If you’re starting to browse for homes, make sure you understand how to read a Home Report.

When searching for a property, one of the key pieces of research you should do is to check out the Home Report. However, as a first-time buyer, you may not know what to look for! Here’s our quick guide on what a Home Report is, what it includes and what to look out for…

In most cases, sellers are legally required to provide a Home Report when they put their home on the market

In Scotland, Home Reports are ingrained into the property sale process and so we would always encourage buyers to familiarise themselves with the Home Report of a property before a viewing.

A Home Report is a very useful document as it details all the crucial information about the condition of the property, as well as it’s energy efficiency and other notable features you may be required to know as the owner of the home.

What does a Home Report look like?

A Home Report is made up of three documents:

  1. a single survey undertaken by a surveyor which is a report on the internal and external condition of the property
  2. an energy performance certificate which lets you know about the energy efficiency of a home,
  3. and a property questionnaire which is completed by the seller and gives information on the home which may be helpful for prospective purchasers


Things to look out for

The two things you should look for in a home report are the home report valuation and the single survey category repairs.

Home Report valuation

The Home Report valuation will let you know what the surveyor deems the property is worth. This is used to set the seller’s expectation for the purchase price and is also the price that the bank will lend against. Your ESPC solicitor estate agent will be able to advise on what similar properties in the area are achieving by looking at ESPC data which can help inform what you may offer.

Single survey category repairs

The single survey contains information on the features and condition of various parts of the property, and the building of which it is part where applicable. Each aspect of the property is given a category rating of 1, 2 or 3.

Category 1 indicates that no immediate action or repair is needed.

Category 2 means that repair or replacement will be required in future and it is recommended that estimated costs are obtained prior to purchase.

Category 3 means that urgent repair or replacement is required immediately and estimated costs should be obtained prior to purchase.

It is important to read through this information carefully to understand what work is required/recommended for the property and how urgently this work is needed. You can then discuss with your solicitor whether to obtain estimates for the cost of the work, and at what stage. It is possible that the seller may already have obtained estimates which can be made available to you.

Read more useful first-time buyer articles here:

Frequently asked mortgage questions for first-time buyers

Learn where the best areas for first-time buyers are

10 questions every first-time buyer should ask