Estate agents ‘confused and under-prepared’ for HIPs
The research, conducted amongst 100 estate agents, revealed a high level of confusion about the value of HIPs and uncertainty about how to prepare for them. With comments ranging from ‘a terrible idea’ and ‘a waste of time’ to ‘definitely needed’ and ‘about time, too’, the industry remains divided about the outcome of this impending legal requirement.
Almost a third of respondents (31 per cent) believe HIPs will damage the market place. From a more positive perspective, 22% are convinced HIPs will not only help their business but also help the housing industry in general.
According to Tom Parker, managing director of Quest Associates: “As HIPs are the biggest change the market has seen in recent years, it doesn’t surprise me that there are such mixed feelings about them. However, HIPs present a great commercial opportunity. Agents should be thinking outside the box and coming up with some original value added services, which can be integrated into HIPs to set themselves apart from competitors.
“I encourage all estate agents to be masters of their own destiny by being their own HIP suppliers, using the automated technologies in conjunction with local solicitors, brokers and surveyors. This needs to be done now in order to be fully prepared for when HIPs go live.”
The lack of education about HIPs seems to be adding to the confusion. According to the research, over half of the estate agents interviewed (58 per cent) do not see data security as a problem and have not put provisions in place to safeguard sensitive data included in the HIP. As all personal data, including name, address, signature of vendor, and a fixtures and fittings list will be included in the pack, this could expose a number of security issues.
Tom Parker concludes, “The industry needs to start embracing HIPs now and develop firm strategies to ensure it is fully prepared by June 2007. I believe a key driver behind the success of HIPs will be the underlying technologies used to share the critical elements of the pack online. With the correct technology infrastructure in place, HIPs can be as operationally efficient as hoped.”