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Much HIP ado about nothing

US screenwriter William Goldman could easily have been talking about the Home Information Pack market when he decried Hollywood as an industry in which no-one knows anything.

Agents have whinged about the inconvenience of the pack since it was launced in 2007, and more so with the full implementation of first day marketing on April 6, fearing that the requirement to have one in place before a property can be marketed would have a detrimental effect on instructions. However, a telephone poll of agents across the country by The Negotiator this week reveals that the impact hasn’t been half as bad as agents initially feared, as our HIP special reveals in this issue.

Meanwhile, the Association of Home Information Pack Providers continues banging its drum about the merits of the pack on behalf of members, who in their depleted numbers have been less vociferous in their campaigning efforts of late.

But there is a notable lack of evidence to support either party’s claim, just as there continues to be gaping hole in our knowledge about what consumers really think about them, that’s of course those that have heard of them in the first place.

The Negotiator can exclusively reveal that the consumer research commissioned by the Association of Home Information Packs with MORI is expected to reveal that of those polled, 65% found the information in HIPs useful. But anecdotal evidence from both HIP providers and agents suggests that less than 5% of consumers - both buyers and sellers - request to see a pack. Moreover, AHIPP’s research is based on a poll of 2,200 consumers; big deal. Land Registry figures show that there were 35,848 sales transactions between February and May, so we are no closer to proving whether or not HIPs are fulfilling their raison d’etre and reducing the number of aborted sales.

Until someone gets their finger out and commissions some authoritive and substantial research to prove that the packs are achieving their goal, Goldman’s words will continue to ring true across the HIP industry.

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