New Government legislation means anyone selling their home now has to provide a Home Information Pack, not just those selling three and four-bedroomed properties.
But while some estate agents are unsure about the benefits of HIPs, Dominic Pasqua, a partner at Knight Frank, based in Wimbledon, bucks the trend. He believes written searches, such as those provided by Merton Council, are a great help to buyers and vendors.
Searches reveal any planning decisions, road building proposals or other information, which could affect the value of the property in the future.
According to estate agents most mortgage companies refuse to lend money to buyers producing a personal search but they do accept written searches. Unlike personal searches, written searches insure buyers against any effect on the value of their new home should the unexpected happen.
Mr Pasqua said: “Vendors are against having a written search carried out because they think it will take a long time but now Merton Council has said it can produce one in just three days, that makes a big difference.”
Estate agents believe the majority of people don’t understand HIPs. The only thing most vendors know about them is that they have to have one.
Most agents in Merton have preferred suppliers when it comes to providing customers with the packs, and the majority of them do include a council search, although not all.
Councillor Samantha George, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “We are determined to do our best for our residents and provide them with the best value service we can, whether they are buying or selling a home.
“Local government searches might be more expensive than personal searches but they are much more comprehensive. They are carried out by trained and experienced professionals while personal searches can be done by anyone.”
Notes for editors
Home Information Packs must contain:
An index showing the documents inside
An energy performance certificate revealing how “green” the property is
A sale statement showing the address of the property and whether it is freehold, leasehold or commonhold.
Standard searches showing drainage details for the area and any planning decisions or road building proposals that could affect the value of the property in the future.
Evidence of title which proves the vendor owns the property he is selling.