In the latest part in our series of jargon busting articles to help you navigate the Scottish property market, we take a look at the Home Report.
Although Home Reports were introduced almost ten years ago they will still be unfamiliar to many people who are relocating to Scotland, or who just haven’t bought or sold a property in the last decade.
So why were Home Reports introduced, what information is in them, and what else do buyers and sellers need to be aware of?
Home Reports were introduced in 2008 to achieve a number of aims:
- To provide better information about the condition of properties to both buyers and sellers, and thus improve the quality of housing;
- To address the issue of multiple surveys or valuations being carried out on a single property;
- To reduce the number of cases where artificially low asking prices were set.
If you are selling a second-hand home for sale in Scotland you are legally required to have a Home Report in place. It is paid for by the seller and should be made available to any interested buyers within nine working days. In practise, buyers can usually get the report instantly from property websites like ESPC.
What is in a Home Report
The Home Report is split into three sections.
The single survey is carried out by a surveyor and provides an assessment of the condition of the home including the internal and external walls, plumbing and kitchen fittings. It also provides a valuation of the property as well as an accessibility audit for those with special requirements.
The energy report is also produced by the surveyor and provides the property with a Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. The higher the energy efficiency rating, the more efficient the property is therefore lowering the likely price of fuel bills. The EPC will normally make recommendations on how this rating could be improved, and also details the environmental impact of the home in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.
The Property Questionnaire (PQ), completed by the seller, provides additional information about the property including its council tax band, whether there is a factor, any alterations that have been made, parking arrangements and whether there are additional living costs attached to the property.
Other useful information
As a seller there are a couple of important things to bear in mind. Firstly, some smaller surveyors will not be on the panel for many lenders. This means that your buyer’s lender may not accept the Report, leaving you to incur the cost of a second Home Report from a surveyor who is on their panel. A good solicitor estate agent will be able to order your Home Report from an established surveyor who is on the major lenders’ panels to help you avoid this situation.
It’s also important to note that whilst Home Reports do not have an expiry date, most lenders will not accept a Report that is more than 90 days old. In these circumstances a refresh will be required, and this is typically paid for by the seller.
From a buyer’s perspective, it’s important in the first instance to read the report thoroughly. Your solicitor will be able to help you with any questions you may have but ultimately the Home Report is a document for the buyer so it’s important that you understand everything that is in there to avoid any surprises.
It’s also important for buyers to be aware of what is not in the Home Report. If you are buying a flat, for example, you will normally find that the roof was simply inspected from street level meaning that it can be well worth your while, especially with older building, to order a specialist roof report.
If you have questions about Home Reports or any other aspect of buying or selling a property in Scotland, feel free to contact Warners today on 0131 667 0232 and one of our team will be delighted to help.