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What Effects Will Home Information Packs Have?

Aug 3, 2008
If a critique of the property industry and property selling process were to be made the findings would most likely state that it is inefficient and time consuming. This however is set to change with the government's drive towards home information packs for all residential properties being sold. Hopefully this move will reduce the time spent on buying and selling property whilst clearing up the contractual situation for both parties. But what information will these home information packs contain and underneath the hype, what will they actually do to make buying and selling property easier?

Part of the new home information packs will contain essential documentation that will put down in writing certain facts concerned with the property. Of this documentation the terms of sale and the proof of ownership will be included as will any information on building work undertaken on the property and any planning proposals. New information that would not normally have been included is the energy efficiency report, part of the government's drive towards more efficient homes countrywide. The purpose of including all this information is to make the property exchange clearer for those involved by having all relevant information in one place.

Home information packs are hoped to not only clear up the documentation disputes but to also to give both parties; buyers and sellers all of the information they will need on a property. The reason the packs have come to the forefront of legislation is due to the fact that if all of the information is collated and presented efficiently, mortgage proposals will be easier to secure and hence the time from offer to eventual sale will be reduced. Government estimates believe that by the introduction of the packs the current time of offer to sale will be reduced by as much as fifty percent. There is a downside however; completing the pack will cost around six hundred pounds, a rather large amount that will be paid by the seller.

A supposed benefit that the home information packs will deliver is that due to an increased freedom of information, asking prices will in fact be more realistic. Additionally, by having the information compiled in a single folder will hopefully reduce the instances where sales fall through as buyers will know the situation exactly and hence no nasty surprises will be around the corner once a deal has been made.

The seller must either compile the pack themselves or ask a third party, such as an estate agent to perform the task. Agents will have experience of performing the task but with more property being sold privately homeowners will have to put the packs together. Fundamentally you will need a pack if your property is to be put on the open market, there are however exemptions. If you are selling property through private arrangement, for instance to a family member or a neighbour, the need for a pack is negated.

The home information packs come into effect from August this year and apart from the aforementioned exemptions will be demanded by law. This does not necessarily mean that the penalty for not producing a pack will be a criminal record but civil lawsuits will be able to pursue cases concerned with the failure to produce a pack. In addition the Trading Standards Authority will be able to fine sellers around two hundred pounds should they fail to produce a pack.

The benefits of home information packs will become evident in the next few years. If the government estimates and predictions are to be believed they will make the property exchange process far simpler and faster. Whether or not this materialises is still a matter of conjecture.
About the Author
Real estate expert Thomas Pretty looks into how home information packs are set to change the property market in the UK.
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