UPDATE: Home Information Packs have been officially suspended. The Government announced the suspension of Home Information Packs with immediate effect from 21 May 2010. You no longer need one to sell your property.
What is the home information pack?
A Home Information Pack, or commonly known as HIPs, is a set of documents that show the energy efficiency of a property, and its general condition. The pack is designed to improve the buying and selling process, or at least, that’s the hope. For example, prospective buyers will be able to view the energy efficiency of a property before putting in a offer.
Essentially, the more information that is presented to the buyer upfront, the slimmer the chance of a nasty surprise scuppering the sale further down the line, consequently the HIP is meant to reduce the number of property sales which fall through.
The law will require all homes that are put on the market to have a home information pack. As a homeowner, you’ll only need to take action when you sell your home.
What is in the home information pack?
- An index of contents
- A sale statement
- Evidence of title (for registered properties)
- An Energy Performance Certificate
- Searches and leasehold/commonhold documents (or proof that these have been commissioned).
- Evidence of title (for unregistered properties)
- Leasehold/commonhold documents.
What do I do with the home information pack?
The person in charge of marketing your property will need your home information pack, and then they will send copies of it to your potential buyers, so they can look through all the information.
You can look through the information and get a report of a property.
Do I need an information pack?
You are legally obligated to have a home information pack while your property is on the market for sale. The packs were initially only required if you were selling a property with 4 bedrooms or more, but it has since been realigned to include ALL properties of all sizes. Here is the timeline:
1st August 2007: The home information pack will be required and become law for all homeowners with 4 bedroom properties and larger in England & Wales who put their home up for sale from the 1 August 2007.
10th September 2007: Home Information packs will apply to 3-bedroom homes.
14th December 2007: Home Information Packs rolled out to one and two-bedroom properties.
You’re entitled to view the pack when you’re viewing a property that’s for sale.
How do I get a Home Information pack?
- Use an estate agent
- Get a solicitor to do it
- Use a specialist Pack provider (there are plenty around, just Google around)
- Enlist the help of other businesses, such as financial advisers
If you’re interested in buying a property, ask your estate agent to send you a copy of the home information pack. Estate agents will usually have a copy, but some sellers may choose other 3rd party companies to arrange it.
How long does a Home Information Pack last for?
If a property is on the market continuously (without a sale), then there will be no need to update the pack; the market decides whether the documents remain acceptable and up to date.
If marketing stops and then starts again, then you would normally need to re-evaluate the validity of the pack, and may need to update particular documents. However, the seller can carry on using the same Pack in the follow situation:
How much will the home information pack cost?
Costs will vary, but current indications would suggest that estate agents will charge around £400 to £600 for a basic pack on a 4 bedroom freehold property valued at around £350,000.
Nothing. However, you maybe asked to pay for the postage and packaging fees, along with cost to make copies of the document.
Can I shop around for a Home Information Pack?
Yes, definitely, you’d be stupid not to. Whilst the agent that you decide to use to market your home will probably try to get you to use their services to generate your HIP, you can use any HIP provider although make sure that they subscribe to the Home Information Pack Code and are registered with the Property Code Compliance Board. Better still, haggle hard when you’re instructing your agent and get him to either foot the bill for the HIP or at least only charge you what it costs your agent. Estate agents should be transparent about how much profit they make on this.
Remember, estate agents will make a fortune out of HIPs so make sure that you get a good deal. In the estate agency trade press, there are hundreds of articles about how estate agents can profit out of the implementation of HIPs, so don’t feel guilty about making sure you get the best value for money.
You don’t need a home information pack in the following cases:
- Properties where there is no marketing (e.g. sale to member of the family)
- Non-residential properties
- Seasonal and holiday accommodation
- Private sales, or any other sale or transfer where the property is not put on the open market.
- Mixed sales (e.g. shop with flat)
- Right to buy sales
- Sales of portfolios of properties (more than one property being sold as one lot)
- Properties not being sold with completely vacant possession
- Unsafe properties and properties to be demolished.