The RICS announced recently that they are to investigate the practice of agents profiting from the sale of Home Information Packs to sellers.
The announcement follows evidence uncovered in a Channel 4 news investigation that up to £150 could be added to the price of a pack because of secret payments to estate agents.
I was already aware of the practice as we receive a handful of emails from HIP providers every week promising us ‘discreet payments’ in return for every pack that we sell to our clients. In many cases the seller is completely unaware that a percentage of the fee for the HIP is going directly to the agent.
Law Society president Paul Marsh said “Sellers should ask for details of the exact costs to discover if the agent is charging them more than they should be, and more than the Hip actually costs the estate agent”
“If the agent is paying £300 to the Hip provider and then charging their client £400 the client is paying an extra £100 unnecessarily. With the other costs involved in selling, these added costs are unwanted extras,” Mr Marsh added.
We have always tried to be as open as possible about the HIPs that we provide to homeowners that sell through us – our policy can be summed up in two words – they’re free.
We’ve only ever had one bit of small print; a withdrawal clause that only comes in to effect if a homeowner changes their mind after the HIP has been ordered and decides not to sell – we keep this charge roughly in line with the cost of a HIP at the time it’s ordered; currently 250. This is purely to cover the cost of the wasted HIP. As long as you sell through us the HIP will be free.