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.
|Direct Hip providers||Freehold cost of hip||Freehold including VAT||Leasehold cost of hip||Leasehold including VAT|
|Fridays Property Lawyers||£164||£189||£199||£229|
|Anglia Home Surveys||£197||£227||£217||£250|
|Average price for HIP providers||£221||£254||£246||£283|
|Average price for estate agency groups||£320||£368||£343||£395|
- Savills refers clients to various approved suppliers; prices shown are for one option
- 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.
- Discounted price if paid upfront; otherwise £399 if paid on completion.
- Discounted price if paid upfront; £99 if use Connells Home Conveyancing. Prices are correct as of July 2009.