New info packs set to end 'shambolic' house-selling process

The new Home Information Packs will put an end to Britain's "shambolic" home-buying and selling process, the government has said today.

From 2007 sellers or their estate agents will be required to have key information available at the start of the process of marketing their home. This will be proceeded by a voluntary period of operation and a dry run in 2006 to ensure a smooth and successful introduction of the Packs.

At present nearly 30% of transactions fail after terms are agreed. With the average cost of each failure at over £1,000 per transaction, this leaves consumers footing a bill of £1 million per day in wasted costs.

Speaking at the Property Forum in London today, Housing Minister Keith Hill said that the current system was "unacceptable".

"The current system forces buyers and sellers to negotiate in the dark, only finding out the facts towards the end of the process. With the Home Information Pack this key information will be available up front. Buyers and sellers will be able negotiate with confidence and transactions can proceed smoothly to a successful completion," he said.

Home information packs will contain information on areas such as: terms of sale; evidence of title; planning consents, agreements and directions, and building control certificates.

The Minister said that the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 were "particularly good news for the property professionals".

"Property professionals and the rest of the industry now have the certainty they need to invest in the new business opportunities the Packs will bring to the buying and selling process," he said.

Legislation to introduce 'sellers' packs' was introduced in the Homes Bill on 13 December 2000, but was unable to complete its passage before Parliament was dissolved for the general election. Legislation will be reintroduced as part 5 of the draft Housing Bill.

Home information packs are used in other countries, notably Denmark and New South Wales in Australia.


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