Using a Home Report When Buying a Property
29 November 2021
When a property is put up for sale in Scotland, it is a legal requirement for the seller to have a Home Report conducted. This document is then made available to prospective buyers to provide more in-depth information about the property.
It is important to completely understand the contents of the document to decide whether the property is right for you.
Laura McFadzean, Director and Solicitor, explains what a Home Report is and how to make use of one when deciding if you want to make an offer on a property.
What is a Home Report?
A Home Report is split into three parts:
1. Single Survey by a surveyor
This is a report on the internal and external condition of the property and includes a valuation of the property. There is also often a Mortgage Valuation Report by the surveyor which can be used by mortgage lenders.
2. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An EPC gives the property in question an energy efficiency rating, and 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
The property questionnaire 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 To Look Out for in a Home Report
Home Report Valuation
The valuation of the property in the Single Survey is extremely 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 substantial amount of interest in the property, especially 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 is worth noting, 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 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 urgent repair or replacement is required immediately and estimated costs should be obtained prior to purchase.
It is essential you read through this information carefully to understand what work is required/recommended for the property and how urgently it may be needed.
Home Report Energy Rating
The energy rating might not be the first thing a prospective purchaser thinks about when deciding the level of offer to make for a property (or indeed whether 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 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 extremely useful for planning your budget, but bear in mind that it may not always 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.