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What You Should Know About Home Information Packs (HIPS)

Jan 19, 2008
If you're thinking about selling property in England or Wales, you now must add one more task onto your To Do list. That's because recently enacted legislation requires all those planning to market property for sale after 14 December 2007 to assemble a Home Information Pack (HIP).

What is a HIP?

As the name suggests, a HIP is a collection of documents that's compiled by the property owner (or estate agent) and made available to all interested buyers. Inclusion of certain documents is required under this new legislation while other documents need only be included at the seller's discretion. The types of documents that fall under the "Required" category include:

* An index that describes everything included in the HIP
* A summary of the terms associated with sale of the property
* Evidence of Title document
* Results of standard searches
* Energy Performance Certificate
* Property insurance details and a copy of the lease (if a leasehold property)

The need to produce such documents is nothing new. What's different about these changes to the 2004 Housing Act is the timing. A complete HIP must be ready before a piece of property is put up for sale. If any of the required documents are not included in the HIP, the seller must note this on the index and must prove that a reasonable effort is being made to obtain them.

Previously, buyers didn't usually have access to these important property-related documents until after they made an offer. By this time, most had already invested a considerable amount of time and/or had incurred considerable fees associated with the intended purchase. Finding out there were off-putting problems with the property after an offer had been made created many other problems including transaction delays and worse, eventual collapse of the transaction.

What you see is what you get

Now everything a buyer needs to know about a property is fully disclosed right upfront. For the first time, what buyers see truly is what they will get. At a glance they'll know the results of local searches and home condition reports. They'll know of any deed-related problems and more. And rather than being the responsibility of the prospective buyer, as had been the case in the past, any associated costs are now the responsibility of the seller.

What's especially helpful to prospective property buyers is the required addition of an Energy Performance Certificate. All homes with this certificate are assigned a rating from A through G after being evaluated by an accredited Energy Assessor (EA).

The EA evaluates such things as the presence of installed energy-saving features like double-glazed windows and energy efficient appliances, overall gas and electrical consumption, and the potential impact to the environment as a result of the carbon dioxide emissions the home discharges into the environment. Anyone buying a property that's been assigned a low rating of either F or G is eligible to receive discounted rates if they choose to incorporate any of the suggestions the EA makes.
About the Author
Adam Labno is a UK property investor who has a passion for property and helping home-owners and sellers in providing cost cutting property solutions.Owner of U.K property business' including Property Flaunt, for which this article is marketed for, in bringing full transparency to the UK market.
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