10 Myths of Home Information Packs (HIP)

Home Information Packs (HIP) are becoming more widely accepted since the first date of implementation. However, with the Home Information Pack’s existence also comes some fallacies and myths which have been attached to them. Due to this we have decided to look at a selection of some commonly held misconceptions and some of the more unusual ones we have come across.

1. HIP stands for and is an abbreviation for Home Improvement Pack.

This a common mistake many make and one can certainly be forgiven for holding this belief. This error was recently made by the Communities and Local Government (CLG) when publishing a guidance document on Home Information Packs within their website. It has since been rectified.

2. A HIP only last for 12 months and then it must be renewed.

As long as the property is continually marketed (this does not have to be via the same agent) the HIP remains valid.

3. If my property doesn’t sell I do not have to pay for the Home Information Pack.

There are various payment options available when purchasing your Home Information Pack; including an upfront payment and quite often a deferred payment option. With both of these payment options you will ultimately need to pay for your Home Information Pack whether your property sells or you choose to take your house off the market.

There has recently been promotion of a ‘no sale, no fee HIP’ which does potentially mean if your property does not sell you may not have to pay. However, there is a large extra cost implication involved and quite complex terms and conditions attached to this payment option. Some terms related to this option dictates the pricing of your property in a falling market. Please read these terms and conditions carefully before entering to such an agreement

4. Home Information Packs are an increased cost in the buying and selling process.

It is true if you are selling a property without buying a property there is a ‘new’ cost in the selling process though this should not translate into large increased overall costs. However, if you are buying and also selling a property as is the ‘normal’ transaction, Home Information Packs costs negate themselves between the buyer and seller.

Due to the new Home Information Pack legislation organisations have been forced to streamline their operations in a slowing property market often reducing their costs which have ultimately been passed on to the end consumer. For e.g. search companies and local authorities have had pressure applied to reduce their costs to the consumer and also to increase their speed and efficiency returning information requested. This a direct result of Home Information Pack legislation.

5. Home Information Packs duplicate the work my solicitor will do, so I will pay twice.

The Home Information Pack provides official documentation which has always been required when selling your property for e.g. Land Registry documentation and the water & drainage search. There is no reason for this information to be supplied twice and the main difference it is now supplied at the start of the home buying and selling process.

You may be asked by your conveyance to pay for regional specific searches such as a Coal Mining Search in addition to the mandatory search provided within the HIP. If you prefer you can quite routinely order these ‘extra’ searches via your HIP provider.

Many conveyancers have reduced their costs associated with the buying and selling process due to the Home Information Pack being immediately available as this has reduced the time they required; though some, not surprisingly have not.

6. Home Information Packs are added bureaucracy and do not hold any importance.

We have often read and hear that the only document contained within the HIP of any interest to the buyer is the Energy Performance Certificate. The EPC shows good relevant information in a user friendly format the energy efficiency of the property.

Whilst there are plans to increase the added ‘usefulness’ of the information to the prospective buyer through various methods including the Property Information Questionnaire; the existing documents importance must not be disregarded. As stated above many of the documents within the Home Information Pack have always been required and considered essential by conveyancers though may not make particularly interesting reading to the home buyer.

7. Home Information Packs must be bought via an estate agent

Estate agents can arrange your Home Information Pack quite routinely on behalf of you, though it is quite unlikely that they are preparing the documentation in-house. Most agents have connections with a specialist provider who will prepare the Home Information Pack.

As is common, not just in this market; going direct and commissioning a Home Information Pack direct from a HIP provider may save you money.

8. The HIP doesn’t need to be completed until I have accepted an offer.

This statement is contrary to one of the main concepts of the HIP i.e. having the required information prepared to enable a smooth buying and selling process to take place therefore speeding up the process. Only completing the HIP once an offer has been accepted returns us to the position we were in prior to HIPs introduction with unexpected delays that can easily hold the sale up.

At the time of writing you can market your property IF you have ordered your Home Information Pack as per the first day marketing exception currently in place. This exception is currently under review at present, with an announcement expected shortly in regard to whether this will remain or be removed as was originally planned.

The time taken from ordering of your HIP to competition should generally be no more than 5-10 days and this is a question that should be asked of your prospective HIP provider.

If you have not ordered a Home Information Pack and can not prove so, you are NOT legally allowed to market your property.

9. HIPS are the reason the UK housing market has slowed down.

This is a myth that we felt must include but it is hard to find words for such a far fetched concept. How can Home Information Pack documentation which commonly costs £250 -£400 and provides useful required and essential information in the property buying and selling process cause such a slow down in the UK Property market?

10. Every property now requires a HIP if it is to be marketed.

Whilst it is true that the initial roll out of the HIP legislation via number of bedrooms has been completed i.e. number of bedrooms does no longer determine whether a property requires a HIP; there are still some HIP exclusions. For e.g. a private, non-marketed sale and mixed use properties remain exempt from requiring a HIP. More reading on Home Information Pack exclusions can be found here.

