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If you find a home you're interested in, ask the seller or their solicitor or estate agent for a Home Report. If it's public knowledge the house is for sale - it should have a home report.
This is a document that tells you what you need to know about the house. It's split into three parts – a single survey and valuation, a property questionnaire and an energy report.
A seller or selling agent must give you a Home Report within nine days of you asking for it. If they don't give you the report within nine days, you can contact your local council's trading standards services.
Single survey and valuation
This section, based on a visual inspection by a chartered surveyor, tells you about the home, its condition, its accessibility and any repairs you may need to carry out.
It also gives a valuation (an opinion on how much the home is worth).
If any of the repairs are marked as urgent or needing future attention, you should consider whether you can cope with the cost or inconvenience of the repair works.
If you feel you can cope with the repairs, you should get estimates for how much they'll cost before proceeding. If you don't think you can cope with the repairs and don't want to buy the home any more you can walk away at this stage without penalty.
This section of the Home Report is a questionnaire covering 16 different categories. This is designed to give you more information about the home.
These categories include:
- the home's council tax band
- any issues that may have affected the home in the past, like fire or storm damage or asbestos
- any alterations or extensions that have been made to the home
- details of any specialist works or guarantees
- details of any notices that might affect the home
This section of the Home Report gives information on the home's energy efficiency in the form of an Energy Performance Certificate.
This tells you about energy use and roughly how much it'll cost you on average for heating, lighting and hot water.
It also rates the house's environmental impact in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.
It also gives you contact details for advice on how to make your home more energy efficient and save fuel costs.
There are some exceptional situations when a seller can choose not to give you a Home Report.
They can only refuse to give you a Home Report if:
- they don't believe you are seriously interested in buying their home
- they don't believe you have enough money
- they would prefer not to sell their house to you (though they can't discriminate against you for illegal reasons)
There are also certain types of home that don't need a Home Report. These include:
- houses that have been on the market since before 1 December 2008
- new houses that are being sold off-plan or to the first occupier
- newly converted homes that haven't been used in their converted state yet
- dual-use homes used for both residential and non-residential purposes
- seasonal holiday homes that can only be used at certain times of the year (not second or holiday homes you could use all year if you wanted)
If a home doesn't need a Home Report, the seller must still give you an Energy Performance Certificate.
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Beginner’s Guide To a Home Report
- Beginner’s Guide To a Home…
What Does A Home Report Consist Of?
- A Single Survey
- An Energy Report
- A Property Questionnaire
To help you understand what each of these entails, here’s a breakdown for you:
The Single Survey This is designed to assess the condition of the home in question, providing information on the roof, walls, plumbing, fittings, and more. A valuation is also included, alongside an accessibility audit for those with specific needs.
The Energy Report
Knowing a property’s energy efficiency rating is crucial for buyers when looking to buy a home. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient a home is. This meaning lower energy costs which is often a big incentive when purchasing a new home.
The Property Questionnaire
This contains additional useful information on the property, including parking arrangements, alterations, whether there are extra costs, and more. This gives buyers a greater insight into the home, helping them to make a more informed decision on a home.
Despite many being reluctant to make use of home reports initially, buyers eventually embraced when they saw the many benefits of them. Although a mortgage valuation isn’t required under the home report, it is a prerequisite for buyers to get a mortgage on a property.
Though not compulsory, mortgage valuations are offered by professionals who specialise in home report preparation . Reputable companies recognise the importance of mortgage valuations, which are prepared with the buyer and seller’s best interests. Without a mortgage valuation, sellers need to commission a separate home report, which costs additional time and money, but can cost a sale too.
What Should Sellers Consider When Selecting a Surveyor to Prepare a Home Report?
- Local Knowledge: The surveyor of choice will be knowledgeable and experienced.
- Pricing: You get what you pay for. Obtaining a cheap report is risky, and can crucially effect the sale of your home. Well-trained professionals come at a premium, but are well worth it considering the importance of your venture.
- Independence: Surveyors must remain independent of sellers and buyers, to avoid influence/bias.
- Reliability: Mainstream firms are renowned for their reliability, particularly through their strong relationships with surveyors and solicitors.
