There are two categories of document that can be included in a HIP: Required (compulsory HIP documents) and Authorised (optional HIP documents). It is up to the seller rather than the HIP provider as to whether they include these optional documents. This could include a Home Condition Report, a legal summary, Warranties or a home contents form. We will explore each optional additional HIP documents below:
A Home Condition Report contains detailed information about the physical condition of a property. It is similar to a Homebuyer Survey and can let the seller and buyer be aware of any works or repairs that are needed to the property.
The benefit to the seller is that if included in the HIP it provides an early opportunity to carry out repair work on the property or get quotes before placing the property on the market. This affords buyers a clearer idea of the state of the property, reduces the risk of a buyer pulling out later in the conveyancing process due to an unforeseen problem and gives the property an additional selling point. This benefit is particularly heightened in a time when gazundering is fairly prevalent.
If the seller has included a Home Condition Report ( HCR ) within the HIP the buyer benefits from a reduced risk of being faced with unexpected repair bills and other surprises when you buy the property.
A HIP may contain some complex and unfamiliar documents that can be difficult to fully understand. The HIP may include an optional legal summary, which is a brief and simple summary of all the legal HIP documents. A conveyancing solicitor or HIP provider should be able to produce a legal summary.
The Home contents form lets sellers give buyers information on a range of matters relating to the property. It is usual for sellers to declare which fixtures and fittings and other contents of the property are:
- included in the sale
- excluded from the sale
- subject to negotiation
The standard searches need to be included in a HIP, but they can also contain non-standard searches. This can often speed up the sale of the property. For example, it's standard practice to obtain a mining search in areas where coal mining has taken place. Sellers in these areas could save time in the conveyancing process if they provide this search in the HIP. Other non-standard conveyancing searches cover rights of way, ground stability and actual or potential environmental hazards such as flooding and Radon Gas.
Warranties and any Guarantees for work already carried out on the property, such as dry rot or double glazing, may be included in the HIP. Normally these are required later in the conveyancing process. The existence of such Guarantees has to be revealed within the Property Information Questionnaire ( PIQ ) which is a compulsory document within the HIP.