Estate Agency Software with integrated <acronym title="Home Information Pack">HIP</acronym> solution released today
21 May, 2007 | Web design
Resource Techniques release version 4.6 of their Estate Agency Software, the software, currently used by inexcess of 4000 estate agent users, ensures that their estate agency customers comply with the new Government Legislation contained within the Home Information Pack HIP regulations.
The Estate Agency Software includes the ability to upload the Energy Performance Chart, which is a mandatory requirement and must be displayed wherever full sale particulars are presented, either in printed material or is electronically displayed, the chart is an extract from the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). Additionally the software includes a field for the URL or Web address where HIP information for the property is located along with the access pin. This allows interested parties to share this information.
Frequently Asked Questions relating to HIP:
What's in a Home Information Pack?
The Home Information Pack contains important information that buyers and sellers need to know. From the 1 June 2007, anyone marketing a property, or their representative, will be legally required to prepare a Home Information Pack and make it available to potential buyers of the property..
For sellers, providing a Pack upfront should reduce the likelihood of any nasty surprises in the selling process that could delay the sale, as buyers will be able to make more informed decisions about purchasing their home.
For buyers, the Pack provides essential information about properties they are considering buying, free of charge.
What does a Pack contain?
1) Home Information Pack Index
The compulsory documents include a Home Information Pack Index listing the documents contained in the Pack.
The Index provides a checklist for sellers, buyers, estate agents and enforcement authorities. Where a document that must be included in the Pack is unavailable, the Index must say so, give the reason it is missing, and indicate what steps are being taken to obtain it. Where documents are added to or removed from the Pack at a later stage, the Index should be revised accordingly.
A suggested form for the Home Information Pack Index is available on our Publications page.
2) Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Performance Certificates tell you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G. The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A.
The Certificate also tells you, on a scale of A-G, about the impact the home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The average property in the UK is in bands D-E for both ratings. The Certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save you money and help the environment.
Sellers of newly built homes will have to provide a predicted assessment of the energy efficiency of the property, but a full Energy Performance Certificate should be provided to the buyer when the home is completed.
3) Sale statement
The sale statement should provide some basic information about the site, including:
- The address of the property being sold
- Whether the property is freehold, leasehold or commonhold
- Whether the property is registered or unregistered
- Whether or not the property is being sold with vacant possession
The Home Information Pack must include:
- The local land charges register relating to the property being sold. If the search is carried out by the local authority, an official search certificate will be provided. Alternatively a personal search company can be used.
- Other records held by the local authority on matters of interest to buyers, such as planning decisions and road building proposals. These are referred to as local enquiries in the Home Information Pack regulations. A local authority or a personal search company can be used.
- The provision of drainage and water services to the property. The local water company or a personal search company can be used (however, the search must comply with the HIP Regulations, schedule 9)
The procedural guidance to the Home Information Pack Regulations contains more information about what should be included in the search reports. For detailed advice dealing with local enquiries, drainage and water, and general provisions applying to all search reports and those who provide them (e.g. local authorities, water companies and personal search companies)
5) Evidence of title
These documents prove that the seller owns the property and therefore has the right to sell it. Where the property being sold is registered, certain documents that are available on request from the Land Registry must be included in the Pack. These provide an up-to-date official record of who owns the land, and consist of:
- Official copies of the individual register (made up of a property register, proprietorship register and, typically, a charges register)
- An official copy of the title plan
In the case of the sale of a commonhold interest, official copies of the register and title plan should be produced for both the unit and common parts. The Land Registry has details of additional requirements for sales of commonhold properties.
For sales of unregistered land, the Pack must include copies of a certificate of an official search of the index map (obtained from the Land Registry), and those documents that the seller intends to rely on to provide evidence of title to the property, and thus the right to sell it. More detailed advice on the sort of evidence that is usually considered acceptable is in the procedural guidance to the Home Information Pack Regulations.
6) Leasehold and commonhold documents
Most of the documents that must be included in the Home Information Pack are applicable to all transactions, but some are needed only for leasehold and commonhold sales.
The required leasehold documents are:
- A copy of the lease
- Any regulations or rules that apply to the property that aren't mentioned in the lease and any proposed amendments to same
- Statements or summaries of service charges covering the previous 36 months
- Where appropriate, the most recent requests for payment of service charges, ground rent, insurance against damage for the building in which the property is situated, and insurance in respect of personal injury caused by or within the building during the 12-month period before marketing began
- The name and address of the current or proposed lessor, and details of any managing agent that has been appointed or proposed by the lessor to manage the property
- A summary of any works being undertaken or proposed that will affect the property or the building in which it's situated.
The required commonhold documents are:
An official copy of the individual register and title plan for the common parts. This is in addition to official copies for the unit (see our section on Evidence of title).
