An Essential Guide to Home Reports for Buyers

Before making the leap on your next dream home, it’s essential you know exactly what you’re buying into. That’s where the Home Report comes in. A Government mandated record, the Home Report comprises three documents and aims to inform buyers about a property’s general condition, energy efficiency and crucial details known only to the seller to help you make the best choice about your next home.


In this blog, we’ll discuss what a Home Report is, what each document includes, and essential points you should pay close attention to before purchasing. So, let’s get into it.


What is a Home Report?


Introduced in December 2008 by the Scottish Government, a Home Report is a legally required pack containing three sections which provide information about a property’s condition. Inside you’ll find the single survey, the property questionnaire and the energy report. Any seller who puts their home on the market must obtain a Home Report for prospective buyers and their agents to access during the sale.


When a buyer finds a home they are interested in, they can request the property’s Home Report from the seller, their solicitor or the estate agent dealing with the sale.


What Does the Home Report Contain?

The Single Survey


The single survey is carried out by a chartered surveyor and tells you about the property’s condition, its accessibility and whether you may need to carry out any repairs once bought. In addition, it will include a professional valuation (an estimate of how much the home is worth).


The single survey records the condition of each aspect of the property (everything from the roof to the windows) and breaks down their condition into three categories: 


  • Category 1 – No immediate repair required.


  • Category 2 – Repair or replacement required in near future, but further estimates advised.


  • Category 3 – Urgent repairs or replacement required now, with neglect likely causing significant issues in the future.


The Property Questionnaire


The second part of the Home Report is the property questionnaire, which the seller completes as it contains details only they are likely to know. Inside you’ll find vital information on things like council tax band, parking, property access (such as whether your neighbours have the right to cross your property to put their bins out), as well as any costs that may incur when you take on the property (maintenance fees for flat blocks, factoring fees for the local estate, etc.)


The property questionnaire covers sixteen categories, devised to give you the complete picture of a property before purchasing. These include:


  • Property council tax band
  • Any past issues which may have affected the property (flooding, storm damage, asbestos)
  • Whether alterations or extensions have been made to the property
  • Details of any specialist works or guarantees carried out
  • Details of any notices that might affect the home (conservation areas, building permits, etc.)

Energy Report


The last section of the Home Report is the energy report. This document assesses the property’s energy efficiency through an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) carried out by a professional surveyor. This certificate indicates how much it will cost on average for heating, lighting and hot water. It also rates the property’s environmental impact, providing information on its carbon dioxide emissions. Lastly, you’ll find advice on how to make the home more energy efficient should you still choose to buy it.


What to Look Out for in the Home Report


Now we’ve covered the Home Report contents, you should have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about the sale – but with all this information, it can be challenging to know what matters. So, here are seven things you should pay attention to when reading your potential property’s Home Report.


  1. The valuation – the single survey provides the buyer with a professional estimate of what the home is worth. If you’re interested in buying, the valuation is the best way to ensure you don’t pay more than you should.

  2. The property’s condition – you’ll find all aspects of the home assessed for needed replacements and repairs in the single survey.

  3. The accessibility audit – this section of the single survey is essential for buyers with limited mobility or disabilities. You’ll find information on how many stairs are on the property, whether there’s a toilet on the same level as the bedroom and details on parking.

  4. The property’s energy efficiency – the energy report allows you to consider the unseen costs associated with buying the property, including what you’re likely to shell out in bills.

  5. Flooding risks – the property questionnaire details whether the property has been affected by flooding in the past and can be a good indication of whether it’s likely to happen again. You can also check the Environment Agency website, which has a postcode search to show at-risk areas.

  6. Asbestos, dry rot and dampness – the property questionnaire will detail whether the property has had any specialist work done, as well as the contractors involved in case these are recurring problems.


Looking for Your Dream Home? Trust Beveridge, Philp & Ross, the Property Experts


With over 50 years of experience in the property market, our team of expert solicitors can help guide you through the buying process with care and ease, so you can focus on what’s important to you: finding your new home.


Get in touch today through our contact form, call us on 0131 554 6244 or email: