New Property Information Packs set to roll out this spring after trials with agents

A new service, Property Information Packs, is to roll out nationwide within the next three months, aiming at speeding up conveyancing and reducing fall-throughs.

Auction data supplier Essential Information Group is helping develop the new tool, which lets estate agents selling by private treaty provide ‘auction style’ information packs.

Reminiscent in name at least of Home Information Packs, the new service has been trialled with agents in Shropshire.

Property Information Packs is run by former Savills and Balfours agent Tim Main, a chartered surveyor, with EIG providing the technical side of the business.

Main said the PIP service should speed up transactions and he has experience as he exchanged on his own property sale using the website within three weeks despite both the buyer and conveyancer taking a week-long holiday during that period.

It draws on EIG’s experience of hosting legal documents that prospective bidders can access to view more information on a sales lot prior to auction.

Each agent using the service would have their own ‘document room’ and on instruction the vendor would have to complete an automated property information form and the fixtures and fittings document.

Other documents would be uploaded by conveyancers during the process and the idea is that potential buyers can view all the relevant information, including that which could cause issues later such as boundaries or leasehold terms, before making an offer.

Notifications can be sent so that vendors and conveyancers know when new information is needed or has been added.

Agents will also be able to see how many potential buyers have viewed the information.

It is free to agents to upload properties, with a charge of £25 on exchange.

David Sandeman, founder of the EIG, said: “In auctions a catalogue can come out and a property sold under the hammer 20 days later, and we are trying to replicate that.

“The slowness of conveyancing is what can cause transactions to not go ahead.

“Our plan is that the moment you give the agent the instruction to sell, the vendor and agent start working together to get the legal pack sorted.

“Currently, most don’t start getting the legal side into shape until they have an offer.

“It is better to do it before the event rather than after, so fewer surprises come out of the woodwork at the end of the conveyancing process.”

The similar-sounding Home Information Packs, which had been compulsory in England and Wales, were ditched by the Government in 2010.

The new PIPs are in line with current government proposals that more information should be provided by vendors up-front. A body called the Home Buying and Selling Group is suggesting that a document covering 12 key areas should be prepared before marketing, and made available to prospective purchasers, with a summary of it on agents’ listings.



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  1. jeremy1960

    Documents uploaded by conveyancers during the process? !

    Tell that to the firm in Manchester  (200+ miles away) acting for ftb  who don’t answer emails or return calls and a week after advising they would be reporting to their clients by post (!) said report pack was yesterday still in the administration department !

  2. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

    That is a fair point Jeremy1960 although I think that you might be narrowing your focus a little.

    I would suggest it should say “tell that to the 99% of law firms that are still using paper files and think that the post is still an acceptable communication mechanism”.

    We love innovation but getting many legal horses to drink from this particular watering hole might be a challenge ….

  3. TwitterSalisPropNews

    Agents just need to tell their own selling clients to have their lawyer ready at the point of marketing. Not rocket science. This means the ‘pack’ is lawyer produced, and correct and necessary disclosures are given (and not too much dislosure is given which could otherwise risk the Agent being sued if they oversaw the pack).

    We even make that pack available to the Agent as a single PDF – to give to any interested party – comprising the same documents as a HIP (without searches and a management pack ….but with sumamrised basic management information). Even a list of likely questions a buyer’s lawyer might ask with answers already prepared.

    Use better conveyancers, and you don’t need gimmicky portals – instead you get deals that fly.



    1. Woodentop

      Been trying that idea for decades. Falls down when the conveyancer wants to charge the vendor for work and may not get a sale. Then falls foul of their own industry rules over unnecessary charges or the vendor is not prepared to pay or the conveyancer doesn’t want to waste their valuable time on a no sale no fee basis.

      1. TwitterSalisPropNews

        Indeed, as we would not dream to charge, as we’d have only done a few letters etc. Take more time to raise a bill. And it is not very common for a seller not to proceed (buyers yes but not sellers) so it is worth taking the hit for the pace we bring to the final sale (and help to the agent by having the pack available).
        Like I say, use better conveyancers. As an estate agent, influence people away from the poor conveyancers. You all know the list of them. You have influence. Obviously the agents motivated by a referral fee over the quality of the conveyancer won’t change, but your actions can even influenece them.
        Bypass any middle man. Use us/decent conveyancers – we won’t charge £25 :o)

        1. Woodentop

          Crikey, vendors can be just as bad as buyers at pulling out. Where did you dream up they aren’t? Its not agents who need to get their heads around making it work.

