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Time to focus on learning about HIPs

I know that someone out there reads my column. How? Last week, I got an email from a reader that took me by surprise. In fact, I was so surprised that I deleted the email, losing the person’s name and details. So if you recognise the question below as being yours, please accept my apologies for not replying directly.

I blame it on a combination of bad living and the onset of old age. Actually, thinking about it, plenty of people must read this column because I get so much verbal abuse and feedback as I travel the country. It’s nice to know I’m loved.

Anyway, the question was to do with Right to Buy applications and whether Home Information Packs will be required with such deals after June 1 this year. The answer is no. Although ownership of a property transfers from a local authority to a tenant, a Right to Buy property is not openly marketed so a HIP is not required.

But the Department for Communities and Local Government says it is examining the scope for adopting HIP principles for future Right to Buy sales to provide reassurance to people exercising their Right to Buy.

Brokers should note that a shared ownership property does require a HIP if it is up for sale. I suspect that as the June 1 deadline looms, more of these questions will arise and a good source of information is the DCLG website at www. homeinformationpacks.gov.uk, where you can type in a phrase such as ‘Right to Buy’ and it will throw up all sorts of information.

There will also be a number of roadshows around the country that brokers should consider attending. For example, ehips is hosting a series of roadshows between April 17 and April 27 at which we aim to address issues to do with the marketing of HIPs.

No doubt other firms will hold similar events. Spaces on most of these will be limited so if you want to find out how you can capitalise on the opportunities HIPs present, book early.

With so many HIP providers set to enter the market there will be no shortage of information but as the saying goes, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

I’m amazed at how many brokers are so nonchalant about HIPs. The effort needed to turn this opportunity into a profitable business stream is not great. Providers will be doing all the work and your clients will have no choice but to buy HIPs. Also, bear in mind you can offset the cost of a HIP by buying conveyancing services more cost-effectively.

When you consider the issues brokers have had to deal with such as regulation and Treating Customers Fairly, all of which incur costs and generate no income, HIPs are a breath of fresh air. As we move into the final countdown for HIPs, the focus must be on knowledge and preparation.

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