What are Home Information Packs?
The Home Information Pack (also known as the HIP) is compulsory for most homes on the market in England and Wales. From 6 April 2009, important changes will be made to HIPs. This means better information will be available from the first day a property is put on the market.
Why do you need a HIP?
A HIP is a set of documents that provides the buyer with key information on the property and must be provided by the seller or the seller's agent. It is a legal requirement to have a HIP and you can't market your property without one.
The HIP lets buyers see important information about the property at the start of the process, free of charge. This means there is less chance of buyers becoming aware of any surprises at the end of the process. The HIP can help reduce delays and extra expense to the buyer and seller.
What does a HIP contain?
See an example
The HIP is made up of required (compulsory) and authorised (optional) items.
There shouldn't be any marketing or advertising material in the pack, so make sure it contains official information only.
Listed below are all the compulsory documents that need to be included.
- Home Information Pack Index
- the new Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ), from 6 April 2009
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA)
- sustainability information (required for newly built homes)
- sale statement
- evidence of title
- standard searches (local authority and drainage and water)
- all the compulsory documents above
- a copy of the lease
For more detail on these documents follow the links below.
Other documents can be included within your HIP, but these are optional. If they are included, it could help to speed up the sale and ensure that the process goes more smoothly. These include:
- Home Condition Report
- legal summary
- home use/contents form
- other documents like specialist searches (for example, the seller may choose to include a mining search in a mining area)
From 6 April 2009, the HIP must be available on the first day a property is marketed for sale. If you are buying a property, just ask whoever is advertising it for sale for a copy of the Home Information Pack. This is usually an estate agent, but could be another business or individual.
They must give you a copy of the pack free of charge. However, they may make a reasonable charge to cover the costs of copying and posting it.
For a step by step guide to HIPs, read 'HIPs: a buyer's guide'.
From 6 April 2009, the 'responsible person' (in most cases, the estate agent) will not be allowed to market your property unless the HIP is available. You'll need to make arrangements to have a HIP compiled (including paying for it) along with other preparations for selling your home. However, if there's a delay in getting certain documents, like the local searches, these can be added after your house is put on the market.
Who compiles the HIP?
You can compile it yourself or you can hire an estate agent, solicitor or HIP provider to do it for you. Always make sure that your HIP provider is signed up to a code of practice, like the HIP Code.
Who pays for the HIP?
The seller is responsible for the cost of a HIP. The cost can vary so make sure you shop around. Some providers may offer HIPs that you can pay for at a later date but you should always check the terms and conditions of your contract.
For a more detailed guide, read 'HIPs: a seller's guide' and 'HIPs: more information for sellers'.
What will a pack look like?
There isn't a standard 'look' for a Home Information Pack. However, it must include all of the compulsory ('required') items. Certain important documents must be no more than three months old when the property was first marketed for sale.