CHIPS (Consumer Home Information Pack Support) Group, the property industry forum that supports the introduction of mandatory Home Information Packs (otherwise known as sellers' packs) welcomes the announcement in the Queen's Speech of a new Housing Bill containing wide ranging reforms of the private housing sector, including the home buying and selling process in England and Wales.
The group, which represents a wide cross section of the industry including conveyancers, lenders, surveyors and estate agents, has drawn upon the pioneering voluntary initiatives which are already up and running in various parts of the country to cement its view that home buyers and sellers find the production of Home Information Packs a valuable improvement on current practices. It believes they provide greater transparency in the home-buying process along with a much-improved certainty that the deal is going to go through.
Ed Chamberlain, chairman of CHIPS says that the pack provides information about the home before a buyer makes an offer, including a Home Condition Report or Pre-sale Survey. This enables the buyer to reach agreement on an informed basis on the terms of the purchase. It also ensures that all the initial paperwork is to hand once a deal is agreed so that the legal process does not have to wait for delivery of documents.
Chamberlain, who is a principal in an estate agency and surveying business in Devon that has been offering the Pre-sale Survey part of Home Information Packs for the last 10 months, says that his practical experience is that both sellers and buyers really appreciate having more information at the outset, and the number of transactions that fall through has dropped dramatically.
Commenting on the media speculation that the Packs will put up the cost of moving by £700, or even £1,000, Chamberlain pointed out that the components of the pack are the standard parts of the normal home buying process, it is simply their being supplied at the outset that will change. In addition, government research shows that some 30% of transactions fall through, costing a seller and a buyer anything up to £1,000 in abortive costs and expenses. The planned legislation is designed as a re-engineering of the home-buying process, and this, along with other changes which are emerging, such as differing methods for lenders to value property, indicate that overall costs are unlikely to change dramatically. “In my view, there is no foundation for this £700 – £1,000 figure” said Chamberlain.
Chamberlain says: “What home-sellers want is the best price for their home, without avoidable delays. Both sellers and buyers want a stress-free, easily understood home-moving process, and that is what legislation is being designed to encourage. Home information Pack schemes in place already prove that these goals are achievable and are in the public's best interest.”