Easier2move has released the results of its ‘HIP Awareness’ Index, revealing that with eight months to the launch of HIPs, 19% of estate agents are still unable to describe what a HIP is with some degree of accuracy, compared with 11% in September.
Easier2move says this increase is concerning and shows that despite the HIP introduction deadline looming, almost one in five firms has yet to adequately educate its staff.
The majority of estate agents (58%) think the vendor should own the HIP.
Much smaller numbers thought the estate agent (5%) or the vendor’s solicitor (2%) should own it.
35% could not offer their opinion and this brings into sharp focus the issue of portability and how companies will handle the issue of clients wishing to move agents while in the process of marketing their home.
Following the Government’s U-turn on the Home Condition Report most respondents (63%) did not know whether the HCR will be made mandatory in the future.
15% think that it may be bought in again next year, after HIPs have had a trial period and 3% think it may follow the next elections.
However, 19% do not think the HCR will ever become a mandatory part of the pack.
A third (31%) of estate agents are planning to encourage vendors to buy a HIP in order to sell their property more quickly even if they are not mandatory.
However, 51% were unaware of their company’s policy regarding HIPs.
Karen Babington, marketing director of Easier2move, says: “The results of the October HIP Index show that awareness amongst estate agents is not as high as we might have hoped as June 2007 grows ever closer.
“Unfortunately, a number of estate agents have not made significant progress in training their sales team.
“A key factor may be that a cross section of agents is surveyed with people working at every level contacted. However a survey of decision makers within agencies may give an entirely different result.
“The majority of agents feel that the vendor should own the HIP, which is reassuring. However, it will raise the question of whether these packs should have corporate branding or be more generic.
“If a client decides to change agencies due to inefficiency during the marketing process, companies will need to have clear policy on how readily they will accept a HIP that has another agent’s branding.
“A common problem for many of the estate agents surveyed was an inability to make plans amidst continued legislative change.
“U-turns imposed by the Government have led to confusion, as we can see from the lack of estate agents willing to comment on the inclusion of the HCR.”