HIP News update
Buyers'are not keen on Home Information Packs
Homebuyers and some solicitors are shunning home information packs, say estate agents. The issue was raised with Housing Minister Yvette Cooper during a webchat on the No 10 website.
Andrew Richardson, an estate agent from Chichester, said he had 12 houses for sale with HIPs but, "not one viewer has requested to see any of our HIPs".
"We have agreed a sale on a HIP house (but) when I informed the buyer's solicitor and asked her whether she would like an e-mail or hard copy of the HIP, she replied that she wasn't in the slightest bit interested in seeing it.
"Consequently my vendor client has spent £500 on a HIP that no one is interested in, and the purchaser is still having to spend the same as before on her conveyancing."
He was joined in his concerns by estate agency Chancellors which warned that the packs, introduced in August, were leading to "double costs", with two lots of searches being ordered - one for the HIP and one later for the conveyancer.
Robert Scott-Lee, managing director of Chancellors, said that, as yet, no buyer in any of the firm's 50 branches has asked to see a HIP. "The clear effect of this is to mean extra cost in the transaction," Scott-Lee said.
Cooper said the packs have already led to the cost of searches falling and added: "Buyers should make sure the HIP is provided as it can clearly save buyers money."
HIPs, which cost on average between £300 and £500, were introduced for homes with four bedrooms or more in August and extended to cover three-bedroom properties last month.
Meanwhile, the number of houses on the market with at least three bedrooms has dropped since the introduction of home information packs, a survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed.
RICS said 37% fewer properties were on the market in September compared with the same month last year. However, some estate agents say the drop is because people rushed to put houses on the market before HIPs were obligatory.