• HIP Providers Join Forces

    Home Information Pack (HIP) providers have joined forces to offer home sellers a deferred payment scheme.  The idea behind the scheme is that vendors enter into a 10 month deal where they only pay for theHIPs they request once the sale of the subject property has completed.

    HIP Payment Services are behind the scheme and boast that most of the big names in HIPs have already signed up.  They say that whilst the cost of a HIP is minimal compared with the overall costs incurred in selling a home the majority of consumers have indicated that they would prefer to pay for their HIP at the end of the process rather than paying “upfront”

    Some estate agents had expressed concern that chasing customers for payments for HIPs would add to their overheads. Bearing in mind that typically estate agents are paid on completion directly from the seller’s solicitors they do not have to invest in the “credit control” processes that other business do.  This deferred payment scheme may also lead to “valued added extras” being easier to sell to the customer too.

    Ultimately this idea could also be helpful in making the whole HIP’s process less objectionable to vendors by removing the number one objection – upfront costs.

    According to the Communities and Local Government website the average HIP is taking around 5 days to compile, with major estate agents charging in the region of £300 plus VAT for a HIP.

    Currently the packs are only required for homes with more than 3 bedroom, it is widely expected that the next move will broaden the scope to cover all houses in England and Wales, probably early in the new year.

  • Home Information Packs for Three-Bed Houses

    From today anyone marketing a property with three-bedrooms must now provide a [tag]Home Information Pack[/tag] (HIPs).  This follows the introduction of Home Information Packs for four-bedroom houses from the beginning of August.

    The packs were intended to speed up and simplify the house buying system in England and Wales, however their introduction has been opposed by many industry professionals including estate agents and surveyors.

    The [tag]HIP’s[/tag] pack includes several items which have always been required to complete the house buying transfer, but they also introduce some new elements too.  The full home information pack should contain:

    • Evidence of title
    • Copies of planning, building regulations or listed building consent
    • Guarantees for any work carried out on the property
    • A local search
    • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

    The initial introduction of the Hips was delayed by the government at very short notice, officially because of a lack of trained inspectors.  However many believe that the delay was due to the intense opposition to HIPs from within the industry.

    The reports that are now required are very different to the ones originally proposed, amongst other items the Home condition Report (HCR) was dropped.  The HCR was meant to substitute the valuation report normally required by the mortgage company. This had to be dropped when the lenders all refused to accept the report as security for the mortgage.

    The energy certificate is a required element of the HIP, and is supposed to grade houses and flats in a similar way to how home appliances are graded.  The report will indicate how much money can be saved by installing better insulation or a new boiler.

    Whether or not the introduction of home information packs has had any impact on the market is difficult to say, there are conflicting sets of figures which can be used to illustrate either point of view.  But there can be no doubt that Home Information Packs will continue to cause controversy long after their initial introduction.

  • HIP’s: From Septemeber It’s Three-bed Houses Too

    The government has announced that the Home Information Pack scheme (HIP’s) will be extended to cover 3 bed houses from 10 September 2007.

    Despite opposition to the initial introduction of HIPs the government has decided to push ahead with the expansion of the scheme.  The Home Information Packs were originally scheduled to be introduced for all homes from 1st August 2007, but after a farcical u-turn in July only 4 bed houses were initially covered.

    The original brief for HIPs was to find a way to improve the house buying process in England, not least to speed up the house buying system. However following an EU directive that all houses must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) the government decided to add the requirement to the HIPs.  This would have worked had they no been forced to withdraw the Home Condition Reports (HCR) from the packs.  If you have a low tolerance for acronyms then  this whole matter could start sounding like double dutch (DD).

    HIPs Being Introduced Gradually

    Opponents to the introduction of HIPs had hoped that the government would take the staggered launch as a opportunity to review the whole matter and possibly make some positive changes.

    Claims that an EPC will somehow help to reduce carbon emissions are somewhat strange given that the observations in the report are only advisory and carry no weight.  Not least given the age of most properties being bought and sold, it is strange to think that an Energy Efficiency Report will recommend that a listed building fits uPVC windows which is in direct opposition to listed buildings regulations.

    HIPs can cost around £500 and take about 5 days to compile.  The finished report should include:

    • Evidence of title
    • Copies of planning, listed building or building regulations consents
    • A local search
    • Guarantees for any work on the property
    • An energy performance certificate

    One of the factors which delayed the initial introduction of HIPs was the lack of home inspectors, the government recently confirmed that there are enough inspectors to further expand the scheme.  So, it seems likely that HIPs will soon be required for all properties changing hands.

  • Home Information Packs take a dive

    Are [tag]HIP’s[/tag] delayed or cancelled? The government (in the form of Ruth Kelly) has now said that [tag]Home Information Packs[/tag] will be required for all properties with four bedrooms or more from 1st August 2007. The whole affair has been an embarrassment to the government, with the original proposals stripped to the bare bones.

  • Home Information Pack Pricing Details

    Some of the companies who have invested the most in the provision of Home Information Packs have started to release so of their pricing plans. LMS are believed to be the first to market with their offering. Their report will consist of an Energy Performance Report (EPC) and all the necessary local searches.

  • Home Information Packs (HIPs) Are Coming

    Estate agents, mortgage brokers, and solicitors are all well aware of Home Information Packs (HIPs).  But how many consumers are aware of what’s install for them when the new regulations come into force on the 1st June 2007.

    The original intention behind the introduction of  Home Information Packs was to speed up transactions within the UK housing market. The original idea would have seen the HIP include a Home Condition Report and Search details included by the seller when the property was put on the market.

    Two years later and the project looks a little watered down. In the summer of 2006 the Government had to concede that including the Home Condition Report (or basic survey) in the pack was not going to be viable, not least because the required 7,000 home inspectors could not be recruited and trained in time.

    The Home Information Pack that will come into force this year looks a lot different to the original proposal.  The Home Condition Report has been replaced by the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)  The EPC is intended to give consumers information about the energy efficiency of the property they intend to purchase.  Although this is a noble idea in itself,  it is difficult to see how it enhances the stated aims of the Home Information Packs, namely speeding up the house buying process.

    So, from the 1st June 2007 sellers will be able to  market their homes as soon as the EPC and the key legal documents are provided. A HCR can be included if the seller wishes to commission one, but it is no longer compulsory.  Surprisingly, searches will not need to be included in the pack, they simply need to have been “commissioned”.

    A cynic may suggest that the biggest benefactor of the introduction of Home Information Packs will be Estate Agents, as they will naturally pick up most of the fees.  Considering that Estate Agents are the least regulated and least accountable parties involved in the house buying process (and also amongst the most complained about) it will be interesting to see how they perform.

    Properties which go on the market before 1st June can stay “HIPs” free until March 2008, rather than the original October 2007 deadline, this was possibly intended to try and offset a surge in properties going on the market.

    What do you think about the introduction of Home Information Packs? Are you intending to Market your property before the deadline?  Let us know what you think.

    [tags]home information packs, hips[/tags]