The introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) has caused a great deal of upheaval for everyone involved in the home buying process and there are still a number of issues to be resolved.
While HIPs have come in for much media criticism over the last year or so they have already started to have a positive impact and as their role out continues are set to become a permanent fixture.
At the moment it is too early to gauge the full impact that HIPs have had and so trying to make an accurate assessment with regard to their success or otherwise is impossible.
However, the feedback we had from advisers at the recent Mortgage Expo in Manchester was extremely positive.
Advisers saw that they could easily add estate agencies to the range of services they offered to their clients without having to get involved themselves.
They realised that adding home sales and HIPs to their service offering could help them generate more mortgage enquiries and protect their current mortgage leads from being lost to the in-house adviser at the local estate agent.
In addition, Promise’s one-stop offering allows them to generate incremental income from the sale of a property, the home information pack and consolidate any associated mortgage sale in an all embracing service.
Whilst HIP’s are still often quoted as costing £500 to £600 the reality is that brokers can sell a HIP for £285 including a referral fee of £40.
However, there are a number of issues we need to deal with if we are to enjoy the full benefits HIPs can bring to the home buying process and already we are seeing some encouraging signs that they are having a positive effect in certain areas.
At the moment there is some concern that not every estate agent is adhering to the letter of the law when it comes to HIPs.
Most of the evidence is anecdotal and it is difficult to know how big an issue this is, but more trading standards officers to monitor the situation and deal with those found wanting would be a step in the right direction.
The requirement for an Energy Performance Certificate has obvious benefits in helping homeowners improve the efficiency and as fuel bills continue to soar the issue will not just be one that concerns the environmentally aware.
There are also a number of grants available to homeowners who want to improve the efficiency rating of their home and the need for homeowners to have an EPC has helped highlight the financial support that is available.
This has to be a positive step and without the introduction of HIPs awareness of the support that is on offer would be much lower.
Prior to 1990 not every property sale was registered with the Land Registry so when these dwellings come on to the market, it can create extra work during the conveyancing process.
However because the issue comes to light when a HIP is being produced, all of the information required is in place by the time it is in the hands of a conveyancer.
Despite worries about whether there are enough domestic energy assessors and home inspectors, this has not proved to be the case, although there could be a spike created in demand for their services when a date is announced for all properties on the market to have a HIP, and the amnesty on those put up for sale before the new legislation came into force ends.
As HIPs settle into the market and their real potential unfolds, much of the negativity surrounding their launch will be forgotten.
We are already seeing signs of the positive impact they can have and this can only increase as they become embedded into the home buying culture.
Steve Walker is managing director of Promise SolutionsIFAonline
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