There may or may not be little green men on the planet Mars, but there are certainly plenty of them patrolling the corridors of power.
Keen to emphasise what it hopes will be a vote-winning strategy, the government has ordered Civil Service mandarins to maul over forests of official paper in an effort to identify the latest pillar of public policy upon which they can pin their green credentials.
The latest initiative to catch their eye is the much-maligned home information pack (HIP). Even before the blighted policy has given birth, civil servants have toyed with its DNA to introduce a commitment that will see each HIP include energy performance certificates (EPCs) with the property particulars.
To cap it all, fines for estate agents who fail to HIPs (including Energy EPCs) will be reviewed in the light of experience from June 1st and could be raised from £200 to £500 if they fail to meet their commitments.
Rather than a burden, the introduction of HIPs represents an opportunity for both intermediaries and estate agents to reinforce their service offering to customers.
Intermediaries will find it much easier to insert themselves in the crucial early stages of the sales process if they can supply their own HIP. This will put them both in the driving seat regarding customer relationship, choice of mortgage and continuity of service.
Promise has developed ‘Homepack’ to help estate agents and others secure their own HIP solution ready for launch on June 1st. As in every business opportunity, speed is of the essence and brokers need to react quickly by firstly having a HIP solution in place and then allying with an estate agency partner. Failure to do so could result in a sharp drop in revenue, as new business partnerships instigated by rivals will see prospective customers gravitate to their one-stop offering.
Another thought struck me about the government’s latest pronouncement and its insistence that homes of the future reduce their carbon emissions and help combat climate change. It fails to take into consideration that the HIP legislation itself will increase carbon output from the property industry by encouraging greater road use and tree-felling through many more surveyors being on the roads in many more cars pumping out many tons more CO2. Add to this at least one 80-page document being printed for each HIP and you have created a very substantial carbon footprint. Now that’s what I call joined-up thinking.
Steve Walker is director at Promise Finance.
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the company he represents.IFAonline
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