Buying a home

Viewing a property

When you view a property, think about:

  • its size and if there are enough bedrooms

  • if it needs any repairs or renovation work

  • if it’s accessible and meets your needs or the needs of your household

If you’re interested in a property but not ready to make an offer, your solicitor can submit a note of interest. This means you’ll have a chance to make an offer before it’s sold.

Getting the home report

This is a document pack that gives you information about the property. It includes a survey, an energy report and property questionnaire.

A home report should tell you:

  • the value of the property

  • what condition it's in

  • the council tax band

  • how energy efficient it is

  • how much your energy bills are likely to be

The home report should also say how accessible the property is. It could include things like:

  • how wide the doorways are

  • how many levels there are

  • which level toilets and bathrooms are on

  • if there are steps within the property

  • how many steps to the property there are

A seller is usually required to provide a home report. They must give you it within 9 days if you ask for it.

Some homes do not need a home report, including new build homes. You should still get an energy performance certificate.

When you view a property, check that what you see matches the home report. If not, you may decide to get your own survey done.

Getting your own survey

If you have any concerns about the condition of the property, you can get your own survey done. Your solicitor can help you organise it.

You'll usually do your own survey once you make an offer. Make sure your offer is conditional on the survey's outcome.

If you have a mortgage approved, make sure the surveyor you use is approved by your lender.

If the survey finds problems with the property

You can:

  • decide not to buy the property

  • ask the seller to fix the problems before you buy

  • get a quote for the cost of repairs, and use this to negotiate a lower price

If you’re unhappy with a survey

If your surveyor misses a defect that later costs you money, you can claim compensation.

If you want to complain, get advice from Citizens Advice. They’ll work out your rights and help you make a complaint to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Last updated: 19 January 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England