Home Report Top Tips for Scottish Sellers
Jim Gibson, Managing Director at HomeReportScotland.Scot
Did you know that it is up to you to organise a Home Report and that you need to provide copies, upon request, to prospective buyers?
If you make the decision to put your home on the market, you’ll probably have some questions about the process and what steps you’ll need to take next.
When a Home Report is carried out properly, it gives both the seller and the buyer a realistic idea of the value and condition of the property, and also provides the buyer with all the information they need to make an informed choice about buying.
What is a Home Report?
As set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, the Home Report is a pack of three key documents: a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire.
A Single Survey lists key features of the home – including the roof, internal and external walls, plumbing and kitchen fittings – and gives an assessment of condition for each one. This is done on a scale, with one indicating no repairs necessary, to three, which means urgent repairs or replacements are needed. The key things which will be assessed include problems with utilities, damp, cracking, issues with the roof, and timber defects.
This makes it easier for the prospective buyer to see if the house is in good condition, or if there are things that may need fixing now or in the future, and if they need to factor these repairs into their overall budget.
The Single Survey will also provide a valuation of the property, and an accessibility audit, which is helpful for parents with young children, older people, and those with disabilities and/or limited mobility.
The Energy Report contains an assessment of the energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact, as well as providing tips on how this could be improved.
Items such as loft insulation, domestic boilers, hot water tanks, radiators and windows will all be checked.
The Property Questionnaire is filled out by you, and gives some extra information about the house, such as the Council Tax banding, parking facilities, alterations made to the property, any local authority notices that affect it, and factoring costs, such as upkeep of communal areas.
Is there a deadline/set process for providing interested buyers with my Home Report?
If a buyer asks for a copy of a report, this should be sent to them within nine days, usually in an electronic format.
If you have a solicitor or estate agent, they will send out the Home Report for you.
You need to give the Home Report to anyone who is interested in buying your home, unless you are certain they are not serious about purchasing the property.
The duty to provide a Home Report does not apply if you reasonably believe that the person making the request for a copy:
• is unlikely to have sufficient means to buy your property in question
• is not genuinely interested in buying your property
• is not a person to whom you would be prepared to sell your property
Bear in mind that you cannot discriminate against certain groups of people when deciding whether to send them your Home Report.
There is no need to assess every prospective purchaser against these criteria; just that in these cases you don’t have to provide a Home Report if you don’t want to.
However, if someone believes that you have withheld these documents from them without good reason, they can complain to their local Trading Standards.
If Trading Standards decide you have acted unfairly, you could be fined.
How often do I need to update my Home Report?
The documents should be no more than 12 weeks old when your property goes on the market.
However, once your property is on the market, the legislation does not give a set expiry date or validity period for any of the Home Report documents.
It’s up to the sellers, buyers and their professional advisors to decide whether aspects of the Home Report should be replaced, depending on the circumstances of each case.
It is good practice to keep your Home Report up-to-date. Check with your professional advisor if they think you should refresh your documents – especially if your home has been on the market for a long time. A refresh is really easy, and can be done through an inexpensive, straight-forward re-inspection.
What if I don’t have a Home Report?
It is against the law to sell your home without a Home Report, or to include any false information in the documents.
If you do, you could receive a fine of up to £500.
We believe buying a Home Report should be simple and affordable.
Let us help you get from where you are today to where you want to be.
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