The Home Report system in Scotland was introduced back in 2008, and this meant that buyers would have access to all the information on a property before proceeding with an offer and ultimately a purchase. Many people are unsure of what the Home Report entails – especially those purchasing their first home, or moving after being in their home for many years. Here’s a quick guide to help you to understand the report.
The seller is responsible for paying for a Home Report to be produced about their property. This is required before a property is put on the market and is essential when selling your home.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, new and off-plan properties, newly converted premises, seasonal or holiday accommodation, unsafe properties, commercial properties and dual use homes used for residential and non-residential purposes are all exempt.
The Home Report is made up of three documents which aim to give prospective buyers a comprehensive understanding of the condition of the property. The documents include:
A single survey is carried out by a surveyor reports on the general condition of the property. This could flag up problems such as the roof, damp, structural or timber defects). This includes an accessibility audit for those with particular needs. A market valuation will also be provided for the buyer to obtain a mortgage.
An energy report will show the efficiency of the property, and looks at its environmental impact. It will also provide recommendations on how the property could be made more energy efficient.
The Property questionnaire is completed by the seller of the property and contains additional information which may be useful to a prospective buyer – council tax banding, any alternations made to the house, any factoring costs etc.
When the property is put on the market, the Home Report should be no more than 12 weeks old when the property is put on the market.
If you are interested in buying a property you can obtain a copy from either the estate agent handling the sale or from the seller. There may be a charge, and if the estate agent or seller thinks that you may not be able to afford the house, aren’t interest in buying the property or the seller doesn’t wish to sell the house to you, your request could be refused.
Unfortunately, buyers can’t contact the surveyor who carried out the single survey to ask any additional questions. This is because the surveyor is obliged to provide exactly the same information to anyone who requests the Home Report and it can’t be guaranteed that the answers to questions from one individual will reach all of the recipients.
You should find all the necessary information contained within the Home Report, including a market valuation, but some solicitors will advise buyers to pay for their own independent survey and valuation to be carried out. This sometimes occurs when it comes to getting mortgage lenders to accept the valuation. They’ll have a list of approved surveyors and if the surveyor who did the valuation listed in the Home Report for the property you are interested in isn’t approved, they could request that their own survey is carried out by an approved surveyor.