What is a Home Report?
Home Reports were introduced in late 2008 to avoid several surveys being done, and paid-for, by buyers interested in the same property. It wasn’t uncommon for three potential buyers to get surveys, at great expense, even though there can only be one buyer.
There are three elements to the Home Report: the Property Questionnaire, the Survey and the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
The Property Questionnaire is completed by the property owner and contains lots of useful information for the potential buyer and also information that might speed-up the conveyancing when the property sells.
The Survey element covers the structural elements of the property and rates various elements of the physical makeup of the house on a scale from 1 to 3, with 1 being the best and 3 being the worst. It also provides a surveyor’s valuation of the property and a reinstatement value, plus issues that might be of interest to the purchaser’s solicitor such as alterations made to the layout of the property that would require paperwork to be provided by the seller.
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates the energy efficiency of the property and looks a bit like the energy rating on a fridge.
Who does the Home Report?
Home Reports are generally provided by firms of Chartered Surveyors because the survey element of the Home Report has to be carried out by a chartered surveyor, registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. However, there are also other companies who aren’t surveyors and who coordinate the preparation of a Home Report and will instruct the individual elements separately.
Do I have to get a Home Report?
For the most part, unless you are making a private sale to someone you already know, without marketing your property for sale, you will need to get a Home Report in advance of putting your property on the market.
All buyers have access to the Home Report which tells them what the property is worth, in the opinion of a professional surveyor. Your Home Report valuation can have a significant effect on your eventual sale price, so it’s essential that you get a Home Report that accurately values your property.
Can the Home Report be used for mortgage lending?
Property buyers can often use the survey element of the Home Report for their mortgage lender, as long as the surveyor is on the lender’s panel of approved surveyors. If the lender doesn’t accept the Home Report, the buyer will have to commission their own survey by another firm of chartered surveyors at additional expense. So a property with a Home Report from a reputable, panel surveyor can be worth several hundreds of pounds to a buyer and make your property more attractive than one that has a less widely-accepted Home Report survey.
How do I order a Home Report?
Your solicitor/estate agent will generally sort this out for you. You can also order it direct from some providers, however we would always recommend that you use a solicitor/estate agent to order it for you. Not only do they have an existing relationship with the surveyor, they have also had plenty of experience of judging the accuracy of the Home Report valuations provided by these surveyors.
We do not recommend the non-chartered surveyor, discount Home Report providers, partly on the grounds of service and partly because they often use firms of surveyors who are not on the panels of the major UK lenders. This renders your Home Report useless to a property buyer who wants to use it for their mortgage.
How much do I have to pay for a Home Report?
This depends on the value of your property, with higher-value properties being charged more for the Home Report. Either way, your solicitor/estate agent will be able to provide you with a cost at the quote stage of the process.
Do I have to prepare the house for a Home Report?
Chartered surveyors are only human so the general appearance and cleanliness of the property when they visit it will have some bearing on how they rate the individual elements of the property. In addition, interior decorative condition is a part of the survey.