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About HIPs

Earlier on this year the government in the UK introduced HIPs, or Home Information Packs. These HIPs have to be provided by the vendor or agent for any home of three bedrooms or more that goes up for sale in England or Wales. Eventually these HIPs will be rolled out to all properties rather than just larger properties, and it will be a legal obligation for all properties marketed for sale to have a Home Information Pack available.

The Home Information Pack is designed to benefit the potential property purchaser, and comprises an array of documents and information relating to the property that is being sold in accordance with the regulation under Section 163 of the Housing Act 2004. These packs are required on residential properties that are being marketed for sale. It is vital that you have a HIP before you market a home of three bedrooms or more for sale or you or the estate agent could find yourself in hot water, as you will be marketing the property illegally. Eventually this will apply to all residential homes for sale.

Hips have been at the centre of controversy since they were introduced in the summer of this year. According to many industry professionals, such as estate agents, they prove costly and cause unnecessary delays when it comes to the sale of a home. Many estate agents have commented that the number of three bedroom or larger properties going on the market has fallen over recent months as a result of the requirement of these Home Information Packs. However, government officials insist that HIPs are designed to protect and benefit the buyer and are an important – and of course legal – requirement for all eligible properties.

The aim of HIPs is to provide extensive and necessary information relating to the property, which must be provided to any potential purchaser on request. According to officials involved in the implementation of HIPs these packs are designed to help buyers to make a more informed decision with regards to purchasing a particular property and comprises all the necessary documentation and information needed to effectively sell or buy a home.

There are a number of documents that have to be included in these HIPs, and this includes:

  • Evidence of title
  • The terms of the sale
  • Copies of any applicable guarantees and warrantees for new builds
  • Consents and approvals of any planning or applicable building work performed
  • Guarantees for any works that have been carried out
  • Information relating to listed buildings
  • Information relating to local searches
  • Energy information (energy efficiency assessment)
  • A report detailing the condition of the property carried out by a professional surveyor

Officials also argues that, although the cost of a Home Information Pack runs into hundreds of pounds, much of this money would have been spent at some point anyway, because much of the information in the pack would have been required at some point during the selling process. The cost of the HIP for first time buyers will be free, so first time buyers are the ones that are most likely to benefit from these packs. In all other cases the cost will have to be covered by the seller and the buyer of the property.

Tom Smith
21st November 2007

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