What is a Home Report?

A Home Report is a pack of documents that give potential buyers information about a property for sale. This was introduced in Scotland on 1st December 2008. All properties that are advertised as for sale in Scotland must have a report prior to going on the market.

The report consists of three components:

1. A Single Survey
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• An assessment of the condition of the home (for example, the roof, internal and external walls, plumbing and kitchen fittings)
• A market valuation

2. An Energy Report

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• The energy report gives the home an energy efficiency rating. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the home is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. It also looks at the impact the home has on the environment, through carbon dioxide emissions. The report looks at features such as how well insulated the home is, and how it is heated.
• The energy report also recommends ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills.

3. A Property Questionnaire

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The property questionnaire contains additional useful information about the property, for example:

• The property’s council tax band
• Parking arrangements
• Alterations that have been made to the property
• Whether there are any extra costs involved in living there (such as charges for the upkeep of communal areas).

How much does a Home Report cost?

The cost of a Home Report is depending on the value of your property and can range from around £400 up to and exceeding £1000.

How do I get a Home Report?

If you are selling your property using an estate agent or solicitor they should arrange for the Home Report to be carried out on your behalf. The single survey and energy report must be carried out by a qualified surveyor. The seller or their legal representative will be responsible for filling out the property questionnaire.

How long does a Home Report last?

A Home Report lasts for the length of time your property is on the market although if the date on the Home Report is longer than 12 weeks the purchasers’ mortgage lender may ask for an updated Home Report. It would be up to the buyer and seller to decide who will pay for the updated report although the expectation often is that the seller will pay for this

What if the survey finds a problem with my property?

It’s up to you to decide what to do if the surveyor identifies a problem with your home. You don’t have to fix the problem if you can’t afford it or don’t have time. However, bear in mind that the defect may affect the price you get for your home, so ask your estate agent for advice as to whether or not it will be worth putting the problem right.

If you have any further questions on a Home Report please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Blackadders Property Team who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Nahdean

Nahdean McLarty
Property Manager
Blackadders LLP
@BlackaddersLLP

www.blackadders.co.uk

 

What is an Online Estate Agent?

A commonly misused term of 21st-century estate agency is ‘online estate agent’. The terms itself is a play on words and in my opinion should be rebranded as ‘online-only estate agent’. Indeed, every estate agent whether it is traditional, online-only or other is almost certainly going to advertise online. With this in mind, the key question any would be Seller needs to ask is NOT whether or not you are an online agent. But WHERE online do you advertise?

It is crucial that Sellers take into account regional variations on this key marketing point. There are significant geographical differences that should be considered. At Blackadders we are well placed to advise clients on where best to advertise online and back up our advice with evidence.

If you are considering selling your home and would like to discuss this in more detail do not hesitate to contact the Blackadders Property Team.

Brian MainBrian Main, Estate Agency
Angus Area Manager
Blackadders LLP

@BlackaddersProperty
@BlackaddersLLP
www.blackadders.co.uk

Are responsible lending restrictions going too far?

I welcome the comments by the Head of the National Association of Estate Agents voicing his concerns regarding the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).  Readers of this blog will know that for the past 18 months I have advocated strongly for Government action and support to force lenders to increase the amount of lending to enable all prospective purchasers and first time buyers in particular to get onto the housing market.  If the current proposed restrictions are applied, more than 150,000 purchases each year will not take place and this will hit first time buyers heavily.  This will have a huge knock on effect.  I will keep you updated in respect of these proposals.

Since writing this blog, Prime Minister, David Cameron has now spoken out against plans to clamp down even further on mortgages in the name of responsible lending.  Mr Cameron had indicated that lenders have already gone too far in preventing good risk buyers from accessing mortgages.

The Housing Minister Grant Shapps, who is due to meet the FSA during the course of this week in respect of the MMR proposals, has himself indicated that he would have failed to get a mortgage under the new proposals.

I am delighted that the Prime Minister and the Coalition Government are taking this matter so seriously as the housing market is fundamental to the whole economy.

