The Home Report - Property Surveys in Scotland
Written by Martha Lott
6th Apr 2018 (Last updated on 19th Jun 2020) 7 minute read
A Home Report is the document the seller of a property is legally required to produce in Scotland when putting it on the market. It will have been written by a RICS certified surveyor and must be made available to all potential buyers. It can cost between £250 and £750, depending on the size of the property.
When you’re moving to or within Scotland, the process works differently. Many of these differences appear in the initial phases of purchasing a property, such as how you make an offer and how that offer is accepted. One of the biggest differences is how a property survey is conducted.
In the majority of the UK, surveys are undertaken by the buyer, at their discretion and to a level that they deem suitable. In Scotland, the seller is the one responsible for hiring the chartered surveyor. It's required by law that they must produce the document before putting the property onto the market. The document the buyer receives is the Home Report.
Compare My Move has created this guide to inform you of everything you need to know about the Home Report in Scotland before you book your moving date.
What is a Home Report?
So, what exactly is a Home Report? A Home Report in Scotland is a report that provides a variety of details on a property which will be highly beneficial to those looking to buy. It’s made up of three main elements:
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
- A single survey (also known as a home report).
- A property questionnaire.
These details are collected on behalf of the seller in order to provide potential buyers with details of the property. Below, we go through the various elements that make up the Home Report, what they tell you and why this information is beneficial.
1. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a requirement on all homes in the United Kingdom. As the name suggests, this certificate gives details about how well your home uses and conserves energy. This is given in a rating which is both lettered and colour coded. ‘A’ (light green) being efficient, down to ‘G’ (dark red) being inefficient.
The certificate is useful in two ways. Firstly, it allows you to understand exactly how well the property being sold uses energy. This will give you an indicator of the sort of costs you’ll likely experience on things like electricity and gas.
The certificate also indicates what the rating might be if improvements like draft excluders, double glazing and improved insulation were to be applied. This will give you an idea of what you may need to budget for if moving into a property that needs improvement.
2. Single Survey (Home Report)
The single survey looks at many of the elements you may expect to see in a Homebuyers Survey. This looks at the overall structure of the building and any potential issues that may be of some concern for the buyer.
This includes an overall assessment of the property’s condition with notes on areas such as the external and internal walls, the roof and any kitchen fittings and plumbing. It will also include an estimated value of the property which can help you secure a mortgage and decide if it’s a worthy investment.
Finally, this report will also include considerations for any required accessibility to the property given special circumstances.
3. Property Questionnaire
The property questionnaire element of the report will provide further details. These details will be collected via the surveyor’s desk research rather than during the physical survey itself.
The information that’ll be included can cover what the purchaser should expect to pay in terms of council tax once they move into the property. It will also include any parking arrangements and whether any further arrangements or changes need to be made.
The report will also detail any alterations which may have been made to the property over time. These could include any extensions or renovations made and whether or not they were completed with planning permission. This information will allow you to understand whether there is any associated risk with the purchase.
Finally, this section will also lay out any other costs that are associated with the property. For example, this will highlight whether there is any ground rent on leasehold properties or whether there are any charges for upkeep on communal areas.
Although it is law that sellers need to produce a Home Report in Scotland, it’s up to the buyer as to whether they want to take that information on board or have their own survey completed. In the case of older homes over 50 years old or where the Home Report has produced a number of potential issues, the buyer may opt for a more thorough survey such as a Building Survey.
This type of property survey will be more in-depth, providing details on the building and its structural condition. Where a Home Report will look at the overarching and ‘obvious’ issues with a home, a Full Structural Survey will dive much deeper into the hidden and less accessible areas that are of particular concern.
For example, it’s unlikely that during the process of a Home Report, the surveyor will do things like lift carpets and floor boards or go deep into the drainage to check for underlying issues and potential threats. Those looking to buy a historically significant house or listed property should opt for the specialist Listed Building Survey.
Organising a Home Report
If you are selling your home in Scotland, you’ll need to produce a Home Report for your property. If you fail to do this within 9 days of receiving an offer, you may be fined up to £500 for not complying with these regulations. It’s important to get this done by the right professional in the right way to avoid the repercussions.
Below, we’ve provided you with a few tips and information for undertaking your own Home Report on your Scottish property.
Who undertakes the report?
Your survey will need to be undertaken by a surveyor who is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This will ensure a professional approach to the survey as well as making sure that it ticks all the boxes required by the Scottish government.
If you’re working with a selling agent, such as a solicitor or estate agent, then they should be able to organise the Home Report on your behalf. Yet, if you have not taken this route then you will need to ensure that you find a well-qualified and respected surveyor to undertake the survey for you
How much does a Home Report cost in Scotland?
The cost of a home report will often vary but it can be anywhere between £350 and £400 for an average priced house of between £100,000 and £200,000. Keep in mind that this will vary based on the size and value of the property you’re selling. As larger or more expensive properties take longer to inspect, they will generally cost more and can be in the range of up to (or potentially over) £750.
How long does it last?
Once you’ve had your home report written up, you must then put your property on the market within 12 weeks. After this time period, the report will no longer be considered accurate and you will have to pay out for the property to be surveyed again.
What if the Home Report Highlights Problems?
It’s normal for the report to highlight some issues, especially in the case that your property is older than 50 years. It’s the severity of the issues that may be some cause for concern. We've put together a guide explaining a range of common issues highlighted by surveys and the costs involved in fixing them.
In the case that your property has significant issues, you will need to plan your next steps in advance. The one major benefit to this process, in comparison to the rest of the UK, is that you’re taking your property to market knowing what the issues are with it.
Getting quotes on how much the major issues will take to remedy before putting your house on the market will allow you to price accordingly, letting those that make an offer know that they will be responsible for fixing them once they move. Alternatively, you may want to get the issues fixed before putting your house on the market. However, in this case you will gain an added expense of having your property resurveyed to prove the work has been done. You can find out more with our guide on dealing with the results of a bad survey.
Save on Extra Surveys With Compare My Move
We hope this guide has explained The Home Report in Scotland so that you're fully prepared to buy or sell your Scottish property. If you need any extra surveys on top of the Home Report, remember to use Compare My Move to save you both time and money by being connected with up to 5 RICS accredited surveyors. Just fill in a simple form and start saving on your survey today.