Concern that sellers will be deterred by HIP costs

The cost of Home Information Packs will hit the consumer hard and could deter sellers from putting their homes on the market, experts warned last week.

Alex Solomon, policy officer at the Council of Mortgage Lenders, says: “There are many ways to pay for the packs, but the cost will come from the consumer. The big question is when will it actually hit the consumer?”

He says the issue is whether the customer will pay for the HIP before the offer goes through, or wait until after completion which will mean the lender substituting the cost.

Simon White, director at Ashdown Lyons, says: “The profession is a little weary of HIPs. On the one hand it means more work for surveyors, but on the other you are going to have to spend a considerable amount of money to put your property on the market.

“Some people just put their houses on the market to see if anyone is interested. They are not going to pay the cost of an HIP which may be about £500.”

There were also questions raised about securitisation and whether or not the pack will include a valuation. Lenders are worried that if the packs include a valuation which turns out to be wrong they would not be protected.

David Gillam, managing director at Spinnaka, says HIPs can be a good thing, but only if they are made absolutely compulsory or people will not want to use them because they will slow down the process.

He says: “Ultimately the cost will be passed onto the consumer. Problems occur if the property takes 12 weeks to sell and questions come up as to who will bear the cost.

“Lawyers are used to carrying their own costs, but if the valuer does a report it will be 12 weeks before they get paid, which could cause them to go bankrupt.”