The most common way of buying a Home Information Pack together is through an estate agent. Around three-quarters of all HIPs are purchased this way.
However, this is not the way to a cheap HIP. Estate agents typically charge anything from £400 upwards for providing this service. They often quote the price without VAT to give the impression that it is cheaper, but when they say “£329 plus VAT” what they really mean is that it will cost the buyer about £400.
The advantage of buying a HIP through an estate agent it that it is a relatively easy process for the vendor.
The estate agent does not put the HIP together themselves, they use a third-party provider. The HIP provider sends the vendor a short survey to complete about the property. They also arrange for a consultant to visit the property to conduct the energy performance survey.
Options for a Cheap Home Information Pack
Buying a HIP through an estate agent means paying for the convenience. Vendors looking to save money may want to consider alternative methods acquiring HIP. These will require more time on their part, but could result in significant cost savings.
One option is for the vendor to put the HIP together themselves. This involves obtaining the relevent local authority searches and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) themselves. The searches can be purchased directly from the local authority, while the EPC must be obtain from a registered provider. Information about the documents that must be included in a HIP can be found on the DirectGov website.
Fees are payable for obtaining searches and an EPC and they can quickly add up to a couple of hundred pounds. While this a much cheaper than buying a HIP from an estate agent, it is complicated by the inconsistent approach to searches offered by local authorities and the differing requirements of solicitors. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that the searches obtained will be acceptable to a buyer’s legal representative.
Another method of obtaining a cheap HIP is to use a third party HIP supplier. A wide range of organisations offer this service and prices are competitive. A third party HIP provider can provide the pack for a little over two hundred pounds and they are easy to find through the internet.
Getting Cheap HIPS From Estate Agents
Estate agents do not insist that vendors buy their HIP through them, although they would prefer it. There are two reason for this – they receive a fee from the HIP provider and they are confident that the HIP will meet the needs of most solicitors and will not throw up issues that slow down the sale process.
It is possible for vendors to get a cheaper HIP from their estate agent. One way is to defer payment for the HIP until the home sale is complete. This reduces the vendor’s up-front costs. If the vendor subsequently decides to change agent or cease the sale they will be liable for the cost of the HIP. Care must be taken that agents do not use this approach to inflate the price of the HIP.
Another way to get a cheaper HIP from an estate agent is through negotiation. In a depressed housing market estate agents are keen to win business and one way they can do this is by offering competitive prices. They can reduce their agency fees and they can also offer a discount on the HIP, often payable in the form of a deduction from the agency fees when the sale is complete.
The Home Information Pack is a relatively new concept in the UK housing market. As time passes the methods of marketing and selling HIPs may change as estate agents and HIP providers adopt more innovative approaches. Prospective vendors looking to save money should consider all the options available before committing to the purchase of a HIP.