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Ask the property experts

Whether you’re buying a house in Scotland, thinking of buying a house, or just keen to understand more about the Scottish home-buying process, Walker Fraser Steele are residential property experts and we’re here to help. We’ve pulled together a list of the most commonly asked questions, but if you can’t find the answer you want below, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

FAQs for Scottish sellers:

What documents are included in the Scottish Home Report?

The Home Report will include a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire. Click here to find out more.

I am thinking of selling my house in Scotland soon. When do I have to provide a Home Report?

Properties marketed for sale from December 1, 2008 in Scotland need a Home Report.

I’ve applied for a mortgage. What happens next?

When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will check the information you’ve provided on your mortgage application form. This process is known as “underwriting” and typically includes credit referencing, validating how much income you have, and assessing the suitability of the property for security purposes.

Your lender will normally instruct a surveyor to inspect the property after the credit referencing stage, around a week after you’ve submitted your application. This is a valuation, not a survey.

Valuation reports are returned electronically and usually within tight timescales dictated by the lender – normally three working days from instruction. Bear in mind that receipt of your formal mortgage offer can take up to two or three weeks from application.

Who will compile a Home Report?

The Home Report will be compiled by the seller’s agent or the seller. A Chartered Surveyor, such as Walker Fraser Steele, or other provider (approved by Scottish Ministers), will provide the Single Survey and Energy Report. The seller of the house will complete the Property Questionnaire.

I am a private seller in Scotland, 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. To do this you will need to commission a Chartered Surveyor (or approved provider) to carry out the Single Survey and Energy Report. You must also complete a Property Questionnaire.

Are there any circumstances where I do not need to provide a Home Report?

If you market your house for sale, you must obtain a Home Report. However, the duty to provide a Home Report does not apply if you (or your selling agent) reasonably believe that the person making the request (for a copy Home Report)

  • is unlikely to have sufficient means to buy the house in question
  • is not genuinely interested in buying the house
  • is not a person to whom the seller is likely to be prepared to sell the house (this does not allow people to discriminate, say on grounds of race)
Who pays for the Home Report?

The 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.

How much will a Home Report cost?

The cost of a Single Survey and Energy Report will be set by individual surveying firms and will vary according to the size of the house. Sellers are advised to consider a number of quotes from different providers before making a decision. There should be very little, if any, costs associated with the Property Questionnaire as it is completed by the seller of the home.

How 'old' can the Home Report documents be when the house is put on the market for sale?

The legislation says that the Home Report documents should be no more than 12 weeks old when the house is put on the market.

Will 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.

What happens if the Single Survey identifies a significant problem with the condition of the house such as dry or wet rot? Does the seller have to rectify the problem?

That is a decision for the seller. The seller may choose to rectify the problem or may for other reasons, market the house immediately. There is nothing in the legislation forcing the seller down one particular route. From the Single Survey report, the seller will at least be aware that there is a problem and have options to decide what to do about it.

You can find more information about what to do if your Home Report highlights an issue here.

FAQs for buyers:

How can buyers receive a copy Home Report?

A Buyer should ask whoever is advertising the house for sale for a copy Home Report. This is usually an estate agent/solicitor, but could be another business or individual.

Will it cost buyers anything to obtain a copy Home Report?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (or RICS) – is the world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property and construction.

e.surv (and Walker Fraser Steele) is regulated by the RICS and all our Chartered surveyors have individual RICS certification. This is your guarantee of quality service as the RICS requires its members to update their knowledge and competence during their working life through Continuing Professional Development (or CPD).

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.

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 Home Report documents within 9 working days.

If I buy the house, do I have to pay the seller back for the cost of the Home Report?

This is a matter between the buyer and seller. There is nothing in the legislation that insists that the buyer of the house should reimburse the seller for the cost of the Home Report.

Are Home Reports required across Scotland?

Yes. All houses marketed for sale in Scotland will require a Home Report, with only a few exceptions.

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. These are where the seller believes that the person making the request:

  • Could not afford the house
  • Is not really interested in buying the house
  • Is not a person to whom the seller would wish to sell the house (but this does not allow them to unlawfully discriminate against someone

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.