- Quality: Fully qualified surveyors are equipped to provide comprehensive reports. They are trusted by all parties involved, which adds value to the selling process.
How Much Does It Cost?
Home reports generally cost between £500 and £700, and sellers are entitled to charge buyers a small sum for the report. Though sellers can arrange for buyers to cover the cost of a survey upon completion, there is no legal requirement to do so.
Who Receives the Home Report?
A home report must be sent within nine days of request. Anyone who is interested in buying a home must receive a copy, however if a seller determines the buyer isn’t serious or can’t afford the property, they may decide not to send a report. If you put a property up for sale, you must provide a home report for potential buyers, though there are exemptions.
If you are a seller looking to obtain a home report, there are several reputable providers who you can go to to have one created.
When a home report highlights problems, sellers can fix the issues under their own volition, but aren’t required to do anything. Sellers must however understand how defects can affect the price they get for their property. This is advantageous for buyers, who prior to home reports were exploited through insufficient honest information being available. Sellers can ask their surveyors for advice regarding whether it’s worth correcting problems at hand.
I hope you have found this article informative, and have a better understanding of how home reports benefit buyers and sellers. If you have any questions or would like to continue the conversation, please comment below or connect with us here .
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What is a Home Report
What is a Home Report?
A home report is a document which every seller of residential property in Scotland is required to produce prior to putting the property onto the market. The Home Report itself is produced by a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and should be a Registered Valuer. They are designed to give buyers useful and necessary information regarding any property they are considering buying. Home Reports provide peace of mind for everyone involved and ensure nobody is left in the dark once a property transaction is underway. Home reports make things fairer and ensure there are no nasty surprises waiting for a buyer after they have purchased a property. They must be produced by qualified chartered surveyors like Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). A home report is valid until the property is sold; however, do bear in mind that if your property is on the market for some time, a replacement home report may be required to ensure all of the information being imparted to the buyer is up to date.
What’s in the Home Report?
A home report consists of four separate documents:
The Single Survey
This is essentially a report on the general condition of the property and takes several things into account. With Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, the aim is to be thorough, and this includes an assessment of everything from windows to gutters, from walls to the roof. The single survey also includes an audit for accessibility, which assesses whether the property is suitably equipped for those with special needs. Each component assessed will be given a conditional rating which ranges from 1.) – satisfactory – to a 3.) – essential work is required. By collating this data, the single survey then provides a valuation of the property in its current condition and a sum for the purposes of Insurance.
The Energy Report
With Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, an energy report includes information on the general energy efficiency of your property and helpful recommendations for improving that efficiency. Your property will be provided with an Energy Performance Certificate, which will rate the energy efficiency of the house and provide an estimate of annual energy costs for the buyer. The Energy Report will also assess your property’s overall environmental impact.
This is provided for the benefit of any Bank or Building Society which may be used by the buyer to secure a mortgage on your property. It provides a summary of the Single Survey so the bank or building society can see how the surveyor would report to a lender. Watch out for home report quotes and deals that appear very cheap. Surveyors purporting to sell home reports for under £200 especially will not include a mortgage valuation, which effectively renders these types of surveys useless when going to lenders, as it won’t be accepted. Meaning you need to commission a home report from a reputable surveyor anyway.
The property sellers will complete a questionnaire about the property to provide further helpful information to prospective buyers. We can all think of things which may not be obvious from any official survey, but which might be important for a buyer to know. Accordingly, this includes things like council tax bands, planning permission or heating plans, access rights, damp issues, work guarantees and more. Making a buyer aware of these elements provides peace of mind and helps everything go more smoothly.
Typical Home Report Cost
Every property is different, and home report prices will vary depending on a number of factors, not least the size and location of the property. Shepherd Chartered Surveyors typically charge from £300 + VAT for properties under £100,000 in value. As the most common value of residential property in Scotland is between £100,000 and £200,000 a typical Home Report cost in this value range will be around £350-£400 + VAT. The final cost depends predominantly on various factors such as value, age, condition, size and location. Contact us below for a free quote today and one of our team will respond within 24 hours.
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Do I Really Need a Home Report?
