Compiling a Home Information Pack can be done yourself, or by hiring an Estate Agent, Solicitor or HIP provider. If hiring someone to prepare it for you, you must make sure that they are signed up to a code of practice. The price for compiling a HIP can vary so be sure to shop around before you decide whom to use.
No matter who complies your Home Information Pack, there are set documents that have to be included, where as others are optional. Below is a brief outline of the documents needed and what they cover.
The documents that must be in your HIP are:
- Home Information Pack Index – This is mainly used as a checklist of what is contained in the pack. If a document that is compulsory is missing from the pack, it must state why, and what is being done to get it. The index needs to be updated whenever there is any change to the documentation included in the pack.
- Energy Performance Certificate – This gives an efficiency grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’ for energy and carbon emissions, it also gives advice on cost effective improvements that could improve the current rating.
- Sale Statement – This provides basic information about the property being sold, including the address, whether the property is leasehold, freehold, or commonhold. If the property is registered or unregistered, whether or not the property is being sold with vacant possession, and in what capacity the seller is selling the property. (for example, they are selling on behalf of the owner who has died).
- Evidence of Title – There are two types of property, registered and unregistered. If the property is registered then it must have official copies of the individual register (which in turn is typically made up of three documents) and an official copy of the title plan. If the property is unregistered, it needs a certificate of an official search of the index map and the documents that the seller intends to rely on to provide evidence of title to the property and the right to sell it.
- Standard Searches – A search of the local land charges register for the property, this is carried out by a personal search company, or the local authority who will send an official search certificate. It also includes a search of the records for any information deemed “of interest” to the buyer such as planning decisions, road building proposals, etc. The standard searches document also holds details of the services to the property (eg water, and drainage) and can be done by a personal search company or the local water company (but it must comply with the HIP regulations to be valid).
- If the property is commonhold or leasehold, then there must be the relevant documents (for example, the lease of a leasehold).
If it is a brand new home you are buying there are some changes to the pack. Instead of an Energy Performance Certificate, you would get a Predicted Energy Assessment. Also new builds have to have a Sustainability Information document, which is either a certificate (or temporary certificate) which shows the sustainability of the home to show it complies with the standards of the Code of Sustainable Homes. The code measures the environmental impact of a new home against nine categories. It could also have a nil-rated certificate to show the property has not been assessed against the Code.
As well as the compulsory documents, the seller may decide to add in any of these additional documents.
- Home Condition Report – Which reports the physical condition of the property. It is similar to the Homebuyer Surveys and can let both parties be aware of and
repairs or work that are needed on the property. These reports have to be carried out by a certified Home Inspector and written in plain English. They are there to help reduce the risk of nasty surprises later and so need to be comprehensive in the information given about work or repairs needed.
- The advantages of this document are there for both parties, the Seller has an opportunity to carry out the work or at least get quotes for it before they market the property, and by telling the buyer in the report of any problems, it reduces the risk of them pulling out at a later date.For the Buyer, this document gives detailed information on the work needed and can be relied on legally when approaching lenders for the money to purchase the property, which may mean that the lender will not insist on a detailed site inspection prior to agreeing the funds, which is normally done at the buyers own cost.
- Legal Summary – Home Information Packs can contain some very complex documents that aren’t always straight forward to understand, because of this, some packs also include a legal summary which is provided either by a conveyancing solicitor or a HIP provider and is just a summary of all the legal documents.
- Home use/content forms – These documents allow the seller to give the potential buyer a host of information on a range of matters to do with the property. Including things like, land boundaries, planning permissions, and also covers things like what is included in the sale and what is open for negotiation. In April 2009 a Property Information Questionnaire will replace the Home Use Form and will become a compulsory document.
- Searches – Although some searches are compulsory, the Seller may wish to add others into the pack as well and in doing so may speed up the sale process. These searches can cover things like rights of way, ground stability or even possible or existing environmental hazards such as flooding or contaminated land. These are most commonly used in areas where there has been coal mining taking place and just serves to assure the buyer.
- Warranties and Guarantees – If the Seller has had work carried out to the property that is still under warranty, then it is a good idea to include any supporting documentation in the HIP.