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29 August, 2007

There has been much publicity recently regarding the launch of the controversial Home Information Packs (HIPs) by the Government. Their implementation was delayed and, when introduced, was a significantly watered down version of what the Government had initially envisaged.

So, what exactly are HIPs?

If you're selling a home with four or more bedrooms, from 1 August 2007, you need a Home Information Pack (HIP) before you put your home onto the market. Smaller properties are expected to be phased in by the end of the year. This will give buyers a pack offering essential information about the property they wish to buy, for free. A HIP is a pack of information relating to the property. It will be a criminal offence, punishable by a fine of £5,000 if you try and sell your property without one. An estate agent can no longer market your property in the absence of a HIP.

Why do we need them?

HIPs are supposed to improve the house-buying process for everyone by enabling a buyer to make an informed decision as to whether to purchase a particular property. Information, traditionally provided at the end of a sale, will now be provided up front. It is hoped that HIPs will deliver the promised benefits: speeding up sales, making the process cheaper and reducing uncertainty in house buying.

What will the HIP contain?

The main documents forming the mandatory part of the pack are:

  • An Index (i.e. a list of the contents of the pack)
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Evidence of title
  • Sale statement (summarising the terms of the sale)
  • Standard searches (i.e. local authority, drainage and water)
  • Where appropriate Leasehold or commonhold information The Home Condition Report (HCR) section will not be compulsory so the HIP is now mainly a legal document.

How do you get a HIP?

Even though HIPs are mainly a legal document, placing them firmly within the expertise of solicitors, anyone can provide them including estate agents, surveyors and third party suppliers. Many of these unregulated HIP providers will soon be entering the property market offering cheap HIPs. Local supermarkets have even announced they may be offering them.

But will these third party suppliers be able to produce HIPs accurately and in a timely manner? It is likely that some HIP providers will do the minimum required in order to comply with the legislation. Such packs may end up incomplete, inaccurate and, a waste of your time and money. There will certainly be no shortage of those offering HIPs but not all packs will be of the same quality and the seller will need to look carefully at what is on offer.

Why choose Forbes to provide your HIP?

HIPs contain a large amount of complex legal information and solicitors are best placed to not only prepare but also to interpret these packs.
We offer the Law Society accredited Home Information Pack and are confident this is the right solution for your next sale. The Forbes HIP is:

  • Guaranteed to be compliant with HIP legislation
  • Prepared online to reduce delays and ensure the pack is prepared as quickly as possible
  • Flexible allowing for the inclusion of additional authorised items to assist you in marketing your property
  • Seamlessly linked into the conveyancing process
  • Competitively priced

Experience: The consequences of missing any detail, when buying and selling property, could prove to be a costly mistake. That is why it is essential to entrust a firm who do not cut corners and can offer you a comprehensive service. We have an excellent reputation demonstrated by the significant number of clients who return to us and recommend our service to others.

Personal Service: Sellers will need help in dealing with the legal requirements of the pack and will seek guidance and advice in completing the forms. Our team of solicitors and conveyancers are best placed to guide you through the process giving practical advice.

Speed: We are at the forefront of technology which means you will receive a speedy service with the personal touch. We can also undertake the conveyancing process, unlike other HIP providers, avoiding duplication of effort and minimising delays.

Michelle Thompson is a Partner and Head of the Conveyancing Department. She can be contacted on 01254 222399, or email Michelle Thompson.

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