The Herald Magazine - - etc SCOTLAND’S HOMES - Bev­er­ley Brown

NEW Year is a time for res­o­lu­tions and new be­gin­nings but also a time to look back and as 2018 draws to a close it marks 10 years (yes, re­ally) since Home Re­ports were in­tro­duced amid a wel­ter of crit­i­cism and doubt. How­ever, Eric Cur­ran, man­ag­ing part­ner of char­tered sur­vey­ors DM Hall, be­lieves these crit­i­cisms have now been stilled, as the in­ter­ven­ing years have made it clear the re­ports, car­ried out by qual­i­fied and im­par­tial char­tered sur­vey­ors, have been a force for good.

“Home Re­ports re­placed a sys­tem whereby every buyer had to com­mis­sion a sur­vey and if the pur­chase was un­suc­cess­ful, mul­ti­ple sur­veys could run into thou­sands of pounds,” he says. “By con­trast, the seller now pays for the Home Re­port, which is made freely avail­able to all in­ter­ested par­ties and can be fac­tored into the ask­ing price of the prop­erty. Home Re­ports have been an in­valu­able tool for tak­ing the heat and the hype out of po­ten­tially over-ex­cited mar­kets be­cause they deal in hard, ob­jec­tive facts. The re­port’s very ob­jec­tiv­ity has been a vi­tal fac­tor in crys­tallis­ing views on value.

“But that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean they should re­main set in stone. There is some agree­ment across the board that Home Re­ports could be seen as un­nec­es­sar­ily long and per­haps too com­plex for the lay reader. Sur­vey­ors go out of their way, as they are trained to do, to present their re­ports in clear, con­cise and com­pre­hen­si­ble lan­guage, but some­times there are no al­ter­na­tives to the ter­mi­nolo­gies nec­es­sary.

“It may also be worth­while to dis­miss some of the more fan­ci­ful pro­pos­als about the re­ports. Sug­ges­tions there should be dis­cus­sion be­tween val­uer, buyer and seller be­fore a val­u­a­tion fig­ure is reached miss an im­por­tant point: the val­u­a­tion fig­ure can, and should, be ac­cepted by all par­ties for the un­shake­able rea­son that the sur­veyor’s im­par­tial­ity is not in ques­tion. In fact, it is this vi­tal role as an in­de­pen­dent ar­biter that has made Home Re­ports so uni­ver­sally ac­cepted,” he adds.

“Con­cerns about the cost of re­ports are also some­thing of a red her­ring. Cheaper al­ter­na­tives may seem su­per­fi­cially at­trac­tive but the old say­ing ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been more rel­e­vant than in this sit­u­a­tion. We should wel­come the ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect Home Re­ports have had on the mar­ket and be pre­pared to amend where im­proved ef­fi­ciency or us­abil­ity dic­tates. But there is no value in change for change’s sake.”

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