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A buyer's guide - home reports
From 1 December 2008 home reports have become a legal requirement for most homes in Scotland marketed for sale. These are not to be confused with the home information packs (HIPs) that were scrapped in England in May 2010.
Each home report is an information pack prepared by a chartered surveyor and paid for by the property seller and contains three parts; a single survey, an energy performance certificate and a property questionnaire. Some reports will also contain a mortgage valuation report as well, although this is not a legal requirement.
The purpose of a home report is to provide you, the potential buyer, with upfront information about the condition of the property, enabling you to make an informed decision. They are available at no cost to you through the seller’s estate agent.
By law the single survey must be carried out by a chartered surveyor who is a member of the RICS. It provides detailed information on any problems with the property, how urgently those problems need to be repaired, plus how accessible the property is for disabled people. The single survey will also state the current value of the property.
Energy performance certificate
This part of the home report rates the energy efficiency of the property from A-G. It will also provide practical guidance on how to improve the property’s energy efficiency.
The property questionnaire is filled out by the seller and includes details of useful and practical information for the buyer, such as council tax band, utilities suppliers and parking arrangements.
Mortgage valuation report
The mortgage valuation report, or MVR, is sometimes included in the home report for the buyer to take to their mortgage lender.
Do all residential properties require a home report?
No, there are some exemptions, which we have listed here:
- Homes already up for sale before 1st December 2008
- Brand new homes sold ‘off plan’ or recently completed
- Newly converted premises where a property converted to a home has never been used in its converted state
- 'Right to buy' homes
- Seasonal and holiday accommodation which, legally, can only be lived in for up to 11 months of the year (please note that this does not include second homes or holiday cottages that could be used all year)
- A portfolio of residential properties, i.e. a group of homes that will be sold in one transaction
- Mixed homes where the home is sold as part of the business, such as a farmhouse or a flat above a shop
- Dual use of a dwellinghouse where the home is, or forms part of, a property most recently used for both residential and non-residential purposes, for example a commercial studio where the owner also lives in the property
- Properties deemed unsafe and dangerous for people to live in
- Properties to be demolished which have both the consents needed for demolition and consents obtained for redevelopment
For information on all aspects of the home report, please click here to contact the residential sales team at Rettie & Co. More detailed guidance can also be found on the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website and the Scottish Government website.