View more on these topics

HIPs are better than the buyers’ lottery

There is an old adage that goes “The first casualty of war is the truth”. This may sound pretty grand in relation to Home Information Packs but is nonetheless apt.

A common theme that has become accepted as the truth is that the phoney war about cost and effectiveness has been lost and the industry, along with the nation’s home owners, will have to bear this particular cross with fortitude.

Well, that’s one point of view but it most certainly is not mine. My question has always been – how is it that in 2005 it takes as long to buy and sell a property as it did in 1945?

Assertions of how expensive, unworkable and unwieldy HIPs would be were quickly shot down. Many early estimates of pack prices were high and many were simply scare mongering.

Some now say customers will not be able to market their properties and will become frustrated, having to wait seven days for the HIP to be assembled. This is laughable.

A Which? survey shows 82% of people think HIPs will be useful and 13% feel they will be fairly useful. The respondents to the survey were those who had bought and sold a property in England or Wales. Maybe their experiences of black holes, lack of progress, long delays and wasted time were factors in forming their opinions.

The HIP is an attempt to find a modern solution to an old problem. In the 21st century market, properties should change hands with far greater speed than they do.

There is also a possible benefit HIPs could bring to the mortgage industry. The long list of cases where deals have fallen through could become a fading memory. The total bill for wasted legal fees and valuations is estimated to be 350m annually. And this probably does not include the millions wasted by intermediaries in mortgage applications that go nowhere. I wouldn’t mind betting the real total in wasted resources is closer to 500m.

HIPs will give consumers more transparent access to information and enable them to make choices that are better informed. From their perspective they might see only the cost of assembling the packs, but the benefits of improved information and transaction speeds surely outweigh the costs. A cost of 500 is tiny in relation when compared with an average property price of 150,000.

Changes to systems often result in short-term challenges but we have the technology to iron problems out. Surely anything is better than the antediluvian lottery home buyers currently faceSimon biddle


Woolwich unveils retention scheme

The Woolwich has launched its range of retention products to the intermediary market. Intermediaries will be paid a proc fee if they feel the best advice for a customer is to stay with their current lender. The Woolwich says it is the first high street lender to do this. The move will also stop intermediaries […] names and shames debtors

Late payers face a weapon of exposure in their bid to keep creditors from their door – the internet and an audience of millions.Trials with sample companies who have tried everything, inlcuding courts, have shown “promising” results, with many offenders finally handing over cheques for old invoices.The approach involves a 21-day stay of execution, during […]

Government help for flood hit area

Tynedale District Council is to be given help with meeting the costs of clearing up following severe storm and flood damage in the Council area in January 2005.The Bellwin scheme, named after former department of the environment minister Lord Bellwin, provides reimbursement to local authorities for expenditure incurred for emergency action not normally insurable . […]

Chess appoints MortgageStream

Chess Financial Services Limited, an appointed representative of Pink Home Loans, has selected MortgageStream case management software to support its business processes. Following an exhaustive review of the various case management systems available in the market, Chess selected MortgageStream for its back office system, streamlining and simplifying the management of the entire sales process. Bob […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up