Home reports if you're selling a property
If you're selling a property in Scotland you'll need to provide a home report. This is a pack that provides more information about the property for potential buyers.
What is a home report?
A home report is a pack of documents that gives potential buyers information about a property for sale. The report consists of three components:
a single survey
an energy report
a property questionnaire.
You can see sample copies of these reports at the Scottish Government's home report website.
What is in a home report?
The single survey
The single survey contains:
an assessment of the condition of the home (for example, the roof, internal and external walls, plumbing and kitchen fittings)
an accessibility audit for people with particular needs.
The energy report
The energy report gives the home an energy efficiency rating. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the home is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. It also looks at the impact the home has on the environment, through carbon dioxide emissions. The report looks at features such as how well insulated the home is, and how it is heated.
The energy report also recommends ways to improve the home's energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills.
The property questionnaire
The property questionnaire contains additional useful information about the property, for example:
the property's council tax band
alterations that have been made to the property
whether there are any extra costs involved in living there (such as charges for the upkeep of communal areas).
Who needs to provide a home report?
Anyone who puts a property on the market will need to provide a home report for potential buyers. However, some properties are exempt, including:
new build homes that are being sold by the developer for the first time
newly converted homes that have not been used before in their converted state
seasonal and holiday accommodation (for example, holiday park homes) which cannot be used all year round (however, second homes and holiday homes must have home reports)
when a home is bought through right to buy, then the landlord does not need to provide a home report.
properties that also have a commercial use (for example, a shop with a flat above it)
properties that aren't fit to live in, or are going to be demolished.
Who will put together the home report?
If you've hired a selling agent (for example, a solicitor or estate agent) to help you sell your home, they will be responsible for putting the home report together for you and distributing it to potential buyers.
The single survey and energy report must be carried out by a qualified surveyor. You and your selling agent will be responsible for filling out the property questionnaire.
If you're selling your home without the help of a selling agent, you'll need to commission a surveyor yourself. You can find a surveyor through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website.
Who will I need to give a home report to?
If someone requests a report, you must send them one within nine days. Again, if you have a solicitor or estate agent, they will send out the home report for you.
You'll need to give the home report to anyone who's interested in buying your home, unless you're certain they aren't serious about it. You may decide not to send someone a report if:
you don't think they can afford to buy your home
you don't think they're interested in buying it
you wouldn't want to sell your home to them.
Bear in mind that you can't discriminate against certain groups of people when deciding whether to send them a report. For example, you can't assume that just because someone's disabled, they won't be able to afford your home, or refuse to sell your home to them because of their race or colour. If someone believes you have withheld a report from them without good reason, they can complain to their local Trading Standards office. If Trading Standards decide you have acted unfairly, you could be fined.
How much will it cost?
Producing a home report is likely to cost between £500 and £700 plus VAT, depending on the size and value of your property. This might seem a lot but remember, if you're also buying a property, you'll no longer need to pay to get it surveyed, as it will also come with a home report.
You are entitled to charge people a small sum for the report, to cover the cost of copying and sending out the pack. You may also be able to arrange for the buyer to cover the cost of the survey, as part of the final sale price, but you can't make them do this.
What if the home report highlights a problem?
It's up to you to decide what to do if the surveyor identifies a problem with your home. You don't have to fix the problem if you can't afford to or don't have time. However, bear in mind that the defect may affect the price you get for your home, so ask your solicitor or surveyor for advice as to whether or not it will be worth putting the problem right.
How long does a home report last?
The documents in the home report must be no more than 12 weeks old when you put your property on the market.
Once your home is on the market, there is no official 'expiry date' for the home report. However, if your home is for sale for a very long time, you may consider getting a 'refresh' survey report.
If a potential buyer requests a refresh survey, it will be up to the buyer and the seller to both agree who pays for it to be carried out. The charge, if any, for refreshing the survey will be determined by the surveyor or home report provider as part of their service. Some surveyors may agree to update the survey report for free if the house has been for a sale for a long time. However, there are no guarantees that this will happen and you should speak to your solicitor or surveyor to find out more.
You can take your house off the market for up to four weeks and then put it up for sale again without having to get a new report done.
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.
Does the buyer have to accept the home report?
No – the buyer can choose to employ their own surveyor to look at the property as well. However, the home report will be carried out by an independent surveyor so should be reliable.
Where can I find out more?
Find out more about home reports if you are buying your home.
You can find out more about home reports at the Scottish Government website.
Last updated: 12 January 2016