Love them or hate them, there is one thing that everyone will agree about Home Information Packs. Everyone is just about getting used to them.

However, all is about to change as of 6th April 2009.

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

The 6th April is significant because 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).

Sean Barrow, a solicitor with 30 years experience, said “This really puts the cat among the pigeons. There is already a vast range of HIPs in terms of quality, most of which are including the bare minimum of information required.

We have also seen several HIPs missing vital documents such as leases. The pressure of preparing HIPs prior to marketing a property is surely going to lead to further corners being cut.”

The packs are also set to be made bigger, with the inclusion of a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ). This will require information on the risk of flooding, gas and electricity safety, service charges, parking arrangements and details of any structural damage.

Sean comments “The above sounds great in an ideal world. However, we have seen people ‘assume’ things on EPCs to again save time. As most HIP providers have no contact with their ‘clients’, I severely doubt they are going to take the time to gather all the required information.”

The 6th April could also become a date that property owners fear for those who marketed their properties prior to the original HIP introduction, and who still haven’t sold their properties. The so-called ‘Drop Dead Date’ will see Estate Agents have to check their stock for missing documents, for which the agents and vendor face a fine for not providing.

However, the above is still yet to be officially confirmed and as three Drop Dead Dates have been postponed due to the housing market slowdown, it is likely that a fourth one will be announced.

Jackson Barrett & Gass take the opportunity to add value to the packs by adding extra documents earlier on in the process such as planning permissions, guarantees and court proceedings, thus ensuring the seller and purchaser have all the information required from the outset.

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

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This article appeared in Wilmslow Express Homesearch 05/03/09