Home Information Packs Estate Agent Rip Off

According to recent research conducted by Which? Money, Home Information Packs (HIPS) provided by estate agents can cost significantly more than the ones that can be obtained directly from HIP providers – some of them can cost a staggering 50% more.

Home Information Packs are required for any homes that are put up for sale in Wales and England, but a vast difference has been found between the prices of the least expensive HIPS and the most costly ones.   Some sellers are  paying as much as £300 more than is necessary.

The Investigators found that the Halifax was selling the HIP pack at a price of £413  for a semi-detached freehold property with 3 bedrooms, while the same HIP was being offered online by Fridays Property Lawyers for only £189.

The most expensive Home Information Packs found for a leasehold flat with 2 bedrooms was offered by estate agent Spicerhaart for £516.  HIP Save, a direct provider, was offering the least expensive option for an astounding £292 less.  It was also noted that although the best deals on HIPS can be found through direct providers, there were still significant discrepancies found between their prices – sometimes the difference was as much as  £191.

According to James Daley, the editor of Which? Money, it is now mandatory to obtain a Home Information Pack before putting any flat or house on the market.  Failure to do so can result in fines that can amount to as much as £200 per day.  However, people should not allow themselves to be fooled into believing that the only place to buy a HIP is from an estate agent.  Research done by Which? Money demonstrates that the highest priced HIPS bought from high end agents can cost more than twice as much as the same HIPS purchased from inexpensive online providers.  Shopping around before buying will produce the best deal and potentially save hundreds of pounds.


Hip costs
Direct Hip providers Freehold cost of hip Freehold including VAT Leasehold cost of hip Leasehold including VAT
Fridays Property Lawyers £164 £189 £199 £229
HIP Save £165 £190 £195 £224
Promise Homepacks £179 £206 £209 £240
Anglia Home Surveys £197 £227 £217 £250
Economy HIP £198 £228 £228 £262
Click hips £210 £242 £250 £288
thehipsolution.com £225 £259 £240 £276
hip2sell £249 £286 £249 £286
Absolute HIP £290 £334 £310 £357
HIPHIPhooray.com £330 £380 £360 £414
Average price for HIP providers £221 £254 £246 £283
Estate agents
Savillsa £254 £292 £254 £292
Sequence Groupb £299 £344 £299 £344
Foxtons £299 £344 £299 £344
Andrewsc £299 £344 £299 £344
Connellsd £349 £401 £349 £401
Countrywide £349 £401 £399 £459
Spicerhaart £349 £401 £449 £516
Halifax £359 £413 £398 £458
Average price for estate agency groups £320 £368 £343 £395

Table notes

  1. Savills refers clients to various approved suppliers; prices shown are for one option
  2. Discounted price if paid upfront; free Hip if use Sequence Home Conveyancing; the Group comprises 11 brands including William H Brown, Barnard Marcus, Allen & Harris and Fox & Sons.
  3. Discounted price if paid upfront; otherwise £399 if paid on completion.
  4. Discounted price if paid upfront; £99 if use Connells Home Conveyancing. Prices are correct as of July 2009.

Leave a Comment

10 comments… add one
  • rosie ryan 11 March, 12:50 am

    Hip-Save are useless! They failed to produce a mini-HIP within one month of receiving payment and had to be chased by my partner, and then it transpired that they’d failed to do 2 key searches on my own HIP three months after I’d paid them to do it! Both the sale of my flat and the purchase of my house are in jeopardy as a result, and I’m now having to order both searches on Express at my own additional cost to avert total conveyancing disaster. What is the point of them?!?

    • Reena Gopal 9 April, 10:14 am

      I paid Hip-save 2 months ago and they still havent comepleted two searches still outstanding! they seem to be ignoring my emails and cant get in touch with anyone to speak to!!

      i’ve had to get our solicitor to complete the final searches on our behalf to avoid any further delays on the sale of the house.


      • very annoyed 22 April, 5:46 pm


        they are useless. they do not answer the phone or emails and consistently fail to deliver.

  • Mark C 4 May, 2:40 pm

    As per the last comment, I would not recommend Hip Save at all.

