Home owners in Scotland, who are considering moving house, have been advised by Scotland's leading property care company to gear up for an approaching major change in the way homes are sold.
From December 1, it will be compulsory for every person selling a house in Scotland to supply potential buyers with a Home Report - essentially detailed information about any property problems and value of their property - before offers are made.
Brian Reid, Operations Director of Wise Property Care, said: "Home Reports have been introduced by the Scottish Government, and are the single biggest change the Scottish housing market has experienced in decades - radically changing the buying and selling process."
Home report documents
The Home Report will contain three documents providing home buyers with more information than they have ever had. These are:
- A single property survey prepared by a chartered surveyor containing detailed information on property condition, accessibility information and a valuation.
- 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.
- A property questionnaire to give prospective buyers useful information about the property, such as parking arrangements, factoring and property alterations and property guarantees for remedial issues such as dry rot.
Expert opinion on home reports
Brian Reid said: "The thinking behind this new move is that, for most people, the largest investment they make in their lives is their home and the Scottish Government believes that the buyer should have good, professional information about its condition and value before making an offer.”
"This significant change to the buying and selling process in Scotland has many pluses - especially the fact that buyers will have better information than ever before about the condition and value of properties before offers are made and will no longer face paying for multiple surveys.”
"But in Brian's opinion, with experience of 34 years in the business the downside for sellers is that a Home Report showing substantial problems could result in people getting a significantly lower price for their home than they would have previously.
"We believe the answer to this is for sellers to insist on a full property health check by a reputable and credible provider to determine how their property is performing with regard to the main items that might influence the sale.
"They should then prioritise which items of disrepair are more critical and carry out those that will instil confidence in buyers. Prices will be increased by selling with reputable guarantees where possible."
"We are convinced that, prepared for properly in this way, sellers do not have to be scared of the introduction of Home Reports. In fact they can be seen as an opportunity to maximise profit from the sale of their property."