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New research published last week revealed strong support among home buyers and sellers for the obligatory home condition report (HCR), which forms part of the Government's home information pack proposals.
A consumer trial of the HCR carried out by the Building Research Establishment among home buyers and sellers taking part in real home sales, found that 88 per cent of buyers and 78 per cent of sellers believed the report accurately reflected the condition of the property. Almost all buyers (95 per cent) found it useful and amongst sellers, 89 per cent said it was very useful. The reports have been attacked on the grounds that buyers would be distrustful of a report commissioned and paid for by the vendor or the estate agent. However just over half of buyers (54 per cent) who had bought a home previously said the HCR was more useful than surveys and reports they had received in the past.
The Housing Minister Keith Hill said the report was an important part of the government's home information pack (previously, the seller's pack). "Far too many home sales collapse or are seriously delayed because problems with the condition of the property only coming to light late in the transaction after terms have been agreed," he said. "These problems are compounded because about 60 per cent of home sales involve chains. A single failed transaction can cause a whole chain to collapse. The average chain has four transactions so it is easy to see that the knock-on effects of condition problems affect a large number of buyers and sellers." The HCR dealt with such problems by providing right at the start of the process objective, impartial, reliable information about the condition of the property, he argued.