HIP-Consultant.co.uk have supplied many Home Information Packs and we are confident that we have aided sales completing successfully on time due to identification of issues and taking the appropriate action; to the benefit of our clients and those connected with the sale.

Home Information Packs continue to receive a bad press from the ‘usual’ regular critics. However, they remain and it seems as if they will become established in the UK’s Property buying and selling process. Ultimately, the ‘finished’ product may not be as we see it now but what successful product or service does not seek to evolve or improve?

You can find other interesting expert advice and information from BuyAssociation about buying property abroad and also in the UK .

We look forward to your comments and hearing any others myths you have come accross.


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15 Responses to “10 Myths of Home Information Packs (HIP)”

  1. Excellent list there, everything covered very clearly and simply. Let’s hope the government don’t change the goal posts again, as they have done so often in the past,

    Richard

  2. Another great Post

  3. HIPS? What’s the point? Scrap the stupid idea.

  4. […] Home Information Pack (HIP) Home Information Packs (HIP) are becoming more widely accepted since the first date of implementation. However, with the Home Information Pack’s existence also comes some fallacies and myths which have been attached to them. Due to this we have decided to look at a selection of some commonly held misconceptions and some of the more unusual ones we have come across. […]

  5. J Lockwood Says:

    Is there still an exclusion on the requirement for a HIP on property put on the market with an estate agent before certain dates.

  6. If the property was excluded from requiring a HIP ie some properties placed on the market prior to 14th December 2007 and continually marketed there is no legal requirement to now have a HIP commisioned.

    A drop dead date where all properties need a HIP regardless of date that the property was initially marketed has been spoken about but not announced. However, you must have an EPC.

    Hope this helps.

  7. The HIP is a waste of time because it has been watered down by the RICS.

    The two most important things you want to know about a prospective purchase are:-

    1. What is the value?
    2. Is it structurally sound?

    The HIP tells you neither!

  8. The HIP is:

    1 A waste of time for the purchaser whose lender will ignore the findings and instruct the purchaser to obtain a valuation with/without survey

    2 A waste of money for the vendor who is unable to reclaim the fee charged from the purchaser

    The only possible interest is for the Energy Cert. Even so the cost of remedial works to significantly improve the building (if permitted in the case of a Listed property i.e. double glazing) or achievable (i.e. concrete construction) is meaningless.

    This is one of the worst pieces of ill conceived legislation since the Dangerous Dogs Act or The Anti Hunting Ban.

  9. Hi Phil/John,

    Current information within the HIP provides useful and essential information for the buying and selling process. A few examples of the exisiting information/benefits you can gain from the HIP.

    -does the owner have legal ownership to sell the property.
    -terms of the lease if applicable
    -any building work, has this been carried out to planning and building regs.
    -energy efficiency of the property
    -any proposed building/development in the area.

    This information and the answers to some of these questions can make, break or delay a sale.

    Yes, there is some new information contained within a HIP but alot has always been required. The main difference is now we provide this information at the start of the process not at the end.

  10. The energy performance certificate makes reccomendations which have various levels of cost implications for them to be implemented.

    Some of the lower cost measures which are often contained within the report, will return the intial outlay within 1-2 years.

    With the grants available these costs are often subsidised and make the improvements ‘cheap’ and in some cases free. We wrote an article about the support you can receive in regard to EPC recommendations here.

    In most circumstances we have found people have welcomed being able to reduce their energy consumption, bills and CO2 emmisions, especially with the energy price rises anticipated.

  11. I concede that the HIP is of some use but only if it has been compiled recently. The property I am about to purchase had it compiled 18 months ago so all the searches have to be done again. Even my conveyancing solicitor says its a waste of time and money.

    In addition, the EPC on the property I am selling is incorrect because the energy assessor could not easily see the loft insulation during the ‘head & shoulders’ inspection she performed. My modern central heating system was rated ‘poor’ even though TRV’s are fitted, simply because there is no room thermostat (not needed). It a good job most buyers dont even look at it (according to her).

  12. Hi Phil,

    You really do seem to have been let down by your HIP provider. If you do not feel the EPC was carried out incorrectly i would contact your provider in the first instance to see if they can explain the problems you have detailed.

  13. Hi,

    The EPC makes “standardisted assumptions” so it is not likely to be accurate. For example my heating/hot water cost estimates are nearly double the true cost.

    If any of my viewers had shown the slightest interest in the EPC/HIP I may have been bothered to contact the HIP provider, but thankfully they didn’t.

    I would be interested to find out how much CO2 is produced when compiling an EPC.

  14. There is no requirement on the HIP report to include gas safety check and electric checks. I would think they are more important than EPC. Since EPC is included in HIP, what about these checks to protect the buyer?

  15. Faustina Fambrough Says:

    Thank you so much, Great information…

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