I will keep you updated.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services
T: 01382 229222
E: lindsay.darroch@blackadders.co.uk

Property repossession numbers continue to fall

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have reported that there were 8,900 homes repossessed in the three months to October, which was a drop of 5% compared with the previous quarter.  This is the fourth quarter in a row that numbers have dropped since they reached a peak of 12,200.  The CML have warned that the trend of falling repossessions could reverse.

I was recently at an insolvency conference and one of the topics discussed was that there had not been the explosion of repossessions in either residential or development property that was initially expected.  I think this is down to a number of reasons but the main one is that the historic low levels of interest rates means that borrowing for both individuals and businesses is affordable. From my discussions with various lenders, I think they are taking a more pragmatic view of what is the point of repossessing or taking over a development site if there is little or no chance of selling this on in the open market?

I think this flags potential problems when the economy starts to improve. As interest rates rise, this could make mortgage payment unaffordable, increasing the number of people who fall into arrears. As the property market picks up, I think lenders will be more inclined to repossess or take over development sites as they realise they have more of a chance of selling them on. I also know that a number of the large banks have set up their own holding companies and have transferred ownership of a number of development sites to these holding companies waiting for market recovery.  This is something that I will continue to monitor as it is likely to have a knock-on effect to at least the short to medium term house prices.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

Mixed messages surrounding the mortgage market

Whilst a lot of recent press reports have been very negative in respect of mortgage lending and certainly there is a degree of difficulty with a certain type of lending, I have recently been involved in discussions with a leading High Street lender regarding Blackadders being given access to some semi-exclusive off-market products.

With some commentators moving towards the view that interest rates will stay at their current low-level until spring/summer 2012, there does appear to be a slight easing off in the mortgage market.  This reinforces the importance of speaking to an independent mortgage adviser at the earliest opportunity to make sure that you are getting the best deal you can.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

Bank mortgage approvals

I was concerned to hear that the number of mortgages for home buyers fell in August for the third month in a row. Demand for mortgages continues to be weak despite more properties coming on the market. Currently in Dundee and Angus there are 20% more properties coming on the market than there are sales. This is a concerning trend.

My view is that with the economic uncertainty and banks still showing an unwillingness to lend, there are a few more bumps on the road to economic and housing market recovery.

My watch word for this current time is uncertain and this re-enforces to me the importance of anyone contemplating getting involved in the property market taking the correct legal advice from solicitors with property experience.

First time buyers & the mortgage market

There is a lot in the press about the state of the British economy and with a General Election fast approaching this debate will increase.  I am surprised that at this stage there is not more discussion regarding the housing market and how best to stabilise it.  As a professional who is heavily involved in the property market it seems very clear to me and not open to dispute that our economic boom of the last few years was based on the increase in the value of houses.  Unless the housing market can be stabilised I do not think that the economy will ever get back onto a stable footing – certainly for the banks, once the housing market does stabilise, this will increase their confidence to start lending again.

One way of increasing this and one of the problems with the housing market at present is that it is very difficult for first time buyers to get a product.  It would be a brave political party that came up with a bold initiative to create a fund to help first time buyers get back on the market – why not force the banks to lend 90% to first time buyers with the Government guaranteeing the 5% over and above that meaning that first time buyers only had to find a 5% deposit?  This could be done at little risk if the lending criteria was correct, i.e. between 3 and 4 times salary and that there was a degree of affordability.  This would allow more first time buyers to get on the market thus stabilising the housing market and allowing the housing chain to get moving again.

Also what about again raising the idea of allowing people to use their pension funds to purchase buy to let properties, perhaps limiting the number of properties they can buy, this would then allow further funds to be injected into the housing market, stabilising house prices and again increasing confidence.

A way of funding this may be to introduce an enhancement to the Capital Gains Tax regime meaning that taxing people a higher percentage of the gain if they trade a property other than their sole or main residence within 5 years of purchasing, i.e. 70% after first year, 60% after second year and so on.  By assisting first time buyers to get on the market, the housing market will begin moving again, benefiting the whole economy.