LATEST NEWS: HIPs Abolished!
As of the 21st May 2010, property owners across England and Wales will no longer have to acquire a HIP to market their properties.
Describing the HIP process as ‘unnecessary and pointless’ to the survival of the property market; Housing Minister Grant Shapps is believed to have made this decision after discovering that HIPs have made no positive impact on property sales for the last 3 years.
And it would seem that this suspension is set to become permanent…
Originally only meant to be temporary, whilst the government entered into talks with the Association of Home Information Packs to create an alternative legal/exchange ready pack; new primary legislation has already been set in motion to permanently abolish HIPs later on this year.
Fortunately, property investors will still be able to access Energy Performance Certificates as part of their potential property investments. However, these won’t be as readily available as they used to be, as property owners now only need to have ordered these certificates in order to advertise their homes…
PLEASE NOTE: this dedicated HIP page up has been left up for historical information purposes only and not for use.
You may have heard of these little packs before, but they are an incredibly useful tool for judging the condition of your potential rental property, and helping you make an informed decision on whether or not to invest.
And they are exactly what they say they are: Home Information packs.
Inside you will find an assortment of documents that sellers (in both England and Wales) must provide in order to put their properties onto the market.
To download your sample of a Home Information Pack, click here, or keep on reading to find out more.
What does a HIP contain?
Now this is partly dependant on the seller. Why? Because as well as their compulsory documentation (which must be included), sellers have also got the choice to include extra optional documents.
In a traditional HIP you would expect to find:
Home Information Pack Index
This document acts as a checklist as to what has been contained within the HIP, and what is unavailable. With this checklist at hand you will be able to narrow down your search, and find everything you need to make a decision.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Using this certificate you will be able to tell the energy efficiency of your property. The grading on this is fairly straight forward using a standard energy and carbon emission grading of A to G.
Also included should be a document that gives you advice on how to improve your properties energy levels, which could be quite useful for your tenants.
Sustainability information (newly built properties only)
Here you should find an interim certificate that shows the sustainability of the home or a nil-rated certificate from where the property has not been assessed against the code.
The Code for Sustainable Homes – all this does is measure the environmental impact of this new property against 9 key factors such as CO2 emissions and waste generation.
This document will provide you with some basic information about your property.
Not so much on its structural integrity, but details such as its address, whether the property is freehold, leasehold or commonhold, whether it is being sold as a vacant possession and why the property is being sold.
Now not all of these will affect you as an investor, but knowing whether the property is being sold as a vacant possession could prove very useful in enabling you to fill your rental property faster and more effectively.
Evidence of Title
This simple document proves who owns the property.
Now if it is a registered property, you should find within the HIP documents provided by the Land Registry, such as the official copies of the individual register and a copy of the title plan of the property.
But if the property is on unregistered land, it is the job of the seller to ensure that there are copies of an official search of the index map.
Standard Property searches
This section of the HIP will probably be of the most use to you in deciding whether or not you want to invest in this property.
Here you will find documents detailing:
- A search of the local land charges register
- Planning decisions and road proposals
- The properties drainage capabilities and water services
What are the optional documents
As we mentioned earlier, within a HIP you will find compulsory and optional documents.
Now the inclusion of these optional documents is at the complete discretion of the seller. After all, it is their responsibility to accumulate all of the above documents, which is not exactly free.
For this reason you may find that many choose to not include the following.
But to give you a clear idea of the other documents you may find within your HIP, here is a quick run down:
- Home Conditions Report - this report contains information about the structural condition of your property.
This is similar to a Homebuyer survey an extent. If you do find one of these, make sure it was carried out by a certified Home Inspector and is written in plain English.
With one of these, should something go wrong with your property which this report detailed as fine, you will be able to claim insurance.
- Legal Summary - HIPs are complex, so there will be some areas of the HIP that you will not be able to understand. To overcome this problem, sellers can choose to include a legal summary to prevent any future confusion.
- House Use/Content - this is one to take notice of as it covers a range of matters relating to the property such as boundaries, notices, planning permission and property fixtures (that are included in the sale).
In particular, being aware before you invest of border disputes can prevent any future problems with your neighbours. You will know exactly what belongs to you.
- Searches - Now in the compulsory documentation you will find that some searches have already been done.
But there are additional ones such as rights of way, ground stability and environmental hazards (flooding and contaminated land) which sellers could choose to include in their assessment.
The flooding hazard in particular is one to watch out for, so if you are lucky enough to find one of these searches included, then great. But if they haven’t we recommend that you do one. Why? Because flooding with time will contribute to structural damages that you will have to pay for.
- Guarantees and Warranties - these cover any jobs that have been done to the property. Building or electrical work, any of these guarantees could prove useful in showing you what needs doing to your property and what has already been done.
Wondering how you can transform the information provided within these HIPs into credible property investments? Sign up for one of our FREE 2 hour taster sessions today
, and let our team of property experts help you to maximise your investment potential.
Call us today
on 01908 309274
, or alternatively register using the form to the left.