Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Home Information Packs: a problem and an opportunity


(Filed: 09/11/2005)

"Seller's packs unravelled

Government plans for a seller's pack could damage an already fragile market, TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp tells Caroline McGhie

If she had her trademark stiletto boots to hand, she might use them right now on the Deputy Prime Minster John Prescott. Not the sort of thing we expect from Kirstie Allsopp, presenter of almost all the property programmes you can think of. Her work hut, where she wrote her book How To Buy A House, is as sweet as a Wendy house at the bottom of the garden. Her little flat in North Kensington is full of pretty things, from china-blue floral curtains to silver-framed photographs of a blessed childhood. But today she is genuinely irate and it rather suits her.

Her dark eyebrows are arched, making her look more Monica Bellucci than Mary Poppins. Yet she still has a Bedales ring to her voice, befitting the eldest daughter of Lord Hindlip, the former chairman of Christie's. She is about to flit by helicopter to a mansion in Devon for the weekend with her property developer boyfriend Ben Andersen, who sells Notting Hill to the stars. So what has curdled the cream?

The Government plans to introduce Home Information Packs (HIPs) in 2007, in order to speed up the housebuying process in England and Wales. Anyone selling a home will have to produce an HIP, which includes paying for your own survey (or "home condition report"). A "dry-run" will start next summer. Her argument against them begins with some Kirstie gems."

Check out the original Telegraph article. While everyone is speculating about the effect SIPP's will have on the market very little has been said about the possibly much bigger effect of HIP's: that is, a depressing effect on the housing market because of the costs involved for the seller. But they could also provide an opportunity for the smart property investor who seeks out buying opportunities direct from the potential house sellers.

Chris Bell

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