Home Reports

A Home Report is required for almost every property on the market. Exceptions are: homes bought off-plan and newly-converted buildings do not require home reports, nor do holiday homes if you can only stay in them for 11 months or less in any given year; neither do Right to Buy homes, as no marketing is involved.

Your Home Report covers three things – a survey of your property including a valuation, an energy report and a property questionnaire – and it must be less than 12 weeks old when the property is first put on the market. 

The Report can be arranged through your solicitor or estate agent, or directly with a chartered surveyor.  If you’re arranging it through your solicitor or estate agent, make sure you ask how much commission they will be charging: their slice could double your costs.  Also check how far the surveyor will be travelling, as he or she really needs to know the market in your area to be able to give a sensible valuation for your property.

The Survey covers the value and condition of your house, and gives details of any structural problems.  This is useful both for sellers (so that they can fix any problems before the sale) and for buyers (who may be able to negotiate a reduced price to cover the cost of repairs that haven’t yet been done). Surveyors do not move heavy furniture or stored items, so they can sometimes miss things, but the survey gives a good overview of the condition of the house.  The Survey also includes an accessibility audit, which details any problems the property presents for small children or people with mobility problems. 

The Energy Report gives a view of the home’s energy efficiency rating and environmental impact (CO2 emissions) and looks much like the energy rating labels on fridges and other white goods.  It covers walls, roofs and floors, insulation, draught-proofing, heating, hot water and gas/electricity use, and also suggests ways to improve efficiency and save energy costs. 

The Property Questionnaire covers things like council tax band, what parking is available, any plans that could affect the house and its value, any alterations that have been made to the house, if the house is listed or in a conservation area, any issues such as flooding or asbestos, what services are provided, what happens about shared areas and so on – all useful information for a prospective buyer.  The questionnaire is completed by the seller, not by a surveyor, so there is no cost involved.
The Home Report is supplied free to all prospective buyers, though they can be charged a reasonable cost for copying and postage.  Sellers or their agents are required to supply the Report to prospective buyers within 9 days of being asked for it, though they don’t have to supply one to people they think can’t afford the house, to those who are not really interested in buying, or to anyone they wouldn’t sell the house to anyway (although they are not allowed to discriminate on grounds of colour, race, gender or creed).
To help you find out more about Home reports please visit Graham + Sibbald.