In Scotland, a Home Report is a document that provides information about the condition, energy efficiency, and value of a property.
The Home Report is designed to provide all the info a home buyer might need to decide which property they want to purchase.
If you're selling your home you'll need to put a Home Report together as part of the marketing materials. And, if a buyer asks to see it, you'll have to make sure they get a copy within 9 days of their request.
Home reports were introduced in Scotland in 2008 as a compulsory part of the home sale process, in an attempt to provide more accurate and transparent information for buyers. Now, all homes being sold are required to have a Home Report before they go on the market.
If you try and sell your property without a Home Report, you can be fined up to £500.
Some types of properties don't need a Home Report, but these are fairly rare. The exceptions include:
Houses that have been on sale since before 1 Dec 2008
New homes that are being sold 'off plan', or have never been lived in before
Newly converted properties that haven't been used yet
Dual-use properties - for example, a shop with a flat above it
Seasonal holiday homes that can only be used at certain times of the year
A property bought through the Right to Buy scheme
Flats that aren't fit to live in, or are going to be demolished
Note: Even exempt properties will still need to have an Energy Performance Certificate done before they can be sold.
You're also able to choose not to give a buyer your Home Report if:
You don't believe the buyer is seriously interested
You don't believe the buyer has enough money to purchase the property
You would prefer not to sell to that buyer
However, you must be very careful about choosing not to give someone your Home Report. You must have a legitimate reason to believe the buyer is not an acceptable candidate. You're not allowed to discriminate on illegal grounds (such as: race, gender, sex, marital status, disability, or religion).
If someone believes you've withheld the Home Report from them without good reason, they are within their rights to complain to their local Trading Standards Office, and you may be fined.
If you're unsure, it's always best to talk to your selling agent first. They'll be able to provide advice tailored to your specific situation.
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Home Reports typically include 3 main parts:
A Single Survey & Valuation
Each section provides detailed information about your property, which potential buyers will use to help them make an informed decision about making an offer.
Single Survey & Valuation
The Single Survey section provides information on: the condition of the property, a estimation of how much it's worth, and an accessibility audit for people with particular needs.
The survey should be conducted by a licensed surveyor, and is generally just a visual inspection of the property. From this visit they'll assess the condition of different elements of your house using 3 categories:
1 - No immediate repair / good condition
2 - Will need attention in the future
3 - Urgent repairs needed / risk to safety
If your Home Report returns with any urgent repairs, it may be worth fixing these before you put your house on the market. Some buyers can be put off by large, and potentially costly work on a property, or they might ask for a discount on the asking price.
The second section of the Home Report is the Property Questionnaire, which you'll fill out with the help of your selling agent or conveyancer.
It provides information on 16 different categories, including:
The property's council tax band
Any issues that may have affected the home in the past, like fire damage, or asbestos
Any alterations or extensions
Information on any notices that might affect the home
Any charges for the upkeep of communal areas
If you're unsure about what information to provide at any stage, make sure you double check with your conveyancer or selling agent. Information provided in the questionnaire has to be as accurate and honest as possible, or you could face legal issues in the future.
The final section of the Home Report is the Energy Report. This report provides information about your home's energy efficiency, in the form of an Energy Performance Certificate (also known as an EPC).
The higher the rating your property gets on this section, the more energy efficient it is. This is particularly appealing for potential buyers, because a high rating also means lower energy bills.
This section will also provide more detailed info on how well insulated your property is, how it's heated, it's estimated carbon dioxide emissions, and recommendations on how you could improve the property's energy efficiency.
If you've hired a selling agent to help you, they'll be responsible for putting the Home Report together, and giving it to any interested buyers.
The Single Survey and Energy Report sections must be carried out by a qualified surveyor, so if you're not selling with an agent, you'll have to find and commission your own surveyor. The first place to look for one is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors website (RICS), which provides lists all the registered surveyors in your area.
Home Reports usually cost between £500-£700 plus VAT (depending on size and value of your property), and are paid for by the homeseller.
You are allowed to charge people a small amount if they request to see the report. This is to help cover some of the cost, and it puts off buyers from just 'window shopping'.
If a buyer is applying for a mortgage, they might have to get a new valuation done by their chosen lender. Additionally some buyers will want to have a second opinion survey done by a surveyor of their choice. In these cases, the buyer will need to cover the costs.
Avoid paying more to include a 'mortgage valuation' in your home report. You're not obligated to include one, and most lenders in Scotland will usually want to use their own surveyor anyway, so they won't end up using it.
You'll find more information on selling a property in Scotland on our blog. Head there now.
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