Tensions mount over HIPs

With the date for the implementation of Home Information Packs finally set, tensions are rising between brokers and estate agents – each group feeling threatened by the other.

Online conveyancing firm eConveyancer has carried out research into the needs of intermediaries and estate agents in its campaign to design an effective HIP provision service which reveals the subject of who will develop the best platform for compiling HIPs is a big source of anxiety.

Brokers are concerned they might miss out on business and see estate agents gaining influence by offering HIPs at the outset. Agents are concerned brokers will steal a march by offering HIP services.

David Hollingsworth, mortgage specialist at London & Country, says: “I don’t see why estate agents should be worried about brokers. The provision of HIPs adds much more weight to agents’ offerings.

“The big distributors will be the estate agents. Brokers will be putting clients on to them to produce HIPs and they’ll be able to do the rest.

“What you might see at first is providers competing on price. The biggest danger lies in the consumer thinking they have to take mortgage advice from the HIP provider. Most providers are likely to have limited panels but consumers may think they are getting a good deal if their provider has searched five or six lenders.

“Obviously, as brokers we can search across the whole market.”

Hollingsworth adds: “Where agents might have more reason for concern is that the requirement for a HIP to sell could cut the number of properties on the market. Clients may not want to go through with selling their properties when they see the expense they will incur in getting HIPs.”

Threatening both agents and brokers are the online property portals like Rightmove.com which are likely to make their move on HIPs.

Frank Eve, managing director of Frank Eve Consulting, says: ” Rightmove is producing a HIP package and is likely to be a major player in the HIP marketplace.

“Whether intermediaries and estate agents should feel threatened is for them to decide.”