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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Fotheringham

The Flawed Focus of Scottish Home Reports: Valuation Over Condition

In Scotland, the home-buying process is governed by a unique set of regulations, one of which is the requirement for a Home Report. While intended to provide prospective buyers with essential information about a property's condition, it's become increasingly clear that these reports fall short of their intended purpose. Why? Because they prioritise valuation over providing comprehensive insight into a property's true state.

At first glance, the idea behind the Home Report seems sound: offer buyers transparency by providing them with vital information upfront, ultimately streamlining the purchasing process and reducing the likelihood of unpleasant surprises later on. However, the flaw lies in the primary focus of these reports on valuation rather than on the structural integrity and condition of the property.

The current structure of the Scottish Home Report consists of three main components: a Single Survey, an Energy Report, and a Property Questionnaire. Among these, the Single Survey, which includes a valuation, often overshadows the other aspects. This valuation, typically conducted by a chartered surveyor, is based on a brief inspection of the property and comparable sales data. While valuable in determining a property's market worth, it falls short of adequately informing buyers about potential issues and risks associated with the property.

One of the most concerning aspects of this valuation-centric approach is the limited scope of the inspection. Surveyors conducting Single Surveys may spend as little as 10 minutes assessing a property. Such a brief inspection window hardly allows for a thorough evaluation of the building's structural integrity or potential defects. As a result, critical issues may go unnoticed, leaving buyers vulnerable to expensive repairs or renovations down the line.

The emphasis on valuation and that the seller appoints the surveyor can lead to conflicts of interest. Surveyors may feel pressured to inflate property values to appease sellers or estate agents, compromising their impartiality and the accuracy of their assessments. This conflict undermines the credibility of the entire Home Report system and erodes trust in its ability to provide unbiased information to buyers.

So, what can be done to address these shortcomings and ensure that Scottish Home Reports fulfil their intended purpose of empowering buyers with comprehensive information?

First and foremost, there needs to be a shift in focus from valuation to the condition of the property. Surveyors should conduct more thorough inspections, dedicating sufficient time to assess all aspects of the building's structure and systems.

Furthermore, steps should be taken to mitigate conflicts of interest within the valuation process. This could involve implementing measures to safeguard the independence of surveyors and enhance accountability within the industry.

Ultimately, the goal should be to empower buyers with the information they need to make informed decisions about purchasing a property. By prioritising the condition of the building over its valuation, Scottish Home Reports can fulfil their intended purpose and serve as a valuable tool in the home-buying process. It's time to reevaluate the priorities of these reports and ensure that they truly meet the needs of buyers in Scotland.

Until the system is sorted we recommend that you have an independent survey carried out of any building you are looking to purchase to ensure that there are no hidden defects or costs that may cost you a fortune once you have bought your house.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements; call us on 0141 237 9491 or email us at

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