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What do I need to do to compile a pack?

Compiling A HIP

Mike Ockenden (Director General) gives expert video advice on: How do I find someone to compile a pack for me?; How do I compile a pack myself?; How do I ensure the information does not go out of date? and more...

What do I need to do to compile a pack?

The easiest thing to do to compile a Home Information Pack is to order one from a Home Information Pack provider. That's the easiest and simplest thing to do. I suggest people do that rather than try to compile a HIP themselves.

My property is leasehold, do I need a HIP?

You certainly do need a HIP if you're property is leasehold, and probably almost more so leasehold than anything else. Often it takes forever to get leasehold information out of managing agents and they charge a lot of money for it, so getting that process kicked off on day one before you put your property on the market is going to improve matters.

What do I have to include in a HIP?

The documents you have to have in a Home Information Pack when they go live in August this year are the index, the energy performance certificate, the Land Registry search and you have to have ordered the Local Authority Search. It would be preferable that it's come back in that time because you have to put it in as soon as it's available. Those are the documents you must have in a HIP. If it's a leasehold property, you must have all the leasehold information in the pack as well. Those are all the things you must have in the pack from day one.

What is optional to put in a HIP?

There is a whole stack of optional documents for HIPs, and indeed there's a catch all in the regulations that says you can include anything that's of interest to a potential buyer. I suppose the main document would be a home condition report. We would heartily encourage people to put home condition reports in the Home Information Pack, even though they are voluntary. They will help the sale of the property. Environmental information will come from searches on databases that look at floods, perhaps on contaminated land and land movement, or maybe you're sitting on top of a mine. In terms of research information, why not put into a HIP any warranties or guarantees you have on any parts of your home which would be useful to a buyer? Include any other documents that you would want to put in. We would suggest that sellers fill in the legal forms and put those in the Home Information Pack upfront. You have to do them at some point, so why not do it right at the beginning?

Does anyone apart from the buyer need a copy of the HIP?

The seller will probably want a copy of the pack, and the estate agent I think would want a copy of the pack. Indeed a mortgage lender might like a copy of the pack to look at the home condition report which they can use together with computerized valuation models these days, so they don't have to send the value around.

Who decides what should go in a pack?

What goes in a pack is determined by the regulations. So, in effect, the government's decided that for you, and what is mandated is mandated. That's what you must have. Things you can have are in the authorized list of documents.

How long will it take me to put together a HIP?

The speed putting a pack together really depends a little bit on the sources of information. I think you'll find averagely, we found this interest, most specialist pack providers will get a pack to you within seven to ten days. The fastest turn around time as I understand has been two hours and seventeen minutes. Which is a bit quick. But just to manage expectation, I think seven to ten days. Some may take a little longer, others you'll get quicker.

Are HIPs required across the UK?

HIPs are required in England and Wales. In Scotland they have a slightly different system of buying and selling houses as they do in Northern Ireland so it doesn't extend to those two places.

Do I need a HIP if I am selling my home privately?

You need a HIP if you're selling your property, and you have in any way marketed the fact that it's for sale. And I suppose, technically, that even means if you've gone down the pub and said to a bunch of your chums, "I'm putting my house on the market for sale." If somebody comes up to you and says, "I was walking past your house and I quite like it." Then you haven't technically marketed it, so you wouldn't need a HIP in those circumstances. But, I would suggest most buyers are going to say, "I want to see the HIP." Once it becomes the norm, why would you want to buy a house that you didn't have the information on?

Do I need to provide a pack for new build properties?

Packs for new houses, yes they are required, they're a little bit different. Basically what you're looking at is an EPC, at least from the outset, which works off the plan of the property rather than having had somebody go around it. But yeah, you will need a pack, and again, its to tell you the usual things; what's the boundary, is the title good and I want to know the local authority is not going to put a large motorway 100 yards over the back fence. So, yeah you need a pack on new built properties but they're not actually going to become required until the beginning of next year.

What do I do if I have lost records of work I've done?

I mean, in terms of documents you put in a pack you can only put those documents in that you've got. I think what you would find is if you have work done on your house, you would put that into your seller's information form which you provide to the selling conveyancer, and of course you can put those documents in the pack if you want to, but if you don't have the evidence, you don't have the evidence, you just have to say what you know and what you can remember.

Should the pack include a home condition report?

Absolutely, that's our advice to sellers. If you want to have more certainty, then get the home condition report done on your property. I know it's going to cost a bit more money, but in terms of is it worth it? You're going to spend something like five-thousand pounds on selling your house, an extra two or three hundred pounds to make sure it goes through, I think, is a very good investment.

How long does a pack last for?

A pack lasts for just as long as it's in somebody's hands. As I say, there is no expiratory date on a pack. I think if a house is taking a long time sell certain parts of the pack may want to be refreshed just so the buyers are really up to date with what they're potentially buying. Equally the seller might want to do that so the buyer doesn't know that the property has been around for a long time.

Are HIPS for period buildings more complicated?

I think they are only more complicated if you have a home condition report, and the build type is a little bit different. Then that could cost a little bit more money. The EPC could be a little bit more complicated if it's a period building, but otherwise no. The legal documentation is the legal documentation. I think it's only if you are talking about paths of old bricks in the Cotswolds or a very different particular types of building where its going to cost you a bit more. I'm sure if the queen was selling Buckingham Palace the EPC might cost a bit more on that one as well. Its a common sense thing really. Strange types of property or very, very large properties are likely to be more expensive.

Will I have to send the pack to the buyer before contracts are exchanged?

When the buyer gets the package, is likely to be when they're first interested in the property. The idea of a package is to help you sell a house, not because you got to provide one to the buyer. And I think we've got to get past some of the media coverage we've seen about how terrible packs are. The one body of people who like packs when they've seen them and used them are consumers. So, I think once we get use to seeing a pack, as a buyer will ask for it and as a seller it will make sense to give it to the buyer as early as possible in the process.

Will it make the selling process quicker?

Certainly. I have no doubt about that. Even quicker, again, if the seller opts to have a home condition report in the pack.

Should I keep a copy of the pack?

A seller who's commissioning a pack will not only want to keep a copy of it, they'll want to have a look at it. We've found in the early roll-out locations where we've been putting packs out for a long time, sellers sometimes are surprised by what they find out about their own house. In some cases, sellers have said, "Well, I think what I should do is fix some of these things before I put the property on the market." So yes, absolutely, it's important information, so I think sellers not only should have a copy of the pack, they should look at it and make sure it says what it should say.

What will a pack look like?

All packs are different. I mean not only in terms of the style and the presentation, but also in the media you can have them. You can have an online pack. You can have a pack on a memory chip. You can have it on a CD. You can have a paper copy. You can have it bound. All different sorts. So it's very much comes down to the consumer choice.