your first home, you may be eligible for the First home owners grant in Tasmania. To find out more and how much you could save click here.

We are here to help

If you’re entering the property market during this time, it’s important to understand these changes to house inspections, however, although things are different, auctions and home inspections are occurring throughout the country. 

When planning to visit an open home, ensure you are prepared by speaking with your local Mortgage Choice broker to get expert advice, and understand what you can borrow.

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1 https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/homes-and-property
2 https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe/auctions-and-open-houses
3 https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/business-activity-undertaking-direction
4 https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/what-you-can-do/faqs-changes-to-restrictions/real-estate-auction-houses-body-corporates
5 https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/activities-and-gatherings
6 https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-wa-roadmap
7 https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/roadmap-new-normal
8 https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/covid-19-safe-workplaces-framework/sectors-workplace-guidelines



Posted in: Property market