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New home reports in Scotland will have survey

Which? campaign helps boost information for buyers

People in Scotland will be given a survey of a property’s condition before they decide to buy it, thanks to a Which? campaign.

Home reports are the biggest change to the Scottish home-buying system in years, and from today all homes that go on to the market will need one. Buyers will now have far more information to help them make a decision about whether to buy and how much to offer. 

At the moment 90% of Scottish home buyers base their decision on the valuation which gives only minimal information. However, the new home report includes a survey that tells you the condition of the home. 

Home report campaign

As the home report is paid for by the seller rather than the buyer it will also stop multiple surveys being commissioned for the same property, which was a problem with the old system.

Which? has spent several years campaigning for home reports to include a survey. A Which? survey of home buyers found that a quarter discovered faults with their home after moving in. 

Those who missed problems spent an average of £2,500 putting them right, and one in ten spent £10,000.

Campaign for reports

Which? campaigner Julia Clarke says: ‘Home reports are good news for home buyers and sellers, and will give everyone the information they need to make this most important of purchases. And of course they’re a particular bargain for first time buyers who won’t have to pay for a survey.’

The English and Welsh equivalent of home reports, home information packs (Hips), do not require the seller to include a survey of the property’s condition but the government is considering requiring Hip to include a property information questionnaire. 

As in Scotland, this will be filled in by sellers to let buyers know key information about the property up front. Which? is backing this as it will mean the Hip will contain more information useful to buyers. A decision is expected by the end of 2008 or early 2009.

Home report contents

Home reports include a single survey, an energy report and also a property questionnaire. The property questionnaire is completed by the seller and contains additional information such as council tax banding and parking facilities.

It’s estimated that for an average house the survey part of the home report will cost £360 to £520. This doesn’t include the cost of the energy report or VAT.

Homes already on the market won’t need a home report. There are also a number of exceptions of other type of property that won’t need a Home Report, such as newly built homes. For a full list of exceptions see our guide to home reports.

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