Brokers could cash in by interpreting HIPs for clients

Mortgage brokers may be able to cash in on plans to charge consumers for interpreting Home Information Packs.

Mortgage Strategy has learned that firms and possibly home inspectors are considering plans to offer a service that could charge consumers between £100 and £200 for explaining what the Home Condition Report, which will be part of the pack, means.

In Denmark, where HIPs are already used, 50% of buyers are thought to pay up to £200 for an independent home inspector to go through their HCR with them, advising them on what it means.

Brokers may be able to take advantage of this and forge links with these companies, working on a referral fee basis.

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, says: “If HIPs are going to go ahead this will be a viable business for some. HIPs could be as long as 300 pages and some customers will be too busy to read them or find them too complicated.”

Nigel Payne, managing director of The Mortgage Business, says: “In Denmark buyers can get help in- terpreting HIPs. This is usually done by a different home inspector to the one that carried out the inspection of the property.”

Patsy Cusworth, spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, says this is something that may happen.

She adds that the only new element in HIPs will be HCRs and that the government is working on making the language of the whole packs consumer-friendly.

She says: “We are making sure that HIPs are in plain English. I don’t think this is something we will really understand until the second dry run gets underway. That will be our chance to get guidance on areas we need to look at.”

Paul Broadhead, deputy director-general of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers says the language in British HIPs will be much simpler than that used in Denmark.

Broadhead believes HIP pro-viders and estate agents will work to make HCRs understandable to buyers.