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Love Or Hate Them, HIPs Are Here To Stay

Aug 12, 2008
HIPs or home information packs have been with us for some time whenever selling property on the open market. While the government has attempted to convince the public that they will make the property exchanging process much easier and simpler for both buyers and sellers, not all are convinced. Some critics have claimed that instead of making the process easier, they have in fact made it more difficult as well as more expensive. On average HIPs cost around three to four hundred pounds, an added expense in the selling of property.

One of the major benefits put forward by government ministers has been the increased information available to buyers. This is supposedly especially the case for first time buyers who have had no experience in the property market. Additionally the packs have meant that energy information has been available to buyers; included in HIPs is an energy performance certificate that classifies the property with an energy efficiency rating from A to G.

It is hoped by clearing up the energy efficiency information it will be possible for buyers to be given a concise report and rating that will enable then to save money on bills and searching for property. F and G ratings are the lowest and thankfully for owners of these properties they will be given help in increasing efficiency to make their property more appealing. Critics have stated however that this scaling system and process of reaching a rating will only act towards making the selling of property more bureaucratic and costly.

These critics have gone further to argue that HIPs will make it harder for many homeowners. This is because with increased complication, an already fragile property market will experience more difficulties and greater instability. Instead of ploughing on with the HIP legislation some have put forward the idea that scrapping HIPs and the increased red tape they bring would have been more advisable.

On the other hand however, delaying or causing uncertainties in the information pack policy would most likely make the property market more unstable and fragile. This is most probably why the government have been so convinced that following a certain and determined course of action may actually help to stabilise property prices.

There have however been difficulties in the introduction of the HIPs, especially for those who own leasehold properties. This has been because it is often difficult for leasehold owners to gain all of the documents they need for the pack quickly. Currently homeowners must commission a pack before putting it on the market, meaning that getting a home up for sale can take much longer. In response to the problems of leaseholders the government have given them leeway in the production of packs.

It is not just politicians however that have been critical of the information pack policy. Rics, the official body of chartered surveyors has claimed that as only larger properties were originally required to produce packs, there are now less large properties on the market today. It is feared that this situation will continue across the market and with all types of property. Understandably as the market is in a state of flux, anything that will reduce the number of properties on the market will make the situation worse.

No matter what the conjecture with the introduction of HIPs it is assured that they are here to stay. Like them or hate them they are now a fundamental part of the property selling process that must be produced when putting homes up for sale. If they manage to perform in the ways proposed by the government they should make the selling and buying of property in the UK, much easier and straightforward.
About the Author
Real estate expert Thomas Pretty looks into the introduction of HIPs and the arguments that have surrounded their implementation.
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