22nd March 2010

The dreaded Home Report

I have read with interest some recent articles in the press regarding Home Reports.  Given that they have now been in place for over 12 months I found it very interesting that this debate is still continuing and perhaps more vociferously than it did at the time the idea was first mooted.  As a practising Solicitor with considerable experience in the property market I can honestly say that I have never come across a notion that has been so ill conceived and ill thought out as the Home Report.  It benefits no-one apart from Surveyors – apologies to all my friends who are Surveyors, although I fear that they themselves may come a cropper when the panels or nationals take control of the provision of Home Reports at the same cost to the client, taking considerable profit themselves and squeezing the Surveyors into providing Home Reports for much lower costs.

Home Reports were supposed to speed up the process – they haven’t – it now takes a lot longer to get the property on the market.  They were supposed to give a prospective purchaser more knowledge about a property at an earlier part of the process – they don’t.  Purchasers are people who rely on professionals, i.e. Solicitors and Surveyors, to guide them.  The Home Report is poorly laid out and the Solicitor is at a disadvantage not being able to speak to the Surveyor to get his comments by way of verbal report.  There is still the question of how much influence a seller or selling Solicitor has over a Surveyor.  There is a huge conflict of interest in the process in that the Surveyor is being instructed by the seller who is paying his fees but his report is being relied on by a purchaser.

Never mind the increased cost, the delay, the varying valuations, the Home Report was a concept that was not required.  Offers subject to survey worked fine – everyone knew where they were, prospective purchasers were taking advice from professionals who were able to give them guidance regarding values, banks felt more comfortable relying on surveys instructed after offers and if you were a seller who required to get their house on the market due to financial difficulties you are not being prejudiced by the expense of the Home Report.

A plea to the Scottish Government…

Please take a brave decision and scrap this silly scheme.

Home Reports – Your View:

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