  4. BryanMansell

    I agree that key information about a property should be made available upfront to help any buyer make a more informed decision, however asking agents will need to chase up clients who are slow to upload documents and asking conveyancers to use another portal to upload documents could actually slow things down rather than speed things up. Good luck and bravo for all the people and businesses trying to speed things up for the consumer

  5. EAMD172

    Sounds like a nice idea for a business and should make them a fair bit of money. Unfortunately it doesn’t go far enough and without being compulsory for all properties with more detail will make little difference to most transactions, particularly where there are chains. It’s A shame that the government did away with home information packs just as they were gaining traction having only use them through a sticky recession.

  6. Rob Hailstone

    It’s a great idea, it’s not rocket science, it is easy to implement and it’s not new. Almost identical to my HIP production business 10 years ago:(
    Much better for agents, clients and the conveyancer to upload documents whilst the property is on the market. From the conveyancer’s point of view, they would be doing the grunt work at a less stressful time, i.e. without the all and sundry chasing them in the heat of battle.
    It has to be worth trying?

  7. smile please

    Chain is only as strong as the weakest link be it a buyer, seller, conveyancer, mortgage broker or estate agent.

    Good idea in theory but wont work for many reasons.

  8. Richard Copus

    Back to the old days, Rob?!

    The problem is that this will never work unless it is made mandatory and without any holes in it, and and that will lead to even fewer properties on the market for sale as the number of speculative sellers will be reduced dramatically because of up front costs.  The only way to alter things is to change the law as most other English Law jurisdictions have in different ways.  Check out the Australian states where simpler changes lead to much quicker and firmer transactions.  Forget the old chestnut, Scotland; their legal system is completely different to ours and they have their own problems.

  9. Taff

    Can anyone tell me what the difference is between the proposed Property Information Pack and the old Home Information Pack? The requirement to have an upfront Home Information Pack was ditched years ago (the requirement to have an EPC was kept) and I’m struggling to think of 1 case where the owners have decided to have a Home Information Pack voluntarily.

    1. Woodentop

      They ended up being hated by everyone, unless you were making money out of HIP’s. Looked good, sold as a good story but failed miserably with implementation. A new idea is required, but so is attitudes, particulary vendors will have to pay unless you can do it for free. This will stop speculative sellers as mentioned by Richard Corpus … but aren’t most sellers speculative, so how will they take it?

    2. tim main

      There are many differences and similarities.

      One main difference between the old HIPs and the new Property Information Packs is the delivery system.  It is now electronic.

      Another difference is that it is not complusory, but Estate agents will soon find out who their keen sellers are.

      The third difference is the information does not need to be complete.  We work on the basis that a little information is better than none.  The site updates all parties that have seen a PIP when further documents are added or changed.

      Allowing potential buyers to see the title  information prior to offering is a significant difference that leads to more committed buyers.

      As far as the point raised by Woodentop about paying, our model is on success only, the datarooms are free to open and we charge only on a successful exchange.  £25.

      Tim Main [Link removed. Users may not use comments to promote a service or business.]

  10. Fairfax87

    We provided volume evidence to Parliament, which was quoted in the House of Commons, that HIPs were having a positive impact on turnaround times… but Pickles and Snapps threw the baby out with the bath water and the rest is history.
    It comes as no surprise that industry working groups are again concluding that upfront information is part of the way forward, and the biggest barrier to it is the reluctance of vendors to shell out money upfront to lawyers (or others) to produce an auction style pack.
    Had the Government had the courage to stick with a modified but mandatory HIP, like they did in Scotland, the cost by now would have been considerably less (eg title information and copy lease now costs £9!) and fully digitised… i guess that Estate Agents would have also found more ways to offer no upfront fee and no Close Brother’s style loan agreements.
    Without mandation, upfront information as proposed in this story will not take off.

  11. Rob Hailstone

    There are a number of agent/lawyer groups around the country (Plymouth and Leeds spring to mind) who are working together to create, sellers’ packs, up front info, call it what you will. Those initiatives are working and transaction times are falling.
    I will be talking to a group of agents and lawyers in Exeter soon with a view to getting a similar initiative up and running there.
    Way too much negativity and inertia out there!


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