What is a Scottish Home Report, and Why Are They Needed?

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In Scotland sellers are required to compile a document known as a Home Report. This is for the reference of buyers who are interested in a property, and it gives an array of useful information that buyers can use when making a decision on whether or not to make an offer on a property – and if so, how much for. Scottish Home Reports are only required north of the border – so if you’re in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you don’t need to worry about compiling and presenting a Home Report if you’re selling your property.

What’s in a Home Report?

There are three main components found in a Scottish Home Report: the single survey, the energy report, and the property questionnaire.

These three components come together to form the Home Report which can be viewed by potential buyers. It’s a really clever initiative because it makes everything much more transparent for buyers when viewing properties. Instead of having to dig around for answers to important questions, the majority of the things you’ll need to know will be there in black and white.

The single survey

This survey is carried out by a third party surveyor – it looks at things like the condition of the home, and any major defects or problems that need to be brought to the attention of the buyer. The surveyor will place a suggested value on the property. This figure is usually what the market price of the property is set against (but not always). The surveyor may also include an accessibility report – which is for those buyers that have special access requirements.

Of course elsewhere in the UK surveys are also completed on homes prior to sale – but in the majority of cases these surveys are paid for by the purchaser – not by the seller. Surveys are often compulsory when buying a home, especially if you’re looking to get a mortgage. With the Scottish Home Report scheme you can be sure that a survey has already been carried out on the property that you’re looking to purchase. This can expedite things like mortgage approval.

The energy report

It’s not just Scotland or the UK as a whole that is now becoming increasingly conscious of the impact we have on the environment just going about our daily lives. As such, the Scottish Home Report includes an energy report. The report will look at key areas in which the home is energy efficient – and it will also outline the effect that the household has on the environment.

Where necessary, suggestions to improve the energy efficiency of a property may be pointed out. These changes are often addressed by buyers once they purchase a property. The changes required are published upfront so that new owners know what to expect when it comes to making their home more energy efficient – as well as the cost involved.

The cost of making a home more energy efficient is often rather substantial – but don’t forget that things like alternative energy and extra insulation can actually save you a lot of money in the long run as your energy bills decrease.

The property questionnaire

This questionnaire is filled in by the current home owner. It includes lots of different questions – including things like the council tax band and even the average cost of household bills. This questionnaire is an extremely important document for many buyers because it gives them a valuable insight into the cost of running the property on an on-going basis. It helps a lot of buyers decide whether or not the property is going to be too expensive for them to run in the long term.

There’s a sample property questionnaire on the Scotland.gov.uk website – this is well worth checking out because it gives you an idea of the questions that you’re likely to see answers to, as and when you read a Home Report.

Is the Home Report worth it?

When buying a property the last thing you want is to get a mortgage and settle down, only to find that the property has lots of underlying issues. With a Home Report the Scottish authorities have aimed to make everything much more transparent for buyers – so that if there are any underlying problems with a property that you’re interested in purchasing, you’ll know about them before you sign an agreement to purchase the home.

As a buyer a Home Report is a great tool to have at your disposal. It’s quite a pioneering scheme when you think about it too – in the past it was a case of “if you don’t ask I won’t tell” – which meant that lots of people bought homes and only discovered that there were big problems with the properties at a much later date.

The Home Report is firmly on the side of the buyer – ensuring that buyers get a better deal, and ensuring that they don’t let themselves in for something they’re not expecting. There’s talk of the home report being rolled out across the rest of the UK too, which is great news for prospective buyers and is likely to help minimise after-sale problems for a lot of home owners.

When you’re looking to purchase property in Scotland make sure you read through the Home Reports on offer very carefully. Home Reports are there for your benefit to ensure that you get a good deal – so make use of them. Even if a house does have problems it can still be sold – it’s just these problems will be detailed in the report. If you don’t bother going through the report properly, you could still end up buying a property that needs an awful lot of work done on it. Home Reports are free resources that the Scottish government has laid on for home buyers – make sure you take full advantage of this resource in your hunt for a home.

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