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  The Home Condition Report has been replaced by the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)  The EPC is intended to give consumers information about the energy efficiency of the property they intend to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]

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