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Selling Your House - You Will NOT Now Need a Home Info Pack

Updated on June 23, 2011

HIP No Longer Required

As of May 2010, a HIP is no longer required before you market your property.

Now, you just need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  An EPC costs about £100 and is the report that looks at the energy efficiency of your house. 

Home Information Packs - HIPs

Home Information Packs will be required from 2007 and if you are selling your house, then from this year there will be a fundamental shift in the process.

I have written this piece as I currently have my house for sale and it has already been on the market for 9 months, so I wanted to check how the introduction of Home Information Packs would affect me if it doesn't sell this year.

The Old and New Processes of Buying a House

The old system: a buyer would carry out a survey and various other checks on your property, then either proceed or pull out. Expensive for the buyer, frustrating for the seller. Maybe the house is fairly priced, but if the survey says the house is worth what the seller is asking in its current condition, but they note some work that needs doing, the buyer may not have the budget for those repairs and the wording in the survey may put them off getting quotes in.

The new system: a seller has a Home Condition Report prepared before the property is put on the market. This is like a survey, but is in addition to other surveys currently available to a buyer. The buyer knows all issues with the house before they make their offer. The property seller might also provide evidence work was done subsequent to that report or they might provide quotes to have the work done. Additionally a seller might point out that the Report is misleading - for example if the report says the roof has a limited lifespan but the house has planning permission for a loft extension with dormer.

What Is in the Home Condition Report?

The Home Condition Report will cover the general condition of the property taking account of its age, how energy efficient the home is and any defects or other matters requiring attention

Benefits of HIPs

They will assist the seller, along with their estate agent, to price the house more accurately at the outset.

The seller has the opportunity and option of either carrying out work themselves, or getting in quotes for the work to assist a buyer's decision

Buyers do not shell out money for surveys and checks on houses that have problems they aren't prepared to fix.

A seller may have 3-4 buyers all have a separate survey carried out on a house - all causing stress and delays if a buyer subsequently changes their mind

There is less likely to be a delay during the sales process - a Home Condition Report can shave a couple of weeks off the process and remove most of the risk of a buyer changing their mind

The Energy Performance Certificate

If you are looking at homes for sale, you'll notice on most websites that they include a pretty little picture that looks just like the energy efficiency stickers you see on new kitchen appliances - this is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

You must have an EPC done for your HIP before you start to market your house for sale.

The EPC Inspector will look at how energy efficient your house is at the moment, compared to how energy efficient it could be.

An EPC Inspector will be looking at things like:

  • Any cavity wall insulation, where relevant
  • If you're using low energy lightbulbs
  • How much insultation you have in the loft
  • If you've got double glazing

The intention is to give a buyer an idea of how energy efficient the house is ... but as it's new at the moment people aren't taking too much notice of them.

Usually a house will fall in Bands C-E, some newly refurbished or new houses might be lucky enough to get into a Band B, but it's considered (at the moment) virtually impossible to get a Band A for energy efficiency with current technology and its availability.

The Downside of HIPs

If you are selling a house in an area where house sales are slow or seasonal, your property could be on the market for a couple of years, while Home Condition Reports do not need to be updated, it could put doubt into the buyer's mind as to its validity.

At the moment quite a number of buyers put their house on the market just to see what happens. If and when they get an offer they like the sound of, they will sell. These speculative sellers will not enter the market if they have to have the Home Condition Report prepared. This will mean a few less houses on the market.

Sellers may perceive paying for a Home Condition Report to be paying extra, so it will delay some potential sellers from taking the plunge. However, when they buy a house they will save themselves survey fees because the vendor will have already had a report and they will have seen it before they put an offer in.

How Long is a Home Condition Report Valid For?

When you first put your property on the market, the Report must be no more than 3 months old. After that there is no need to update it, although it should be considered reliable for 6 months.

I hope you found this useful.


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    • profile image

      Elizabeth M Daly 

      9 years ago

      I just can't understand why we Have to have HIP'S surely we live in a democracy, do we??? We are in great danger of losing our freedom of choice,or indeed our freedom to make choices ! there are so many barriers being put in place, obstructions in my view.

      From where I am standing this is only another job for the boys to feather their own nests once again at the expense of those who can least afford it..... Shame on the Government for allowing this to happen, but more importantly at this time. This government panders to those with intentions of greed, how about thinking of those in need.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      10 years ago from UK

      I started work in an estate agency in February this year. It's now August and not one prospective buyer has asked to see a home information pack, even though we are obliged to keep them available for inspection! The more experienced staff assure me that buyers are not at all interested in home energy reports, either. The depth of the insulation in the loft is not going to deter you if you like the house. HIPS appears to have slowed an already stagnating market even further, particularly as the casual seller is deterred from testing the market if he has to put money up front.

      Surely I'm missing something here? I don't understand why this is supposed to be such a step forward.

      Incidently, I think that earner has written a good, clear, and informative piece.

    • Jeff Gode profile image

      Jeff Gode 

      11 years ago from London, England

      It is also worth mentioning that you do not need a home information pack if you are selling your house privately. This will not apply to many people but, at the time of writing (April 08), a sale through a 'house buyer' company constitutes a private sale. It seems to me that this is a bit of a loop hole which I suspect won't last long.

    • profile image

      Manuel (DEA in Bath) 

      11 years ago

      Home Information Pack or HIP is needed only in the UK (as far as I know). Here in the UK we are also obliged to disclose known problems to a buyer or otherwise could be pursued and asked for compensation, pretty much the same as there (Texas as Dan says).

      I notice that this article is a out-dated as some of the dates changed due to government discrepancies. However (as for today Oct 2007) HIP’s are already needed for houses of 3 bedrooms or bigger and there are plans to roll out the scheme to all properties before the end of the year (I believe).

    • profile image

      Dan Hunt 

      11 years ago

      The existence of construction defects in a house that is for sale can be a tricky problem here in Texas. If the seller doesn't disclose known defects, then the buyer may be able to pursue remedies under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Depending on the situation the real estate broker or home inspector may be liable. If a construction defect is disclosed prior to the completion of the sale there is no problem and it becomes a negotiated item.

      It sounds like you are not in the U.S., so it is interesting how regulations vary from place to place.


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