AMI warns intermediaries to get ready for HIPs

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has warned mortgage intermediaries yesterday to carefully consider the introduction of Home Information Packs and the impact they will have on their business.

From 2007 every home seller in England and Wales will be required to arrange a HIP for their property before it is placed on the market. AMI is concerned that too few intermediaries are considering the impact this could have on their business, and has released a factsheet to bring firms up to speed.

HIP implementation could present estate agents, surveyors and HIP providers with a major competitive advantage in the house purchase process. With thousands of firms still adjusting to statutory regulation of mortgages, AMI is warning intermediaries not to lose sight of this equally significant challenge – and to use the remaining time to consider how they will safeguard their business.

The Office for the Deputy Prime Minister recently opened its consultation on the final rules for HIPs. The AMI factsheet outlines the key facts and the main considerations facing mortgage intermediaries.

Chris Cummings, director general of AMI, says: “Firms need to consider what implications this could have for future business. From 2007, home movers will be asking about HIPs and intermediaries will need to have an answer.

“While HIPs are new, the demand for quality independent mortgage advice will remain. Intermediaries must stop to think about what they must do to stay in the loop, and ensure they have an answer to the HIP conundrum.

“Some commentators have focussed on the possible consequences of a market slowdown but the real issue for intermediaries is ensuring their services are not overlooked because home movers are captured by competitors. Now is the time to plan to stop this from happening.”

Intermediaries vary in size and in structure, and AMI points out that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for firms. The factsheet instead outlines related issues affecting all mortgage intermediaries, and how they can prepare for this major change.

AMI is in discussion with the ODPM to highlight the value of impartial professional mortgage advice, and the benefit this brings each year to thousands of consumers. A dry run of HIPs planned for 2006 will also be monitored closely to assess the likely impact on intermediaries.