Home Information Packs

  realist 12:22 24 Mar 2007

Stand-by for the introduction of compulsory HIPS (Helping Impoverished Property Surveyors)
Home Information Packs from 1st June. Yes, more State-Nannying.

The idea is that armed with reams of paper about your intended house purchase, including a sort of lite survey of the property, you will be less inclined to renege on the deal half-way towards exchange of contracts.

One argument went something like: well you wouldn’t buy a car without an MOT so...But, buying a house is not the same. You can always get another identical car but every dwelling is unique in its accommodation layout, its location, access to shops, schools and other amenities. If you want a particular house in a particular location no end of surveys suggesting you should get the dry rot sorted will influence your decision, you’ll buy it woodworm et al.

I suspect many purchases fail due to the buyer’s change-of-heart for reasons other than newly-discovered information about the condition or energy-efficiency of the property. It might be things that become apparent upon a later, closer, inspection of the neighbours and neighbourhood, such as the neighbour's bull terriers, the hgv parked outside every night, or the last-minute realisation that the father of next-door’s kids is not actually ”on holiday” on the IoW. Or maybe just interest rates going-up unexpectedly.

HIPS must contain:
• A sale statement (summarising terms of sale)
• Evidence of title
• Standard searches (i.e. local authority enquiries and a drainage and water search)
• An Energy Performance Certificate
• Where appropriate, commonhold information (including a copy of the commonhold community statement)
• Where appropriate, leasehold information (including a copy of the lease, information on service charges and insurance)
• Where appropriate, a New Homes Warranty
• Where appropriate, a report on a home that is not physically complete

It may optionally include a Home Condition Report, guarantees and other searches.The government got cold feet over making the HCR compulsory fearing grid-lock of the property market.

From the official HIPS site:

“With 1.8 million Home Information Packs per annum, and only a single copy on paper some 225 million pages will be used, c. 2000 trees”.

Electronic copies are permitted but everyone will want at least one paper copy, won’t they?

The official site also helpfully states you can, if you wish, prepare the HIPS yourself, simply:

“ Contact a solicitor or conveyancer to arrange for the searches and legal documents you need. Alternatively, go to the appropriate local authority or a personal search company for the searches, and to the Land Registry for evidence of title. Locate a Domestic Energy Assessor to do your Energy Performance Certificate. If you want a Home Condition Report, you will need to contact a Home Inspector.”

Yeah, right!

For more: click here

What do you think?

  Kate B 12:46 24 Mar 2007

I think it's an excellent idea. I don't understand why some people object to changes that are designed to make life a little less stressful. It puts the onus for making sure that all a property's paperwork is in order on the seller, which as it should be.

It's a nightmare if you're a buyer and have spent money on a survey or a search only to discover that there's some potentially dealbreaking problem in a property you want to buy. It should speed up the process of buying and selling and should therefore make it slightly less expensive. And it will encourage sellers to make sure their house is in order, so to speak.

  realist 13:01 24 Mar 2007

I respect your views Kate B but heartily disagree.

It hardly simplifies anything!

It would have "simple" to have required contracts to be signed at acceptance of offer and let caveat emptor take care of the rest.

Nor will it "speed up the process of buying and selling and should therefore make it slightly less expensive". Fat chance!

  rowdy 13:10 24 Mar 2007

I think you have misunderstood, there is no property survey, the energy survey is a joke and Building societies will carry on as now.The searches carried out by solicitors will still be done.


  n4165si 13:15 24 Mar 2007

i suspect that the price of producing these packs will go straight on to the house price, after all ,it seems you want it, you will pay .No help for first time buyers.

  Kate B 13:21 24 Mar 2007

It's designed to speed up the process by getting some of the required paperwork in order. That will save the buyer money, time and stress and will I hope stop some deals falling through. Why are you all so negative about it?

  robgf 13:23 24 Mar 2007

The basic idea for the Home Information Pack isn't bad, but it lacks the two most important items.
A proper building survey and whether the house is in danger of floods (very important nowadays), or in a bad area.

So the buyer will still have to pay for a surveyor and do some research on flood plains and the local area.
The rest of the items, title, searches, etc, are already done by the solicitor, when purchasing the house and as I presume you will still need a solicitor to handle the purchase, it seems to be unnecessary duplication.

So in theory it's a good idea, but in practice it needs developing, so that the Home Information Pack contains everything needed to purchase a house and all that is needed to complete the purchase, is to sort out payment and register the new owner, removing the need for solicitors.
Sadly the idea has been poorly implemented and will just become an additional expense, for very little benefit.

  spuds 13:31 24 Mar 2007

Agree with the above. Kate B you appear to have it wrong as to the benefits of the new system and scheme.

One thing is that it is not going to reduce any paperwork, this will increase. This in turn will lead to the seller paying for another service, which will then be passed onto the buyer.

Regarding the start date, there also appears to be a rather large short supply of qualified authorised surveyors for this scheme.Looks like another one of those government ideas that will require massive tweaking as the problems rise.

  rowdy 13:31 24 Mar 2007

because it is a bad law that will achieve nothing and increase costs.


  rowdy 13:39 24 Mar 2007

This is yet another example of the government/civil service issuing half baked plans just to show that something is being done. What is needed isfor full proper consultation with all parties involved in house sale/ purchase to devise a good, efficient system that all have faith in.


  spuds 13:40 24 Mar 2007

Qualified authorised surveyors, perhaps I should have stated Home Inspectors!.

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