Buying a home is the biggest purchase most of us ever make, yet people in Scotland often purchased with less information than they’d look for if they were buying a new TV. Were Home Reports the answer?
Now that the housing market’s recovering, many of us are starting to think about moving. Whether it’s trading up, down-sizing or just getting that first step on the property ladder, most of us have a strong interest in what’s happening with the housing market.
However, like lots of people across the UK, nearly 95% of homebuyers in Scotland bought with almost no useful info on the condition of their new property. This meant they could easily find themselves landed with a large repair bill once they got the keys.
That’s why Which? decided to campaign for Home Reports in 2005. These would include a questionnaire on the condition of the property being sold (filled out by the seller) and a survey, which would give further information on the condition of the house. They’d also include a valuation, so that potential buyers would be better able to judge the real value of the property.
What about England and Wales?
Ahead of the implementation of Home Information Packs (HIPs) in England and Wales (a variant of Scottish Home Reports) in 2008, it was decided that they would not include a condition survey. However, since this made HIPs much less useful, it was no real surprise that they were abolished just two years later by the Government.
And yes, that means there’s no legal requirement in England and Wales for a seller to provide information upfront to a buyer about the property for sale, other than an Energy Performance Certificate. But the Scottish Government decided to keep the survey as part of the Home Report, and in 2008 they became compulsory and they are now paid for by the seller.
Your experience of Home Reports
The Scottish Government is now asking people who’ve bought a property in Scotland over the past five years whether Home Reports are doing a good job. Are they informing you of potential issues with your new home? Are they helping you understand in advance how much cash you’d need to spend on immediate, or not so immediate, problems?
To help us influence the future of Home Reports in Scotland, we want to hear from you. So if you’ve bought or sold a house in Scotland over the past few years, what was your experience of Home Reports? And for everyone else, what type of information would you like before you purchase a property?
Please mention what part of the country you’re in and whether you’ve been directly affected by Home Reports in your comment.