Frequently Asked Questions
Home Report (Sellers)
Q. Are Home Reports still required in Scotland since the abolishment of HIPS in England and Wales?
Yes, if you're selling in Scotland, then you will still require a Home Report. The plans to scrap HIPs in England in Wales do not affect Scotland. The new coalition has no has no control over the Home Report legislation which is governed through the Scottish Parliament. Home Reports and Home Information Packs (HIPs) are in fact very different, the HIP does not include a valuation or survey. There are no plans to scrap the successful Home Report system as the Scottish Government remains committed to Home Reports.
Q. What documents are included in the Home Report?
Q. When do I have to provide a Home Report?
The Home Report must be complete when the property is brought to market.
Q. Why should I choose Survey Scotland?
We are an independent firm and we employ our own Surveyors. The Home Report we provide is valid and it is compiled as the Scottish Government prescribes.
Once your report is complete we will provide you with a personal login to our member area so that you may view and download your Home Report with ease.
Q. Your prices seem lower than many other firms. Why?
We aim to be competitive and we do hope that you find our price to be the lowest. We do not act as a third party and we use our own surveyors.
Our intention is to help our clients get their property on the market whilst still receiving the professional service you would expect from a professional firm.
We would strongly advise that you ask your estate agent for a full explanation about the breakdown of their fees and any commission earned.
Q. Why do many estate agents charge more for my Home Report?
As estate agents are not qualified to carry out Home Reports they require to pass your business to a Chartered Surveyor. Usually you will find that the price they charge includes their commission fee, which means in turn you pay a much higher price for your report than if you went direct.
Estate agents are keen to make as much profit from each client as possible. We would recommend that you shop around for quotes from independent surveying firms as there is no legal requirement to use the surveyor your estate agents recommends - even if they say there is!
Q. My estate agent said no-one else will give my property a fair valuation.
Our Surveyors are fully qualified and have extensive knowledge of properties throughout Scotland. They conduct extensive research to ensure your property is valued fairly. We are happy to discuss the valuation of your property with your estate agent.
Q. Won't the buyer be put off if they can't use the valuation with their lender?
You'll find many lenders insist on using their own in-house Surveyors for their financial benefit or partnership firms. Many buyers often prefer to have their own valuation carried out and some lenders even offer free valuations to their clients.
The Home Report is designed to provide potential buyers with further information about a property before they consider submitting an offer.
Q. But my estate agent said my Home Report has to be carried out by a panel member?
It is not your obligation to ensure that the report is acceptable to all lenders. The onus is not on the seller to provide a survey that is acceptable to all lenders.
The valuation must be dated within a 12 week period to be accepted by a lender, in most instances the time between having the survey carried out, to a prospective purchaser applying and being approved for a mortgage can exceed this time frame. So an additional valuation is often required.
We have also come across instances where a lender and/or solicitors have insisted that the buyer has their own survey carried out regardless.
Q. Do I have to order a Home Report through my estate agent?
No. Your estate agent may recommend their preferred partner but your are not obliged to use them. You just need to ensure that your report is carried out by a Chartered Surveyor.
Q. Can you provide my estate agent with a link to the report?
Yes we can. This allows your estate to link your report on their website. We are also happy to forward an electronic copy of your report to your estate agent with your permission.
Q. Do I have to purchase an Energy Report separately?
No. Our Home Report price includes the Energy Report as standard. We provide Energy Reports alone for our clients who are letting their property.
Q. Do I have to provide a Home Report if my house was marketed for sale prior to December 1, 2008?
No, if you marketed your house for sale prior to December 1 you do not need to obtain a Home Report. However, if you took your house off the market after December 1 and re-marketed it, you will have to make a Home Report available.
Q. Who should compile a Home Report?
The Home Report must be compiled by a Chartered Surveyor who will provide the Single Survey and Energy Report. The property seller requires to provide the information for the Property Questionnaire. The Property Questionnaire can be completed online on our website.
Q. How long does it take to produce a Home Report?
Following the inspection at the property we aim to have your report ready within five working days.
Q. I am a private seller, and do not plan on using a solicitor or estate agent to market my house. Do I need a Home Report?
Yes, under Part 3 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, a person who is responsible for marketing a house must provide a Home Report to any prospective purchasers.
Q. Who pays for the Home Report?
The property seller is responsible for providing the Home Report. There is nothing in the legislation insisting that the buyer must reimburse the seller for the cost of the Home Report.
Q. How 'old' can the Home Report documents be when the house is put on the market for sale?
The Home Report should be no more than 12 weeks old when the house is put on the market.
Q. Does the Home Report have a specified shelf life? (I.e. should sellers have to pay for refreshed surveys if their houses have not sold after a few months?)
