The Eric Whitehead Partnership

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Home Information Packs

From early 2007, the Government proposes that anyone wishing to sell their property will need to be in possession of a “Home Information Pack” (HIP). The HIP will be brought into existence by the Housing Act 2004 and will herald the dawn of a new era in conveyancing transactions.

It is envisaged that HIPs will be prepared by the person whose job it is to market the property (ie, normally, the estate agent) and the underlying purpose behind the HIP is to ensure that important information in respect of the property being sold is made available at the very beginning of the conveyancing transaction, rather than half way through, thereby drastically speeding up the whole process and reducing the risk of the deal collapsing.

The HIP is likely to include the following documents, most of which currently are only provided to the buyers (at their expense) much later in the conveyancing transaction:-

  • The terms of sale;
  • Evidence of title;
  • Replies to standard preliminary enquiries;
  • Copies of any planning consents and approvals;
  • Copies of warranties and guarantees;
  • Replies to local searches;
  • A home condition report (rather like a home buyers’ survey, but without a valuation);
  • An energy efficiency assessment of the property; and
  • Details of any taxes and service charges payable.

Critics of the HIP will state that the cost to the seller of selling the property will increase because it will be necessary for them, at the outset of a transaction, to obtain (and therefore pay for) all the information that a buyer would normally have to obtain during the course of a transaction. It follows, however, that the costs to the buyer will reduce and, as most sellers are also buyers, it can be argued that everyone will benefit from the HIP in the long run.

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