March 5 2009, From 06 April, not only does a completed Property Information Questionnaire – known in estate agents’ shorthand as a PIQ - become a new, compulsory element of a Home Information Pack (HIP), but the date itself marks the requirement for a full HIP to be available before any residential property can be launched for sale onto the market on or after that date.
While HIPs were launched in June 2007, the time since then has been used to phase in the concept of HIPs and the various additional elements required which include Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), evidence of title and a sales statement.
The concept has become absorbed and accepted as essential by residential property professionals during the past two years but 06 April marks the end of the time when mandatory HIP documents could be assembled over a period of time after the marketing of a house for sale had commenced.
But Carter Jonas is urging potential house sellers not to be intimidated by the new documentation and requirement as the firm is geared-up for the changes and to offer guidance to vendors to ensure the HIP is in good order.
For instance, the kind of information required by a PIQ covers elements such as declaration of known previous storm or fire damage to the property, parking arrangements, service dates of electrical wiring and heating systems; rights of access through neighbouring property or land.
For Carter Jonas, the essence of this kind of information is already covered, in part, in the firm’s standard documentation when selling a home.
Similarly, EPCs and an indication of the current and potential energy efficiency of a house up for sale have been appearing in marketing particulars and brochures for some time now.
The vendor has ultimate, legal responsibility for ensuring the HIP complies with requirements at the point of marketing and so Carter Jonas suggests that vendors seek professional advice and not be tempted to compile a PIQ or any element of the HIP just on their own.
Richard Hatch, Head of of Carter Jonas' Residential Division, commented:
"People thinking about selling their home this spring should not be bamboozled by the new requirements but neither should they try and cut corners.
"With more and more official documentation becoming compulsory when selling a home, it really does make sense to seek professional guidance to take you step by step through the whole process."