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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK
Inspectors home in on new careers
By Susannah Streeter
Business reporter, BBC Breakfast News

Keith and Tracy Llewelyn
Tracy and Keith Llewelyn want to become inspectors
Thousands of people are about to embark on a new career, thanks to a radical shake-up in the way houses are sold in England and Wales.

From 1 June, all people selling property in England and Wales will be obliged legally to prepare a Home Information Pack (HIP) containing information useful to the purchaser.

One of the key components of a HIP is an energy performance certificate. This outlines how energy efficient the property being sold is. and will be prepared by a new-breed of inspector.

By 1 June at least 2,500 people will be qualified as home inspectors and energy assessors.

About 3,000 more people are being taught in training centres across the country.

This is a whole new project for us and we are very excited
Tracy Llewelyn

Many are taking a gamble, ditching their former jobs for a career in a brand new industry.

Qualification

Husband and wife Keith and Tracy Llewelyn are among those studying for the new qualification in Bristol.

"We own a nightclub in Cardiff and I also used to be an estate agent," says Ms Llewelyn.

"This is a whole new project for us and we are very excited. Our children are getting a good education about what makes a house energy efficient as well."

So why are so many people taking the gamble and paying up to 9,000 to train as home inspectors?

HIP HIP Hooray.com, one of the HIP providers, say they believe each inspector could do up to eight energy performance certificates a week.

HIPS WILL INCLUDE
Evidence of title
Copies of planning, listed building or building regulations consents
A local search
Guarantees for any work on the property
An energy performance certificate.

They will be paid between 100 and 160 to carry out an energy assessment, depending on the size of the property.

Specialist energy assessors will also be qualified to issue the certificates.

The certificate will grade properties from A to G, a bit like when buying a fridge.

A new boiler, double glazing and even energy-saving light bulbs could affect the grade.

Home Inspector trainee Jeannie Meyer, a former landscape gardener from Bristol, says she does not think people are aware of the cost savings that can be made by making a home energy efficient.

"There are very simple changes that can be made that can dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Our reports will tell sellers how this can be done,'' she says.

Building survey

Jeannie Meyer
Jeannie Meyer says simple changes can lead to big savings

The inspectors can also carry out home condition reports.

This type of building survey was originally meant to be a key part of the home information pack, aimed at speeding up the selling process.

It is now optional, but some HIP providers are offering the reports as part of the pack.

So what is compulsory in the packs?

As well as the energy performance certificate, copies of title deeds, any recent planning permission or building consent given on the property, and a local area search must all be included in a HIP.

A HIP is expected to cost the seller of a property about 400 on average.

But will getting a good energy grade help vendors sell their home more quickly?

Jason Larkworthy from Connells estate agents said that two properties would have to be identical before someone opts for the property with a better energy efficiency grade.

He believes location and the type of property will remain the main selling points.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Trainee home inspectors talk about their work



SEE ALSO
Home packs face legal challenge
15 May 07 |  Business
Q&A: Home information packs
01 May 07 |  Business
Home seller's pack trial starts
06 Nov 06 |  England
'Abolish home packs' say lenders
27 Oct 06 |  Business
Six locations to test home packs
11 Aug 06 |  England
'U-turn' claim over house packs
18 Jul 06 |  UK Politics
Why buyers distrust house surveys
26 Feb 05 |  Business

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