Openbook to trial HIPs

OpenBook, the Home Information Pack provider, has been asked by the ODPM to trial HIPs across the UK in the run up to the official dry run in June 2006 to ensure effective implementation in 2007.

OpenBook will be offering HIPs throughout its 41 member agents in the UK immediately. It says 98% of its customers are already opting to have a pack even though they are still voluntary.

Maria Coleman, chief executive of OpenBook, says: “Weve been selected by the ODPM to offer packs across our UK network to pre-trial the service. Unlike the government trial in Bristol, in which we were involved, the HIPs will not be free.”

“We are delighted to be trialing HIPs and will assess the reaction from home buyers and sellers. Our experience to date is that we have reduced the fall through rate in sales from 26% to 2.5%, this is an obvious advantage of the new legislation for both the buyer and the seller. The OpenBook agents welcomed the opportunity to take part in the dry run which was announced at a prestigious luncheon at the Hilton NEC on Thursday which aims to increase confidence in the mandatory operation of the scheme.”

An ODPM spokesman adds: “We recognise that many in the industry need assurance that the new process will operate effectively. Part of this assurance process is already underway with an ever growing number of conveyancers, estate agents and others providing HIPs on a voluntary basis. We envisage a period of six months leading up to implementation during which time all the components of the HIP process will be available and can be used to test processes and procedures.”