Home Reports have been mandatory since 1st December 2008 - be ready with some help from HSPC. This page contains Questions & Answers for sellers and Buyers.
HSPC Home Report
ExampleSince 1st December 2008, every home advertised for sale must - by law - have a Home Report. This report must be ready before your home is advertised. It contains information about your home, including a survey, that will be made available to prospective buyers on request.
The Home Report, commissioned by the seller, provides prospective buyers with detailed information about the condition and value of the property before offers are made.
In this way buyers do not waste time and money on Mortgage Valuation Reports on properties where their offers are unsuccessful.
In particular first-time buyers, with nothing to sell, benefit from a Home Report provided by the seller.
Make sure you take advice from a Property Professional. Your HSPC Solicitor will be able to assist you through all stages of the process, instructing the Survey on your behalf, helping you complete the Property Questionnaire, and producing the final Report.
The Home Report contains three documents providing home buyers with detailed information abot the property. These are;
1. A property questionnaire to give prospective buyers useful information about the property, such as parking arrangements, factoring and property alterations. The Property Questionnaire contains information for home buyers, solicitors and surveyors. Where applicable it should include, for example: a home's council tax band, parking facilities, factoring arrangements, any local authority notices that affect it and alterations that have been made to the home. This information is useful for buyers before they decide whether to submit an offer to purchase a home. The Property Questionnaire may also reduce the risk of delay and difficulties in conveyancing.
2. A single survey prepared by a chartered surveyor containing detailed information on the property condition, accessibility information and a valuation. The Single Survey gives sellers detailed information about the condition and value of a home before it is marketed for sale. It also gives buyers better information about the condition and value of a home before they make an offer to purchase. The Single Survey includes an accessibility audit that will make Scotland the first country to require that the accessible features of every home for sale are highlighted to potential buyers. This information will benefit parents with young children and older people, as well as disabled people.
3. An energy report giving a home's energy efficiency rating and its environmental impact in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. It recommends ways to improve the building's energy efficiency and gives contact details for further advice and information about how to make a home more energy efficient and save fuel costs. The Energy Report helps home buyers to make 'green' choices, by comparing energy costs between homes and giving practical advice to reduce carbon emissions and save on energy bills.
Since 1st December, 2008 a seller or a selling agent must provide, upon request, a Home Report to a prospective buyer.
The Property Questionnaire must be completed by the seller, or someone nominated by the seller.
A Home Report must be provided to a prospective buyer within nine working days. A seller or the selling agent may charge a prospective buyer a reasonable sum for copy and postage costs. To allow for the consideration of offers, and holiday periods, the seller or the selling agent may take a house off the market for up to four weeks on any number of occasions and put back on the market without having to obtain a new Home Report.
There will be limited occasions that a seller or selling agent can refuse to provide a copy of the Home Report, where they believe that the person making the request:
If a Trading Standards officer decides that the seller or selling agent is in breach of their duties to possess the Home Report documents and provide them to prospective purchasers, then a penalty charge notice of £500 may be issued.
If you are selling a home in Scotland, you will need a Home Report. However, there are some exceptions:
New housing - New housing includes homes that may be sold 'off-plan' to the first purchaser or sold to the first occupier. Any subsequent sale of a home will not be exempt even if it has a certificate from, for example, the National House-Building Council (NHBC).
Newly converted premises - This means a property which is being, or has been, converted to a home if it has not previously been used in its converted state.
Right to Buy homes - As the sale of a home to a tenant under the 'Right to Buy' legislation does not involve marketing, the duty to provide a Home Report does not apply. A separate package of information is being developed for Right to Buy purchasers.
Seasonal and holiday accommodation - This exception refers to seasonal and holiday accommodation (as defined in planning legislation), which only has permission to be used for less than 11 months in any year. It does not include second homes or holiday cottages that could be used all year if the owner so chose.
A portfolio of residential properties - This means a home which is to be sold with one or more other homes and where it is clear from the manner in which the homes are marketed that the seller does not intend to accept an offer to buy one of those homes in isolation from another. Sales of a portfolio of residential properties are considered to be commercial transactions. A home which is ancillary to a principal property may include, for example a 'granny flat', or butler's cottage that is attached to a larger property on a country estate.
'Mixed sales' - This occurs where a home is sold with one or more non-residential properties (provided it is clear that the seller does not intend to consider an offer to buy the home separately from the non-residential property). This might include farmhouses that are part of a working farm, or flats above shops or pubs that are sold with the shop or pub.
Dual use of a dwelling house - This describes the situation where the home is, or forms part of, a property most recently used for both residential and non-residential purposes, such as a commercial studio where the owner also lives in the home.
Unsafe properties - Unsafe properties are evidently in a condition that poses a serious risk to the health or safety of occupants or visitors, or where the way the home is marketed suggests it is unsuitable for occupation in that condition. There is little point in a condition survey being undertaken on a home that is unfit for occupation in any case, and is being advertised as such.
Properties to be demolished - There is an exception for homes to be demolished where it is clear the home is suitable for demolition and all the necessary consents have been obtained for demolition and consents obtained for redevelopment. There is little point in a condition survey being undertaken on a home that is to be demolished and is being advertised as a development site.
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