Esther Shaw: Sellers' packs are a long way from home and dry - Mortgages - Money - The Independent

Esther Shaw: Sellers' packs are a long way from home and dry

A delighted friend rang me last week to say she had just had an offer accepted on her first home - a feeling I could identify with as it's almost exactly a year since I got the same good news.

And almost exactly a year from now, the Government hopes other house-hunters will be celebrating. For next June is when its much-hyped Home Information Packs (HIPs) will become compulsory.

The packs - which will make vendors, rather than buyers, responsible for compiling and paying for surveys and searches - are being introduced in a bid to reduce the £1m a day that the Government estimates is wasted as a result of sales falling through at a late stage.

But HIPs, which will cost sellers up to £1,000, are still meeting resistance at almost every turn. Last week was no exception, with the campaign group Splinta (Sellers' Pack Law is Not the Answer) claiming that in the majority of cases where a transaction collapses, the packs would make little difference.

In theory, I'm in favour of any moves to provide more information at the start of the process. This should speed things up, reduce the risk of gazumping and help ensure there aren't any nasty surprises late in the day about the condition of a property. Or at least, that's what the Government is promising.

But I have to question whether, in practice, HIPs are the right solution. For while the packs will contain a home condition report (HCR) carried out by independent inspectors, as well as evidence of deeds and local authority searches, one glaring omission will be a valuation.

The Government insists the HCR has been developed so lenders will feel confident they have all the information they need to arrive at their own valuations. But like many in the industry, I fear the lenders won't feel so assured and that buyers will end up paying for on-site inspections themselves.

Further, a broker warned me last week that while the HCR is designed to alert buyers to things that might be wrong with a property, inspectors may resort to highlighting problems with "almost everything" - to cover their own backs.

If this, as he suggests, puts potential buyers off the property market altogether, we'll be back at square one.

The Government has until the end of this month to provide detailed information on how HIPs will work - including the rules for the packs' contents and the procedures for making a complaint.

Once this information is published, the Council of Mortgage Lenders points out, the industry will be far better placed to judge the Government's assertion that implementation is on course. But how HIPs will affect the market, we won't really be able to tell until they're in force. I just hope that's not too late.

e.shaw@independent.co.uk

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week