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Time to take key decisions about HIPs

There are just over four months to go until Home Information Packs become compulsory. Based on many conversations I had at the end of 2006 I am sure that few intermediaries are ready to take advantage of the commercial opportunity HIPs will bring.

Yet again, it appears that things have been left to the last minute and it will be a mad scramble to get ready. My great fear is that because HIPs are not a compulsory issue for brokers, they will do nothing. I still hear people saying HIPs are for estate agents and the government may scrap its plans at the 11th hour.

Let me put the record straight. Don’t assume estate agents will dominate HIP sales. Most estate agents are not keen on HIPs and see them as getting in the way of their main purpose in life which is selling houses. Also remember that most home owners will seek professional financial advice before making the decision to move house. You are therefore ideally placed to make your clients aware of the need to have HIPs and sell them an appropriate package.

Selling HIPs will be easy as providers will give brokers everything they need to get the job done. In reality, the task will involve some information-gathering and submission of details to a HIP provider. It can all be done online, will not take long and will earn brokers worthwhile commission.

HIPs will be an excellent way to boost income per mortgage sale for little extra effort. Also remember that from June 1 HIPs will be compulsory for all house sellers – if you don’t sell your clients HIPs, someone else will.

Could the government put a spanner in the works and pull HIPs at the last minute? It has a poor record on this but it’s doubtful this time round. Not only would it involve huge loss of face but it would also set back plans to introduce Energy Performance Certificates which must be done to comply with European Union directives.

There is still time to get ready for HIPs but you must start now, not in the last couple of weeks of May. You must familiarise yourself, your staff and your clients with the changes that are about to take place.

Think about how you will promote and market a HIP service, how you will sell it and which HIP suppliers you will work with. Consider what it will mean in terms of administration and procedures. None of the above is difficult but it won’t happen by itself.

HIPs are an opportunity you can let pass by if you want to. But if you do, someone else will build a relationship with your clients by providing this compulsory service.

Don’t wait for your network or mortgage club to contact you with information about the services they intend to provide. Push for answers about HIP services. The time has come to take some key decisions.

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