HIPs change in April
From April this year, the rules around Home Information Packs (HIPS) are changing - vendors will now need to get a HIP before an estate agent can market the property.
It is now compulsory to provide a HIP to buyers from the very first day of marketing a property and agents are worried that this change in legislation may impact negatively on housing supply.
The new ‘first day of marketing' rule has come about as a result of Housing Minister Margaret Beckett saying that ‘it is essential that all buyers are able to see the HIP as early as possible to ensure that they are benefiting from the important information.'
She argues that it will not hinder the market as many agents expect as they will still be able to ‘advise potential clients about properties they expect to be coming onto the market.' But, even giving out details that may identify a certain property may not be allowed.
One agent has said that the introduction of the first day of marketing will kill the off-market deals as all those vendors who want to sell quietly will no longer be able to do so.
The new rules could also potentially slow down sales as HIPS and Energy Performance Certificates can take up to a month to be processed. HIPs can cost anywhere in the region of £350 to £700, depending on which local authority the property falls under.
Sellers will also need to will need to fill out a PIQ is a set of mandatory questions about the property. Most importantly, the PIQ commits a homeowner to make representations that have legal ramifications even before a contract has been agreed.
The PIQ is intended to give the prospective buyer enough accurate information to take preliminary steps towards the purchase of the property. "This is a very tricky area, and not one that estate agents are qualified to advise on. We advocate that sellers consult a property lawyer for help on completing their PIQs."