the Law Society, which has been scathing of the Government's
introduction of the packs, today warned that sellers may be
saddled with a large fee if they take their home off the
market or move to another agency.
vice-chairman Paul Marsh said: 'Say you go to an estate agency
and they agree to pay for the HIP but you want to move to
another agent - you ought to be able to take it with you for
nothing, not pay a £500 exit fee. Consumers need to be very
careful and look at the small print.'
Marsh said homeowners who switch agents might also have to pay
for a new HIP as one firm might not accept a pack compiled by
a competitor. 'It is an absolute minefield that the Government
has opened up,' he added
Marsh recommended using a solicitor to compile a pack, rather
than an estate agent. 'Then you own it, you can take it
wherever you like,' he said.
agents rejected any suggestion they were 'ripping off' clients
and said any fee would only cover costs.
spokeswoman for Hamptons International said: 'Fees will only
apply if the client chooses to withdraw the property from sale
within 12 months from the date of instruction or change the
basis upon which they instruct us. When this is the case, the
client will only pay back exactly what Hamptons paid for the
HIP and this will transfer the ownership so they can use that
HIP with their chosen agent. There is absolutely no additional
Doble, of Dexters, said the Law Society's attack aimed to
divert attention from solicitors' own failings. He said: 'To
be saying people ought to go to solicitors for HIPs is a bit
off. The Law Society and its membership have been unable to
improve the speed and efficiency of the conveyancing process
over the past 10 years, despite the advent of email.'
Doble said agents would be able to buy HIPs 'in bulk' reducing
the price to as little as 'a few hundred pounds'.