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Home Reports

Home Reports

Everything the First Time Buyer needs to know about Home Reports

What is a Home Report?

A Home Report is something which is exclusive to Scotland.

It is a report on a property prepared by a qualified surveyor and paid for by the seller but for the benefit of you the buyer. It gives you important information about the property including its current market value and its energy efficiency rating.

If you are getting a mortgage, it will also be used by your lender as the basis for the valuation of the property and consequently the amount of the mortgage you will be offered, although some lenders will still insist on getting their own independent valuation.

When should you look through the Home Report?

Given the current property market in Edinburgh at the moment is very much a sellers market with properties selling quickly and at prices well over current market values, we recommend that you look through the Home Report before you decide whether or not to view a property.

How can you get a copy of the Home Report?

If you use the ESPC website to search for properties then it is easy to get the Home Report. For each property advertised on the ESPC there is a button to press to request the home report. You will have to give your email address. The ESPC then sends you an email with a link which opens the Home Report as a PDF.

Most of the other property portal websites (Zoopla, Rightmove, On The Market etc) don’t have the facility to upload the Home Report and so tip no.1 would be use or start using the ESPC website for your property search.

If you can’t see the link to the Home Report on the other property portal websites then simply use the “Contact Agent” button to email the agent and request the Home Report and this will be sent to you.

The advantage, of course, in using the ESPC website, is that you will get access to the Home Report immediately rather than perhaps having to wait until the next morning especially if you do your property searching in the evening.

And finally, if you are using the other property portals to search for properties and are unable to get the home report straight away, then often the selling agents’ website will allow you to get the Home Report quickly and so it might be worth popping across to the agents’ website and request the Home Report direct from there.

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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.


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