Sellers in Scotland worry about the home report process, new research finds

Almost a third of people selling a property in Scotland are concerned that the home report will undervalue it and some are worried they could lose a sale.

The value is the biggest worry and younger sellers are more concerned than those aged 55 and over, according to new research from Home Report Scotland.

It found that 19% overall thought the home report would cause them to lose a sale, and this increased to 38% among sellers aged 16 to 24, while 12% were worried about getting a category three rating which says that urgent repairs are needed.

But 16% had confidence in the reporting and said they have no concerns at all about the home report process and this increased to 27% for those aged 55 and over.

‘Our research shows that a significant minority of the sellers have misunderstood the point of Home Reports and their value to people buying and selling homes,’ said Jim Gibson, managing director of surveyors Harvey Donaldson & Gibson.

‘For buyers, the advantages are obvious in that you get one report which shows you the condition of the property. And if you’re selling your house, the Home Report is a good opportunity to showcase the selling points of your home, and ensure that buyers won’t be dissuaded by unforeseen problems that arise during the sale process,’ he explained.

‘If you’ve maintained the property and kept it in good condition then the report will reflect this and give assurances to people thinking of putting in an offer. It could also show things that, with a little work, could add value to your property, too,’ he added.

However, not everyone in the property industry is convinced that a Home Report is worth getting done because it may not be thorough enough. It is mandatory in Scotland but not in the rest of the UK.

According to a survey by the TMA Mortgage Club, the majority of advisers say that they recommend borrowers take out a private survey before buying as they offer a thorough analysis of a property and also believe valuation reports conducted by lenders are not comprehensive enough.

This can mean borrowers and lenders value a property differently. Advisers also agree that a private survey provides borrowers with more protection and would save them money in the long term as it is the only way to identify any defects in the property.

This is backed up by ongoing research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who identified that on average, home owners spend £5,570 on repairs once they have moved into a property. This was largely due to not investing in a full private survey.

Despite it being mandatory in Scotland for vendors to have a Home Report on the property they are selling, 43% of the brokers polled by TMA don’t believe that it should become a required part of the valuation process in the rest of the UK.

‘It’s great to see so many brokers already advising their clients to take out a survey, but we would like to see it across the board. A home is one of the most expensive purchases a person makes and whilst our advisers are on hand to make sure that their clients get the best deal, we should be ensuring that they are not about to commit to a home that could cost them thousands of pounds,’ said David Copland, director of TMA Mortgage Club.

‘Going forward, we will ensure that TMA members are aware of all the surveys available and will help them to develop a strong relationship with a firm that they can refer their clients to, so they don’t have to solely rely on the lender’s provider,’ he added.