An official copy of the commonhold community statement. You can download this document from Land Registry here.
Where they are reasonably obtainable, or sellers can reasonably be expected to be aware of them, the following documents and information are also required:
- Copies of any regulations or rules not described in the commonhold community statement and any amendments proposed to those regulations or to the commonhold community statement
- Copies of any requests for payments made in the previous 12 months in respect of commonhold assessment, reserve fund levy and insurance (if not covered by a request for commonhold assessment)
- The name and address of any managing agent or other person appointedor proposed to be appointed by the commonhold association to manage the commonhold
- A summary of current or proposed works affecting the commonhold
Do you need a Pack?
If your home is on the market before 1 June 2007, you won't need a Pack, unless the property remains unsold on 1 January 2008 - then you must get one.
You do not need a Home Information Pack for:
- Properties where there is no marketing (e.g. sale to member of your family)
- Non-residential properties
- Seasonal and holiday accommodation
- Mixed sales (e.g. shop with flat)
- Right to buy and similar sales
- Sales of portfolios of properties
- Properties not being sold with completely vacant possession Unsafe properties and properties to be demolished.
From 1 June 2007 a Home Information Pack, containing an Energy Performance Certificates, searches and other legal documents, must be produced for all residential properties that are marketed for sale. Sellers may choose to include a Home Condition Report, providing condition-related information about the property, in the Pack.
Home Information Packs are intended to improve the homebuying and selling experience for consumers and to reduce the carbon emissions from homes. The current home buying and selling process is slow, expensive and uncertain. Moreover, most buyers are provided with little or no information about the energy efficiency of the home they are considering buying.
This has been confirmed most recently by the HIP's Baseline research, conducted in summer 2006 by the Building Research Establishment and Ipsos MORI. The key conclusions were:
- The average (mean) transaction time from marketing to completion was over 6.5 months. Median transaction times were nearly 5 months. 1 in 4 takes 9 months or longer.
- The average time from "offer agreed" to "exchange of contract" was 81 days - about 10 days longer than in 1998
- The average cost of a completed transaction was £1,546, with first-time buyers paying slightly more
- 23% of buyers who had completed a transaction experienced at least one failed transaction during the course of their most recent house buying and selling experience
- Where a transaction fails at a sufficiently late stage between offer and exchange the buyer's wasted costs are typically over £1000
Moreover, research by the Energy Savings Trust has shown that:
- Our homes account for 27% of the UK's carbon emissions contributing to global climate change
- The average home owner would save around £300 in fuel bills by making their home more energy efficient
Reforming the home buying and selling process.
Reforming the home buying and selling process to provide consumers with a better deal is long overdue. Home Information Packs, together with reforms to conveyancing, local authority searches and consumer redress, are at the heart of these changes.
Under the Housing Act 2004 homeowners or their selling agents must produce a Home Information Pack when the property is marketed for sale. Home Information Packs will create a more transparent and efficient market where costs are shared more fairly between buyer and seller.
The Home Information Pack Programme has been developed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), working in partnership with industry stakeholders, including the National Association of Estate Agents, the Law Society, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Association of Home Information Pack Providers and the Land Registry. Each industry sector has a key role to play in successfully delivering Home Information Packs to consumers on 1 June 2007.
The benefits Home Information Packs bring to Consumers
The Home Information Pack will ensure that important information about a property is available to buyers and sellers early in the home buying and selling process, drawing attention to any problems before they delay the transaction or, possibly, cause it to fail.
In combination with other government initiatives as well as market-led innovation, HIP's will act as a catalyst for reform, leading to a home buying selling process that is: More transparent - giving consumers a clearer, up-front picture of what they are buying and/or selling;
- Quicker - with reduced transaction times
- More certain - with a reduction in the number of transactions that fall through between offer and exchange
- More efficient - with a reduction in abortive costs to both consumers and estate agents Smoother - the above reforms add up to a process that is less stressful and less confusing for consumers.
The benefits Home Information Packs bring to Industry
- Improving the process of buying and selling by reducing the number of transaction failures and reducing the time taken between offer and acceptance
- A step on the ladder for new generations of home owners - through more affordable entry costs and simpler process for first time buyers
- Joined up processes through industry forging links to provide a seamless service to consumers.
You could face a penalty notice of £200 if you do not comply with the Home Information Pack regulations. The duties imposed by the regulations will be enforced by local authority Trading Standards Officers under a civil sanctions regime.
They will usually provide advice and warnings in the first instance but will have the power to issue penalty notices where they believe it is appropriate.
Trading Standards Officers must notify also the Office of Fair Trading when a penalty charge notice is issued to an estate agent and this could result in a banning order for the agent in question.