Law Soci­ety Pres­i­dent, Paul Marsh, recent­ly announced that the con­tro­ver­sial Home Infor­ma­tion Pack scheme would be sub­ject to a full inde­pen­dent review. All par­ties con­nect­ed with the prop­er­ty mar­ket will prob­a­bly be inter­est­ed to see the results of the review, but for the time being, the prop­er­ty mar­ket is still adapt­ing to the lat­est changes.

Fol­low­ing changes on the 6th April 2009, ven­dors can­not put up those For Sale” signs until all of the key doc­u­ments for their HIP are in place (although they will still be giv­en 28-days grace for a few items includ­ing prop­er­ty searches).

Pre­vi­ous­ly, Sell­ers could mar­ket their prop­er­ty as soon as they had instruct­ed a HIP to be pro­duced, and they had up to 28 days to do so while they wait to receive it.

Accord­ing to a sur­vey of prop­er­ty pro­fes­sion­als by the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Estate Agents (NAEA), 65% believe that the new arrange­ments will actu­al­ly dis­cour­age sell­ers from putting their prop­er­ties up for sale.

Sean Bar­row, a solic­i­tor with 30 years expe­ri­ence, said I think the sur­vey result is quite sur­pris­ing as most peo­ple don’t seem aware of the changes, and to be hon­est, the changes are only slight­ly alter the end HIP clients see. The main dif­fer­ence is the process of putting HIPs togeth­er, which most will see as extra work.

I also believe peo­ple will only put off mov­ing for so long (if at all) and then just accept that they have to adhere to the changes, which we wit­nessed when HIPs were orig­i­nal­ly introduced.”

Anoth­er change from the 6th April is the intro­duc­tion of the Prop­er­ty Infor­ma­tion Ques­tion­naire (PIQ) which requires sell­ers to answer infor­ma­tion on the risk of flood­ing, gas and elec­tric­i­ty safe­ty, ser­vice charges, park­ing arrange­ments and details of any struc­tur­al damage.

Jonathan Singh of Spencer Knight, a prop­er­ty con­sul­tant with 15 years expe­ri­ence said We were slight­ly con­cerned when we were informed by Jack­son Bar­rett & Gass of the changes because of the speed need­ed to get packs ready, and also get the PIQ filled out.

How­ev­er, if any­thing, it has improved our offer­ing in terms of speed and clients can now judge our effi­cien­cy in real terms.

Clients con­tin­ue to put their prop­er­ties on the mar­ket freely, and we have only had one per­son object to HIPs since the intro­duc­tion in 2007.”

Sean Bar­row also com­ments If any­thing, the changes may improve some ele­ments of the mar­ket. Pre­vi­ous­ly, some HIPs either weren’t ready when sales were agreed, or HIPs were incom­plete with parts miss­ing. Hope­ful­ly the changes will ensure all HIPs are ready when a sale is agreed, and the Con­veyanc­ing process isn’t delayed.

Final­ly, the 6th April was sup­posed to be the so-called Drop Dead Date’ — prop­er­ties pri­or to the orig­i­nal HIP intro­duc­tion, and who still haven’t sold their prop­er­ties will need a HIP in place. How­ev­er, offi­cial clar­i­fi­ca­tion of this posi­tion has­n’t been forthcoming.

Sean said As far as we are con­cerned, it is still applic­a­ble. We have advised clients and Estate agents alike, to make sure they have a HIP in place for prop­er­ties mar­ket­ed pri­or to Octo­ber 2007.”

Jack­son Bar­rett & Gass take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to add val­ue to the packs by adding extra doc­u­ments ear­li­er on in the process thus ensur­ing the sell­er and pur­chas­er have all the infor­ma­tion required from the outset.

Jack­son Bar­rett & Gass also include full local search­es (rather than per­son­al search­es) in all HIPs thus ensur­ing that all buy­ers can use the search­es in accor­dance with their mort­gage lenders.

Final­ly, Jack­son Bar­rett & Gass charge no fee for the cre­ation of HIPs. Clients mere­ly pay for the manda­to­ry items that are required.


This arti­cle appeared in Wilm­slow Express Home­search 14/05/09 & Mac­cles­field Express Home­search 20/05/09