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Last Updated: Friday, 18 November 2005, 09:43 GMT
Start date for home seller packs
Derelict house
The new packs should reveal the condition of a house from the start
The use of Home Information Packs by home sellers in England and Wales will be compulsory from 1 June 2007.

The government has finally decided on the launch date after the packs were made law by the Housing Act a year ago.

Buyers will be provided with a survey, land registry details and answers from both the sellers and local authority to standard questions.

The government says the packs will cost about 600 plus VAT and will make home buying quicker and cheaper.

The idea of introducing such packs has been discussed in the industry since the early 1990s.

Saving money

The conveyancing system in England and Wales is widely regarded as unnecessarily slow and expensive.

In particular, would-be buyers can spend hundreds of pounds on surveys and other enquiries only to find their money has been wasted because the proposed property sale has fallen through.

Yvette Cooper, the housing minister, stressed that the aim of the packs was to eradicate this problem:

"Currently one million pounds a day is wasted on failed transactions as buyers often spend hundreds of pounds on valuations, legal advice and searches on transactions that ultimately break down."

Not only should the packs reduce the total amount of money wasted on abortive transactions, it should cut the number of such transactions as well.

Buyers will be able to see a report on the property's condition right from the start, not several weeks later after paying for their own survey.

Home Inspectors

One feature of the forthcoming system is that the government estimates that up to 7,400 people in the property industry, such as surveyors, building inspectors or estate agents, will have to qualify as Home Inspectors.

Only then will they have the legal authority to compile the surveys, known as home condition reports, which will form the core of the sellers' packs.

These reports will be "level 2" or mid-survey reports.

That means they will be fuller than the minimal valuation reports that most people currently rely on when buying a house.

But they won't be as detailed as the full surveyors' reports which currently are paid for by only 3% of home buyers.

The date for launching the packs was criticised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), worried that it might produce an artificial rush of house sellers trying to save money by putting their properties on the market before the deadline.

The CML said: "This will coincide with the housing market busy period, and could result in some unwelcome effects during the transition to the new regime."




SEE ALSO:
Call to cut cost of house buying
21 Sep 05 |  Business
Why buyers distrust house surveys
26 Feb 05 |  Business
Home sellers' packs to become law
18 Nov 04 |  Business


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