Home Reports in a Changing Housing Market

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This December marks the 5th anniversary of the introduction of home reports in Scotland on residential properties for sale, says Onesurvey Ltd.

Most of us can remember the hoo-hah it caused in the industry because this was a ‘marmite’ legislation and you either loved or hated it. So who was right?

Who remembers the chaos caused by up to 10 surveys being done on every property for sale? Home reports were brought in initially to put a stop to multiple valuations being carried out on one property as the cost to the consumer (buyer) could run into thousands of pounds if they were unsuccessful in their offers. It was also thought that they would improve the housing stock as sellers would make good any repairs shown in the report. However, the legislation was intended for a buoyant market but was introduced at what has been, arguably, the biggest property downturn since the Second World War. Some of the biggest critics even blamed the legislation for the downturn.

Five years on, and we are moving into a busier market – the very conditions the home report was designed for. So could we have managed without them in the last five years? Lesley Sorridimi of Onesurvey, doesn’t think so, “The reality is that home reports and the way they are viewed and utilised by the property industry and the sellers and buyers has changed from its original conception”, she goes on “Sellers pay more attention to the ‘1-2-3’ grading within the single survey as more and more they either make good the repairs to improve the report or arrange for quotes to be available to buyers.”

Home reports have gone through some organic growth since December 2008, mainly due to Solicitors, Estate Agents and Surveyors, working together to embed it into the home buying and selling process. With recent data showing house prices starting to rise, sales increasing and mortgage finance more available, the home report will be of more benefit to the public than ever.

Jonathan Riley of Rettie Bearsden LLP agrees that home reports are a normal part of the process. “The buyers really rely on the information in the single survey and in fact I think it has brought transparency to the residential resale housing stock, as well as realistic pricing.” Riley sums up” The property market is improving and with increases in volume, 2014 could be the year of the home report.”

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Lesley Sorridimi

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