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Opinion: Should the mandatory home report return?

With buyers calling for upfront information on a property’s physical condition, should the mandatory home report return?

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to housebuying. There are those who instinctively fall for kerb appeal and others who are far more methodical in their approach.

I will dig further into my bag of clichés to also point out that there is often more to purchases than meets the eye, especially when it comes to potential works, value and other unforeseen issues. This is where the complexity of a property transaction really starts in earnest, and it is an area that demands greater clarity.

A recent YouGov survey commissioned by Landmark Valuation Services and Countrywide Surveying Services has found that many homeowners do not know who is responsible for advising on the physical condition of a property prior to purchase.

Additionally, they are unclear on the purpose of a lender’s property valuation report. Sixty-five per cent of those surveyed correctly stated that the valuation report was for the benefit of the lender, yet over a third (35 per cent) thought it was for buyers to use to determine whether the property was worth the agreed purchase price.

Twenty-six per cent believed it was there to provide buyers with details on the condition of the home, while 15 per cent directly stated they did not know what the valuation report was for. So what more can be done?  With an election looming, is it time to look again at introducing home reports as a mandatory step in the homebuying process, as per the current protocol in Scotland? Perhaps.

Especially when you take into account that seven out of 10 respondents said they would like to receive upfront information regarding the physical condition of a property.

Education is paramount. We must simplify access to all available information and resources that highlight potential issues or risks. The more support that purchasers receive upfront, the less likely it is that unforeseen complications will arise down the line.

Paul Wareham is managing director, surveying and conveyancing services, at Countrywide

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