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Intermediaries must plan now for HIPs

For a moment I’m going to pretend I’m Joe Bloggs, I go about my business everyday, I have a mortgage and a home and I’m not looking to move.

So what effect will Home Information Packs have on me? Very little. First, they don’t exist yet and second, until I want to sell or buy a house I have no need for information about the packs, or any need of estate agents or conveyancers either. For Joe Bloggs, HIPs are not on the radar.

But here’s some more information – Joe is a mortgage broker, which makes his feelings about HIPs more worrying. After all, the implementation of the packs next year will be a fundamental change to the home buying and selling process and will inevitably have an impact on his business. The question is whether this will be a negative or positive influence. Most in the intermediary sector believe it will be the former.

The implementation process took a big step forward this month with the publication of the government’s HIP regulations. The regulations prescribe what documents should be included in the packs and the exemptions from HIPs. They also make provision for the approval of the certification schemes home inspectors will have to join if they are to be able to provide Home Condition Reports.

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has kept you in the loop with regard to the packs’ developments but now is the time to consider your response to their introduction.

For example, have you informed your clients about HIPs and their implications? Have you talked to them about where they will get their packs from? Will you be providing the packs and if so, how will you do this – will it be through a relationship with a HIP provider or will you do it inhouse? What are your responsibilities with regard to pack provision? These are questions that must be answered soon. Almost a year might seem like plenty of time but remember how quickly Mortgage Day came upon us.

The point is that the public may not be concerned about HIPs at the moment but it soon will be, so advisers should be concerned.

As someone who is in the process of buying and selling properties I can’t help but wonder what the process would have been like with a HIP. Advisers must use the time available to consider their options and produce a HIP plan for their businesses. The time when the man in the street will need one will be here before you know it.

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