    I ordered my HIP over 2 months ago, and we are still waiting for two searches to be complete. They have no phone support, only a sales line – and worryingly they were not even answering that today!

    • Reena Gopal 6 May, 5:56 pm

      I emailed Hipsave requesting for a refund a month ago for the 2 uncompleted searches and everytime i ask them for an update their admin staff claim the request is sitting with management to authorise! very frustrating waiting for an email to be replied to!!

  • MazCmet 8 May, 11:46 pm

    I agree with the above – do not use these cowboys i am having to pay again. they ignore my mail. cowboys

  • Karen Taylor 16 September, 4:17 pm

    On the 9th of March 2010 I put my two bedroom terraced house up for sale with Connells of High Wycombe, Bucks and paid £99 plus VAT for HIPS. Connells were next to useless and despite dropping the price the property did not sell. Infact very few people came to see my property yet adjacent properties were sold by other agents.I gave notice to Connells after six months (we had a twenty week written agreement)and now they are demanding a further £399 plus VAT for the HIPS which as we know is no longer required.My gripe is not only do I have to pay this fee for something of no use but this company did not seem to try to make a sale after the first few weeks. So all in all I will have paid £498 plus VAT for a useless pack when most other providers were supplying HIPS for around £200 including VAT. CONNELLS WERE A COMPLETE RIP OFF. Has anyone else had a similar problem?

    • Elizabeth Forbes 10 November, 3:21 pm

      Karen, you have my total empathy/sympathy. Estate agents are a total nightmare, one way or another. You’ll have seen my original post re The Property Ombudsman – every agent has by law to offer an arbitration schewme approved by the OFT and currently TPO’s is the only one thus approved. Check with Connells that they’re signed up – it should be in your T&C. Did you accept that price for a HIP? Are you sure you’re not being asked for cost of marketing materials – most agents don’t charge this, but some do.
      Re not selling, did you check on mouseprice.co.uk (not a misprint tho’ not sure where mice come into it!) as to what prices other houses on your side of your street have sold for in the recent past (it takes c 3 months for the price to come through to the Land Registry after a sale, but it does give you a good idea). My sad experience ie on the market at £695k in May, reducing by £25k each month is much similar to yours. What I realised was that having the price too high doesn’t attract a ‘cheeky’ offer – it means that people viewing are actually looking for a completely different property. So they rubbish what they see, and this understandably demoralises the ‘negotiators’ who then start rubbishing it themselves – this is what happened to me. I changed agents, kept the last-posted price of £650k, then reduced to £629k at which point we had a cheeky offer of £580 which we got to £590 only to have the offer reduced to £560 which we got up to £575 and as the Autumn selling season is now over and I need to move, I’ve settled for that. Only £120k below original asking price and they call themselves ‘professionals’.
      Meantime, I’d got an agent who belonged to something called Hometrack, which bases asking prices on mortgage valuations – not nearby asking prices or even prices achieved, but really sensitive to what’s going on locally. They estimated selling at £570-580 and if it hadn’t been for that I’d be in deep gloom – as it is, I’m very disappointed but OK with what I’ve got.
      There’s only one Hometrack member in each area but if you log onto their website you can find out which one it is. Good luck!

  • Elizabeth Forbes 12 October, 12:32 pm

    What’s Whatconsumer up to? I agree with every word (the things even the most ‘reputable’ of Estate Agents asserted to me!) but don’t they know there’s something called the Property Codes Compliance Board which teamed up with The Property Ombudsman? They published the excellent Buying and Selling a Home – Your Guide to Who Does What. The website includes a list of approved HIP providers. I’ve not checked to see if this still holds for the Energy Performance Certificates but when HIPs were still required I got mine from HIP Manager for £175.07 incl VAT for a 3-bed house. Confirmation of title came within half an hour of my paying (Thursday), the EPC assessor came the next day and I had my mini-HIP on Monday.

  • mr ellison 16 November, 7:27 pm

    i put my house on the market got a hips agent did not sell goverment axed hips now agent wants 400 for hips is this right