HIPs ‘valueless without valuations’

Amanda Jarvis

February 10, 2006

The company warns that the omission of valuations from the packs will be “a green light to the small number of unprofessional estate agents to continue their unacceptable practices of overvaluing properties”.

Research from the company, which offers a service through estate agents transforming the way houses are bought and sold, found more than 40,000 people a month see house sales fall through.

Spring believes home information packs, due to become compulsory from the 1st June 2007, will help improve the situation but only if current Government draft regulations are improved to include valuations as part of HIPs along with contracts, a transfer and an interpretation of the pack contents to guide consumers.

Stephen Foden, chairman of Spring Move, said: “It is our experience that professional estate agents do not fear the inclusion of a valuation not least given that this information is becoming more readily available on the web through third party suppliers.

“It is common knowledge in the industry that some estate agents will overvalue properties with the view to taking them on their books and will then spend the next two to three months either hoping that the market will catch up or persuading their seller to reduce the price in line with the proper market value.

“The inclusion of valuations in HIPs would end this practice and speed up the process leaving estate agents to focus on marketing the property and earning their fees.”

Given that the search content of the Home Information Pack will only be accepted by conveyancers and lenders for up to three months, any delay in marketing will render the Home Information Pack useless. There will be delays while further searches are commissioned at additional and unnecessary cost to the consumer.

Selling agents are facing the reality that if houses are not properly priced and marketed resulting in a sale within six to eight weeks of instruction that they may be found liable for the additional costs incurred.

Spring Move has responded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s consultation on the Home Information Pack draft regulations with a series of proposed improvements to the regulations.

Other major changes it wants to the regulations include the requirement that Home Condition Reports must be prepared by Home Condition Inspectors who are truly independent of the estate agents selling the property. Spring believes that buyers and lenders will not trust reports unless they are independently prepared

It also wants a requirement for packs to be updated to be included in the legislation – it believes this will speed up sales, as it will concentrate the minds of sellers and estate agents.

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