Quite simply, a home report is required by law. Anyone in Scotland who puts a property on the market will have to provide a home report carried out by a chartered surveyor. Your home report doesn’t necessarily need to satisfy the buyer: if everything is done properly and a home report is provided, it is then the buyer’s responsibility to enlist their own surveyor if they are not satisfied. Some properties are exempt from a home report, these include new builds which a developer is placing on the market for the first time and newly converted homes which have not yet been used in their converted state.
Why Use Shepherds
Shepherd Chartered Surveyors are quite simply one of the most reputable teams of chartered surveyors around. The leader in the Scottish property industry, our origins date back to the 18th century. We have branches located right across the country, meaning we can provide you with a home report, at a competitive price, no matter how remote your property is. Nobody can offer you the same level of local market knowledge as Shepherds, our wealth of experience, proven industry expertise and vast network of offices stand testament to that.
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How to use a Home Report when buying a property
When a home is put up for sale in Scotland, it is legally required for the seller to have a Home Report conducted. This is a document that is then made available to prospective buyers to provide more in-depth information about the property.
It’s important to fully understand the contents of the document in order to decide whether the property is right for you.
Laura McFadzean, Director and Solicitor at ELP Arbuthnott McClanachan, explains what a Home Report is and how to use one to help you decide whether to put in an offer and how much for.
What is a Home Report?
A Home Report is made up of three parts:
(1) Single Survey by a surveyor
This is a report on the internal and external condition of the property and contains a valuation of the property. There is often also a Mortgage Valuation Report by the surveyor which can be used by mortgage lenders.
(2) Energy Performance Certificate
This gives the property an energy efficiency rating, an environmental impact rating, and provides information on the estimated energy costs of the property and actions which could be taken to improve its energy efficiency.
(3) Property Questionnaire
This is completed by the seller (or sometimes the seller’s agents), giving information on the property which will be helpful for prospective purchasers, in particular for the eventual purchaser of the property.
What should I look out for in a Home Report?
Home report valuation.
The valuation of the property in the Single Survey is very important, as it will frame the seller’s expectations for the sale price of the property, and prospective purchasers will use it as a benchmark in determining how much to offer for the property.
The eventual sale price will depend on market conditions and the level of interest in the property. If there is a good level of interest in the property, particularly in the first few weeks of marketing, it is likely to sell for over the Home Report valuation, but if the property has been on the market for a while with little interest, it is likely to sell for around Home Report valuation or less.
It's worth noting that the Home Report valuation and price the property is being marketed at are often two different figures. The Home Report valuation is an independent estimate and therefore gives the clearest picture when it comes to deciding how much to offer.
Single Survey category repairs
The Single Survey contains information on the features and condition of various parts of the property, and the building of which it is part (if applicable). Each aspect of the property is given a category rating of 1, 2 or 3.
Category 1 indicates that no immediate action or repair is needed. Category 2 means that repair or replacement will be required in future and it is recommended that estimated costs are obtained prior to purchase. Category 3 means that urgent repair or replacement is required immediately and estimated costs should be obtained prior to purchase.
It is important to read through this information carefully to understand what work is required/recommended for the property and how urgently this work is needed. You can then discuss with your solicitor whether to obtain estimates for the cost of the work, and at what stage those estimates should be obtained. It is possible that the seller may already have obtained estimates which can be made available to you.
Home Report Energy Rating
The energy rating of a property may not be the first thing a prospective purchaser thinks about when deciding the level of offer to make for a property (or indeed whether or not to make an offer), but a property with a low energy rating can be expensive to run and bad for the environment. The cost of improvements could be significant, so this should be factored in when considering how much (or whether) to offer.
Factoring and council tax costs
The Property Questionnaire will contain details of the Council Tax Band and the factoring costs (if applicable). This information will be very useful for planning your budget, but please bear in mind that it may not be accurate.
The current Council Tax Band of any property can be found on the Scottish Assessors’ Association website and the seller’s solicitors will obtain information from the factors during the course of the sale which will be provided to your solicitors. If this does not confirm the level of the factoring charges then your solicitors can ask the seller’s solicitors to obtain this information from the factors.
On ESPC you can download the Home Report for any property directly on the property page, a feature not available on most other property websites.
So, now that you know exactly what a Home Report is and how to put them to use, it’s time to start searching for your dream property on ESPC and downloading Home Reports!
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