Buying a new house is the biggest financial commitment that most of us will make, and it’s in the interest of both home buyers and sellers to have the best possible information about a perspective new home before putting in an offer.
From the 1st of December 2008 residential properties put on sale in Scotland have to be marketed with a ‘home report’.
Commissioned by the seller, the home report provides prospective buyers with detailed professional information about the condition and value of the property right at the start of the transaction. Giving sellers a realistic expectation of the condition and value of their property and allowing buyers to make an informed decision before putting in an offer and what that offer should be.
The introduction of the home report means that buying a home in Scotland works even better for consumers. Buyers no longer have to waste time and money on mortgage valuation reports on properties where they are unsuccessful. It also provides greater certainty on timescales and a purchase price. In particular, first time buyers (the life blood of the housing market), especially benefit from the home report. Many of whom previously may have had to spend hundreds to find out if they can or indeed should, buy a home.
The home report, which has been designed to suit the Scottish housing market, contains three elements.
The single survey provides a detailed report about condition and value of a home before its marketed for sale. The single survey also includes an accessibility audit of every home for sale in Scotland which is particularly helpful to families with young children, older buyers and people with a disability.
The energy report provides details of the home’s energy efficiency rating and its environmental impact in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. The energy report will also contain recommendations on how a home’s energy efficiency can be improved, allowing consumers to make green choices and the potential to save on energy costs.
Completed by the seller, this questionnaire contains information for home buyers such as council tax band, parking facilities, factoring arrangements and any local authority notices. The property questionnaire will help reduce the risk of delay and difficulties in conveyancing by asking the seller to provide information on any alterations to the property early in the process, allowing more time for the necessary documentation to be prepared.
It is the responsibility of the seller or the seller’s agent to commission the documents needed for the home report and a copy of these must be provided within nine working days following a request from a prospective buyer or buyer’s agent. Where a local trading standards officer decides that a seller or sellers’ agent may be in breach of their duties to provide or to possess the home report documents to a potential purchaser then a penalty charge notice of five hundred pounds may be issued. Documents in the home report should be no more than 12 weeks old when the property is placed on the market. The legislation does not impose a set shelf life or validity period for any of the home report documents. Decisions as to wither any aspects of the home report need to be updated will depend on the individual circumstances and are for sellers, buyers and their professional advisers to make.
With only limited exceptions such as newly built homes, all homes marketed for sale in Scotland will require a home report. The home report has helped to create a system of house buying and selling in Scotland that is fairer, greener and even better for consumers.
If you are thinking of selling and need a home report, get in touch with us and we’ll organise one of our RICS qualified surveyors to carry it out at a time that suits you. Call us on 0131 608 0175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org