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‘Legislation will put HIPs firmly in the hands of consumers’

Not only will the new PIQ provide buyers with further, upfront information about their possible new home, but also it will significantly increase the number of consumers viewing the HIP, according to the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP).

Mike Ockenden, Director General, AHIPP said: "Finally we will see HIPs getting into buyers’ hands. There is already evidence that HIPs have helped to speed up the conveyancing process. However, one of the key challenges we have faced as an industry is consumer apathy. While every home on the market has had a HIP since December 2007, a recent CLG report has indicated that so far, only 40% of buyers even saw the HIP for the home they eventually purchased, and this needs to change.

"HIPs provide buyers with a great deal of important information that should be taken into consideration before making an offer, from the home’s energy efficiency to local search information. Following the launch of the PIQ, the level of upfront information available in the HIP will increase and we expect to see more buyers asking to see a home’s HIP. The reality is that most of those selling a home will be buying a home too and if they have competed a PIQ for their own property, they are more likely to ask to see the PIQ for any properties they plan to purchase."

As vendors play an increasingly involved role in the HIP process, AHIPP warns consumers that they need to act quickly and efficiently to ensure they do not delay the marketing of their own home. Completing the required PIQ and allowing Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) into the property to conduct the necessary Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as quickly as possible will be essential to ensure smooth and seamless process.

Ockenden said: "Our members are turning HIPs round in an average of five days. As a result, this new legislation is unlikely to delay consumers looking to sell their home. However, with vendors playing an increasingly important role in the HIP compilation process it is essential that they are provided with the necessary information and are made aware that their PIQ must be completed before their home can be marketed.

"The majority of our members are offering a PIQ completion service to assist vendors with the form. To avoid any delays, anyone planning to put their home on the market post 6 April should ensure their agent is offering access to such a service."

The HIP must include:
* Index
* Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ)
* Energy Performance Certificate or Predicted Energy Assessment
* Sustainability Certificate (new homes only)
* Sale Statement
* Local Authority searches (can follow in up to 28 days if not immediately available)
* Lease (as applicable – can follow in up to 28 days if not immediately available)

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