AMI will help brokers benefit from HIPs

Now that a few weeks have passed since the phased implementation of Home Information Packs from August 1 was announced, it is time to reflect on what this will mean for brokers.

There’s no denying that brokers would like to see a more efficient home buying and selling process but we shall have to wait and see whe-ther this can be delivered through HIPs.

There have been significant developments in conveyancing which have already speeded up the process. Hopefully, these developments will ensure lengthy delays become a thing of the past.

I will surprise nobody by saying that our members have not grasped HIPs to their collective bosom. At numerous AMI conferences last year, members quizzed AMI staff on whether HIPs were going ahead, despite the fact we had HIP speakers on the agenda. It is a shame that even at this late stage we can’t give members a definitive answer.

Perhaps this is why the level of engagement from brokers has been low. Given the government’s U-turns, many AMI members have wondered if HIPs will be scrapped or decided not to get involved if they are introduced. Uncertainty over the introduction of HIPs has meant that many firms have been loath to engage with them. AMI members often say they don’t want to waste money and resources on a government initiative they are not sure will go ahead.

Now, given the decision to phase in HIPs starting with homes of four bedrooms or more, it is likely that the number of HIP providers brokers will have to choose from will be reduced.

But throughout the process, our HIP Working Group, comprised of providers and brokers, has met to feed back their experiences and help us deliver information to our members. In this respect, it has played a crucial role and our HIP factsheets could not have been written without its support.

We feel it is important that this group continues to meet and provide the feedback we have benefited from over the past 18 months.

There are still many unknown quantities surrounding HIPs, most notably the stance of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors which has put its application for a judicial review on hold on condition that the government starts a consultation on the impact of Energy Performance Certificates.

It is not surprising that many brokers have shied away from engaging with HIPs but I’m sure that if and when the packs are introduced many others will grasp the opportunities, ensuring continuing good service and that their clients have access to all the available information. AMI will continue to provide the same level of service for its members.