With the introduction of Home Information Packs edging closer, its time to think about beating the deadline.
New government legislation means that as soon as 2007, it will be the law that no house can be sold without an information pack. These Home Information Packs (HIPs) will have to be produced by vendors for potential buyers to see before they make an offer. This will make important details about the property readily available and should speed up the buying process therefore lowering the number of house purchases that fall through. As part of the Queen’s speech, it was announced that in order to cut out timewasters and reduce the time it takes to get from the offer stage to completion of sale, a lot of information gathering should happen before the property is put on the market for viewing.
Similar schemes are already running successfully in Denmark and Australia. The UK scheme was piloted in Bristol in 2000 and will be further tested over the next 18 months before becoming compulsory. The vendor will bear the cost which is estimated by the government to be £500 to £600 (£280 for home condition reports, £200 for local authority searches and £125 legal fees). At the moment the buyer pays for the searches.
The HIP will include the following:
- Title documents for the property
- Standard enquiry replies (problems with the property etc.), these are currently requested by the buyer’s solicitor
- Copies of any planning, building and listed building regulations, consents and approvals
- Warranties and guarantees for new build properties, and/or recent work completed on the property
- A draft contract
- Local authority searches
- A house condition report based on a professional structural survey of the property
- Sellers questionnaire
Leasehold properties will have further documents including;
- Copy of the lease
- Most recent service charge accounts and receipts
- Buildings insurance policy details
- Any regulations made by the landlord or management company additional to those on the lease.
- Contact and legal details of the landlord or management company
Before HIPs become a legal requirement, you can help yourself speed up the home buying process by taking some simple steps.
Vendors – gather as much of the information mentioned above as possible (guarantees, service charges etc.) Your local authority should be able to sell you how long it takes to send back a local search.
Buyers – if you are worried about gazumping (when a vendor pulls out of a sale because they have received a higher offer), you can ask the vendor to take the property off the market once they have accepted your offer. Also, get your finances in order before you even start house hunting so that you know what you can afford and how much you can borrow.
Whilst there"s no denying that HIPs will be of benefit to both buyers and vendors, making useful information more accessible and minimising "gazumping", the packs will come at a price.
This price will have to be met by the vendor and could run into hundreds of pounds. Our advice is to put your property on the market now, before HIPs become compulsory. Call our dedicated sales team on 029 2045 4555 or arrange a valuation online