The legislation does not impose a set shelf life or validity period for any of the Home Report documents. This reflects current practice for survey reports. Decisions as to whether any aspects of the Home Report need to be updated are for sellers, buyers and their professional advisers to take, depending on the circumstances of each case.
Q. Which properties do not require to provide a Home Report?
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' does not involve marketing, the duty to provide a Home Report does not apply.
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.
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).
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.
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.
The Home Report duties do not apply to non-residential property.
Home Report (Buyers)
Q. How can buyers receive a copy Home Report?
A buyer should ask whoever is advertising the house for sale for a copy Home Report.
Q. Will it cost buyers anything to obtain a copy of the Home Report?
No, buyers will receive a Home Report free of charge, although they may have to pay a reasonable charge to cover the costs of copying and postage. If the seller isn't using an estate agent/solicitor, the buyer should be able to get a Home Report directly from the seller.
Q. How quickly must a seller or their agent comply with a request by a prospective buyer for a copy of any or all of the Home Report documents?
A person responsible for marketing a house must provide a copy of any or all of the documents within 9 working days.
Q. If I buy the house, do I have to pay the seller back for the cost of the Home Report?
There is nothing is the legislation that insists that the buyer of the house should reimburse the seller for the cost of the Home Report.
Q. Are Home Reports required across Scotland?
Yes. All houses marketed for sale in Scotland will require a Home Report, with only a few exceptions.
Q. What can buyers do if a Home Report is not provided?
Buyers should receive a Home Report within 9 working days of requesting it. Sellers may refuse to provide a copy in certain limited cases. If a buyer believes that they are being denied a copy of the Home Report unlawfully, local authority trading standards officers are responsible for enforcement of these duties.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Q. What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
An EPC is a document which states the energy efficiency of a building based on the standardised way that the building is used.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) ratings are shown in bandings from A to G, with A being the least polluting. The main focus of the certificate is the amount of CO2 which is estimated to be released from the building. The performance of the dwelling is benchmarked against current building standards and recommended cost effective improvements.
Q. Why have they been introduced in Scotland?
The earth's natural resources such as oil products, natural gas and solid fuels are limited and steps must be taken to conserve these commodities. Scientific studies have indicated that these resources also generate emissions such as CO2, which are considered to have a direct contribution to global warming. Making a building more energy efficient through improvements in heating systems, insulation and air conditioning units will lead to a reduction in energy consumption and in CO2 emissions.
Q. What information will the EPC display?
The EPC will display an indication of the current carbon dioxide emissions of the building. It will also provide an indication of potential emissions on an annual basis and record a list of cost effective improvements.
Q. What does an EPC inspection involve?
A typical inspection of a home takes about an hour and involves the following:
- measurements of the interior and exterior of the property
- visual inspection of glazing, light fixtures, the main heating system, the boiler (if present), the hot water storage cylinder (if present), the heating and hot water controls, any fireplaces or secondary heating systems, the gas and/or electric meters, oil or LPG storage tanks (if present), the loft space, any basement or cellar areas, corridors and adjacent stairwells (flats only) and any other energy related features or renewable energy resources in the home.
Q. What should I do with the EPC?
It is the responsibility of the building owner to 'affix the certificate to the building' - this is a legal requirement. The EPC should be indelibly marked and located in a position that is readily accessible, protected from weather and not easily obscured. A suitable location could be in a cupboard containing the gas and electricity meter or the water supply stopcock.
Q. When does an EPC have to be produced?
An EPC has to be produced for all properties that are put on the property market in Scotland from the 4th January 2009.
Q. Who can produce an EPC?
In Scotland, there is no specified qualification for energy assessors. The Scottish Government has entered into protocol with professional organisations/institutions whose members already have an understanding of the building/energy sectors. Only members of protocol organisations may produce EPCs for existing buildings.
Q. Do all tenants of rented properties require an EPC by the European Deadline of 4th January 2009?
No. All tenants who rent a property on or after 4th of January 2009 must be provided with EPC (E.g. new tenancies). However, landlords would be advised to ensure that they have all of the information necessary to produce the EPC before this deadline.
Q. What does the 'Energy Efficiency Rating' on the EPC mean?
This shows the energy efficiency of the dwelling at present (current) and the efficiency if the cost effective measures were implemented in future (potential). This is based on the information about the dwelling not the way in which it is used.
Q. What does the Environmental Impact (CO2) rating on the EPC show?
This shows the amount of CO2 emissions from the dwelling at present (current) and the emissions in future (potential) if the cost effective measures were introduced.
Q. Do I have to carry out the cost effective improvements?
No, but you may wish to give serious consideration to these possible improvements as not only will they reduce the carbon emissions generated and the energy used, but they could also save you money.
Q. How long will the EPC remain valid for?
An individual EPC will only be valid for a period of ten years. If major works were to be undertaken during this period, building owners may choose to update the certificate, however, this is not mandatory.