Everywhere you look on HIP and Property forums on the internet these days the question being debated is as to whether or not HIPs slow up or speed up the conveyancing process.
The Association of HIP providers’ director, Mike Ockenden, recently completed a question and answer session on the HIP consultant website where he says categorically that he believes that HIPs have speeded up transaction times. Connells, the leading estate agency group, have indicated that their data reveals that HIPs have speeded up the conveyancing process.
Arc Property Solicitors have noted that in their opinion conveyancing has not been speeded up at all.
Who is right and who is wrong when it comes to HIPs?
At the end of the day, the best placed industry to indicate whether or not HIPs have had an impact on conveyancing are the conveyancing lawyers themselves. The problem is that there is an endemic hatred of HIPs by the lawyers. I maintain that this disdain comes from the fact that there are very few solicitors that actually provide Home Information Packs and look down, unfairly, on HIP providers who are trading in dealing with legal documentation. For what it’s worth, in my opinion, HIPs have speeded up the conveyancing process by at least one week. I am sure that if conveyancers were canvassed and gave an honest opinion on this, that most conveyancing lawyers would say the same.
Pre-HIPs one would often find oneself giving the following ( honest) reasons for delays to clients.
- We are currently waiting for the contract package from the seller’s lawyers.
- We are currently waiting Local Authority Searches.
- We are currently waiting Drainage Searches.
- The Seller’s property solicitors have advised us that they are having difficulty locating a copy of the Lease.
- The Seller’s solicitors are unable to send us anything because they do not have any documentation or signed instructions from the Seller.
These reasons for delay were prevalent prior to HIPs coming into place. Nowadays, at least if there is any delay on the part of the Seller or the Seller’s property solicitors, the Buyer’s property solicitor should at least be cracking on by reviewing the HIP, raising additional enquiries based on the documents in the HIP. Even if the HIP is not produced by the property solicitors then the estate agents should be able to supply this in an electronic form or indeed hard format to the Buyer’s property solicitors.