Buying a Property - What Should You Look for in a Home Report?

If you are looking to buy a property in Scotland, the seller is required to supply you with a home report. While the home report provides more details about the property, it is essential that buyers have a basic understanding of what to look out for. In this article, we explain the basics of the home report, outline the key things you should pay particular attention to, and explain what it means to offer over the home report value.

If you would like tailored advice and support for your circumstances, you can speak with one of our property lawyers by calling 01224 581581 or via the online contact form.

What is a home report?

A home report is not a single report, but a packet of documents that provides specific information to potential buyers of a property. The report will be made up of at least three parts:

The single survey

The single survey includes an assessment of the property’s condition. Generally, this will provide details about matters such as internal and external walls, the roof, kitchen fittings and plumbing. The single survey also includes a valuation of the property and an accessibility audit.

The energy report

An energy report provides an energy efficiency rating for the property. The higher the energy efficiency rating is, the less costly fuel bills for the property are likely to be. The energy report will also look at the environmental impact of the property, how well insulated the property is and how the home is heated. The energy report will also set out recommendations for how the energy efficiency of the property could be improved.

The property questionnaire

The property questionnaire is designed to provide additional details about the property. Typically, the property questionnaire will include information about:

  • the council tax band
  • any alterations that have been made
  • parking arrangements
  • any additional costs involved in living in the property, such as payments for maintenance of communal areas

What should I look out for in a home report?

There are several things you want to pay particular attention to when looking at a home report. We have set some of them out in detail below. If you have any further questions, our conveyancing solicitors will be happy to assist you.

Home Report valuation

The property valuation is contained in the single survey section of the home report. The valuation is crucial, as this is the figure that sets the seller's expectations for the sale price of the property. Generally, this amount is used by buyers as an indicator of how much they should offer for the property. It is important to note that the home report valuation may be different from the price the property is being marketed at. However, the home report is an independent valuation and gives the clearest indication of how much the property is worth and how much you should offer.

The final sale price may be influenced by the interest in the property and current market conditions, but the home report valuation should act as a starting point. Where there is a significant level of interest in the property, it is likely to sell for over the home report valuation.

Single survey category repairs

The single survey will contain information about the condition and features of several parts of the home. Each element of the property will be given a category rating of 1, 2 or 3, which corresponds as follows:

  • Category 1 - no immediate repair or action is required
  • Category 2 - repair or replacement will be required in future, you should obtain estimated costs before buying the property. 
  • Category 3 - urgent repair or replacement is necessary right away, and you should obtain costs for doing so before buying the property.

You should look carefully to determine the amount of work you may need to do on the property. Our solicitors can explain to you fully what each of the repair categories could mean for you as the buyer, and whether you should get estimates for each repair that would be carried out.

Home report energy rating

You may think that the energy rating of the property is a minor consideration when deciding whether to make an offer; however, a house with a low energy rating can be expensive to maintain. The cost of making the necessary repairs or replacements to improve the property's energy efficiency can be considerable, so it is a crucial factor when deciding whether to make an offer and how much to offer.

Council tax and factoring costs

The property questionnaire contains details of the council tax band and, where applicable, factoring fees. While this information can be incredibly useful for helping you to budget for your new home, you should ensure that all of the details are accurate. The current council tax band of any property can be found on the Scottish Assessors' Association website, and the seller's solicitors will confirm factoring costs with your lawyers.

Offering over the home report

If there is a lot of interest in a particular property, you may need to make an offer over the value set out in the home report. However, you should be aware that lenders use the home report valuation for mortgage purposes. As such, if you wish to offer an amount over the home report, you will need to provide the additional funds from your own resources.

To find out more, see our FAQs on buying a property here.

Contact our Property Solicitors Based in Aberdeen & Stonehaven Today

We are a team of locally-based property lawyers, with thorough knowledge of the residential property market in Aberdeen and surrounding areas. J&G Collie has an extensive history in the region, which has allowed us to build long-standing relationships with other professionals in the local property sector. We can progress your transaction as efficiently as possible, providing advice and support at every stage. We are a full-service firm, and our property team is supported by colleagues in other departments should you need it.

For information and advice, please contact us by telephone on 01224 581581. Alternatively, please complete our online contact form, and we will get back to you right away.

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