In Scotland, when you sell a property, you have to prepare what is called a “Home Report” to show to potential buyers interested in your property. In this, the seller must include information about the property including a survey, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and a Property Questionnaire.
The idea of a Home Report is to give you an understanding of how much your new home will cost to run – including the cost of utilities. It’s a good idea to read through it thoroughly before putting in an offer, so you know what to expect.
The EPC will give you an overview of how energy-efficient the building is and whether there are any improvements that could be made. For example, it might be lacking insulation in the loft which is allowing heat to leak.
In a Property Questionnaire, the seller should give a detailed history of the property, including information relating to any changes that have been made, any history of flooding or other environmental damage, parking spaces, repair and maintenance details and any Local Authority notices that have been served against it. Alongside this, it should provide you information on its Council Tax band.
A survey, which will give you varying details about the property depending on which the seller chooses, must be included in the Home Report, as the person who carried out the survey has a duty of care to both you and the seller. However, if you want to carry out a more comprehensive survey, especially if the property is older or of a non-standard build, you’re perfectly able to do so.
Hiring your own surveyor
To apply for your own survey, head to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website here. Dependent on how comprehensive a survey you require, you have the choice of three options: a home condition survey, a homebuyer’s report or a building/structural survey.
If you’re buying an older home or a non-standard build, it’s usually recommended that you pay for the most expensive option – the building/structural survey. This can cost upwards from £600 but it’s the most in-depth and will point out any serious structural faults that may have gone unnoticed with a cheaper survey. It should also include a valuation of the property and an estimate of the rebuilding cost.
The most basic survey is the home condition survey, which should only really be considered if the build is fairly new and standard – i.e. brick walls and a slate roof. Any structural issues or repair work that needs doing won’t be made clear by this survey, but it is the cheapest at around £250.
A homebuyer’s report is the middle-ground, which gives you a pretty detailed survey of both the interior and exterior of the property. This typically costs around or above the £400 mark, but you can often get a valuation of the property carried out at the same time as well.
Getting a mortgage valuation report
If your mortgage in principle has been approved, it’s likely your mortgage lender will set up its own valuation of the property you’re looking to buy. This is so that they can confirm whether or not they agree it is worth the price that you’re paying for it – and the amount you’re borrowing. If the survey you carried out or the one in your Home Report includes a valuation, your mortgage provider may choose to use this instead. Depending on the lender, some deals may include a free valuation with the mortgage.
That’s it for part two, next time we’ll explore making an offer, signing your contract and moving in.
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