What does the Home Report look like?
Home Reports can look a little daunting at first. They are long documents and not all of them follow the same layout.
But essentially they are all the same. They each contain a section known as the Single Survey giving you information about the property and its current value, a section called the Energy Performance Certificate giving you the energy efficiency rating of the property and finally a section called the Property Questionnaire which contains information provided by the sellers.
So what are the things you should look for in the Home Report?
The Current Market Value or Home Report Value
As you will have noticed when you have been searching for properties online, almost all properties for sale in Edinburgh at the moment are advertised at “Offers Over”.
You can almost ignore that as an indicator of what the property is likely to sell for and so finding out the current market value is going to be useful to you in deciding whether or not you are going to be able to afford to buy the property.
Although the property market does change, remember that properties in Edinburgh, particularly those in the usual price range of a First Time Buyers, are selling at prices well over the current market value and selling quickly so it is important to find out the Home Report Current Market Value, so that you quickly find out if you are going to be able to afford the property.
As a First Time Buyer you are likely to be getting a 95% mortgage which is 95% loan to value – ie. the maximum mortgage you will get is 95% of the Current Home Report Value given in the Home Report and so your savings (deposit) will need to be sufficient to cover the 5% and the extra above that which you are likely going to have to offer.
You will find the current market value near the end of the Single Survey section of the Home Report.
Does the property need any repairs or is there a damp issue?
The Single Survey section of the Home Report is also where you will find out if any repairs are required or if the property has any damp issues.
The Home Report gives a rating of 1, 2 or 3 for the various parts of the property. A “1” rating means things are fine, a “2” rating means that repairs are likely in the near future or are recommended and a “3” rating means either a repair is needed now or, as in the example of damp, that a further report is recommended before you buy.
You will find that if you are looking at flats in traditional tenements, then the Home Report is going to have a number of category 2 comments simply due to the age of the building and because in many cases, because of the height of the building, the surveyor has been unable to gain access to the roof space and has been unable to make even a visual inspection of the roof from ground level.
If dampness has been found in the property then sometimes the selling agents will have arranged for the damp to be inspected by a specialist company and a Damp Report attached at the end of the Home Report. If there is such a Report then it will give you information as to the nature and extent of the problem and a quote for the cost of repairs and treatment.
What is the energy efficiency of the property?
The EPC (the Energy Performance Certificate) will give you the energy efficiency rating for the property and what rating it would be given if you were to carry out the recommended improvements and also gives you the national average efficiency rating.
The Property Questionnaire
The Property Questionnaire section of the Home Report is that part which is completed by the sellers. Not all sellers complete the questionnaire as completely or as accurately as might be preferred. But you will find out more information about the property including if the property is part of a factored building or development.