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Keeping it real on the subject of HIPs

I was flattered by a letter which appeared in the June 11 issue of Mortgage Strategy, in which the writer asked if I was auditioning for a place in the government. I’ve never considered a career in politics but now the idea has been suggested, who knows?

The reason for the suggestion was that the writer had been mightily impressed by what he perceived to be the spin I had been putting on Home Information Packs. This isn’t the first time I’ve been accused of being a HIP spinner and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

For the record, my position on HIPs is neutral. The business for which I work has a vested interest in HIPs but is not dependent on them going ahead. Our core business is conveyancing and if HIPs came to a grinding halt, we would simply carry on building our proposition.

But I don’t believe HIPs will come to a halt. I think they will happen, which is why I keep banging the drum about brokers needing to be prepared to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that will arise.

HIPs will allow brokers to make more money and strengthen their relationship with clients by providing an additional service. Those are goals worth pursuing, so I prefer to think of myself as a commercial realist rather than a HIP spinner. In fact, that’s a job I’m happy to leave to people in the government to mess up. So forget the spin, here are the facts about HIPs. They will be rolled out in three phases. Phase one will commence on August 1 when HIPs, including Energy Performance Certificates, will be required for all houses with four or more bedrooms. The second phase will apply to homes with three bedrooms and the final phase to all other properties.

Phases two and three will be triggered by commencement orders which will take into consideration the number and geographical spread of certified energy assessors.

To meet the criteria for three-bedroom properties, the government anticipates needing 3,000 energy inspectors. At the time of writing, there are 1,000 accredited assessors (sufficient for the August 1 launch) and more than 4,700 assessors who have passed their exams. The government is even incentivising home sellers with £100 refunds if they get HIPs before August 1.

The facts, rather than the spin, confirm that HIPs will be introduced on August 1 and rolled out to all properties shortly thereafter. If you want to make more money and strengthen your client relationships, get ready for HIPs now. Start selling associated services such as conveyancing and start talking to HIP providers if you haven’t already done so. This is about exploiting commercial opportunities. That’s not spin, it’s a fact.

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