21st March 2009


As of 6th April, our 'property friendly' government has decreed it will be an offence for an estate agent (or a private seller not using an estate agent) to carry out ANY form of marketing of a property without having the majority of a Home Information Pack actually prepared and ready for inspection first. This could delay marketing for weeks.
As most already know, a seller currently has to write out a cheque or present a card for an average of 300 (soon to be nearer 400 thanks to government mismanagement of Local Authority Searches) to order a HIP and marketing can then begin at once. It can actually be done whilst the agent is 'measuring-up' and immediately the agent gets confirmation when back at the office that the payment has been made, it's 'all systems go' right away - just what the seller wants.
HOWEVER come April 6th, paying for the HIP is no longer enough. Our government decrees that no adverts can be placed, no for sale boards nailed up, no  flyers printed - not even a verbal mention of the house made to a potential viewer UNTIL the HIP is prepared and available for inspection.
Our rulers themselves have accepted that the required information will NEVER  be back in the first 3/5 days (so no property will ever go on the market on day one again). Agents can prove that, on average, the required information actually takes an average of  9 days to arrive and this was before a newly added Property Information Questionnaire was invented, that the government has chosen to add to the HIP documents (without trial) for the first time on 6/4.
The current HIP already averages 110 pages and some major agents, selling thousands of homes a month, will attest that purchaser requests to view HIPs are in SINGLE FIGURES. The newly invented 'Property Information Questionnaire will add yet more pages and completing it will further delay marketing . Herewith the new questions a seller must now answer and send back to the HIP preparer to be added to the Pack! 
Agents know sellers will be reluctant to fill these in, in the same way they are, not unreasonably, reluctant to allow their homes to be intimately searched by Energy Inspectors to
prepare the Energy Performance Certificate which also has to be in the Pack before marketing can begin.
It's all quite mad, especially when the government accepts that 98% of viewers currently refuse to inspect the multi-page HIP before making an appointment to view a home, and 95% don't even bother to look prior to making an offer! On top of this, buyers' solicitors say they will not accept the answers to the new Property Information Questionnaire, and already invariably ignore the Searches too, and insist their clients pay for a new set themselves.
If there is any justification for making the marketing of one's home illegal (fine 200 a day) before a useless and unnecessary HIP has arrived - will someone please explain it to me? Preferably before the lights go out on the property market for good.
Trevor Kent
Former president National Association of Estate Agents 
Property market commentator and anti-HIP activist
Gerrards Cross 01753 885522


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Trevor Kent