Sam Dunn: The writing's on the wall for sellers' packs
Feast and famine in the market could cause prices to fluctuate
Sunday 12 March 2006
"Sellers' packs suck."
This graffiti is being plastered all over the walls of the Government's plan to introduce Home Information Packs (HIPs), to give them their formal name, from 1 June next year.
Finding out who's got spray paint on their hands isn't difficult. Critics include such heavyweight professional bodies as the National Association of Estate Agents and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, as well as a number of national mortgage brokers.
Collectively, hundreds of individual chartered surveyors, estate agents and brokers have also fired off angry letters to Yvette Cooper, the Housing minister, demanding either changes to the packs or the scrapping of them altogether. The Conservative Party pitched in last week too, branding HIPs a "roadblock" to home ownership.
To recap, sellers' packs aim to shift responsibility for compiling and paying for surveys and searches from buyers to sellers. Cash-strapped first-time buyers would benefit in particular. The packs are expected to cost up to £1,000 a time, and should mean that buyers will no longer have to waste money on surveys and legal fees where a property sale falls through. And by speeding up the buying and selling process, they will make buyers less vulnerable to gazumping - in theory, at least.
HIPs are to comprise the following: evidence of deeds, local authority searches and a home condition report (HCR) detailing any problems with the property that could affect saleability. But, critically, there will be no property valuation. The Government says the HCR will suffice as the basis for mortgage lenders' own inspections. The growing band of detractors say it won't.
They also say sellers will just recoup HIP costs by adding them to a property's sale price, and that the cost of the packs will deter potential sellers from putting their homes up for sale. It is feared, too, that there could be a "feast" of homes hitting the market ahead of the introduction of the packs, followed by a "famine", with all the associated price fluctuations.
Amid all the arguments, those most in danger of losing out are the consumers. If concerns about the property valuation aren't ironed out by the time the house goes on the market, buyers will be forced to resort to paying for their own - undermining one of the raisons d'être of HIPs.
Worse still, the packs might actually give rise to more gazumping, as providing so much information for free could tempt someone to step in with a last-minute offer.
We might be more than a year away from its introduction, but it's looking like the HIP might need surgery - if not a replacement.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, will publish her report on occupational pension schemes on Wednesday.
Her investigations were prompted by allegations that workers were misled about the safety of final-salary schemes in the Government's literature. Many of them have since gone bust.
Publication of Ms Abraham's report has been delayed (it should have come out last year), which critics put down to government attempts to soften the expected blows.
Wherever blame lies, somebody needs to take responsibility. Otherwise, our confidence in this Government's commitment to clearing up the pensions mess will be compromised.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Newcastle manager taunted again as his side loses to Stoke
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before a character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...
£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location