Property sellers can save money by avoiding high street agents

Property sellers in the UK should shop around for Home Information Pack providers as the documents can cost twice as much through an estate agent as through a specialist provider, it is claimed by a leading consumer organisation.

They can also save more than £3,000 by using an on-line estate agent rather than one on the High Street, a new report from Which? shows.

Hips are highly controversial in the UK property market. They were introduced in 2007 with the aim of speeding up the house buying and selling process but critics claim they are expensive, can actually slowdown the process and a waste of time.

But the reality is that anyone selling a property must have one before it can be marketed and this latest revelations is expected to add to calls for them to be scrapped.

According to a survey from Which? Money direct providers usually offer the best deals, although there were still large differences in price, of as much as £191.

According to the survey one of the most expensive Hips is provided by Halifax Estate Agents which charges £413 for a three-bedroom freehold property while specialist provider Fridays Property Lawyers will do the report for the same property at £189.

The most expensive report for a two bedroom leasehold apartment came from estate agent Spicerhaart which charged £516 compared with Hip Save that would undertake the same report fro £224.

James Daley, editor of Which? Money, said that property sellers should realise that they don’t have to buy a Hip from and estate agent. ‘Our research shows that the most expensive high street agents charge over twice as much as the cheapest online Hip providers so you could save hundred of pounds by shopping around for the best deal,’ he explained.

But he also pointed out that those who don’t have a Hip in place before their house or flat is on the market could face a fine of up to £200 a day.

Hips, which contain title deeds, searches, property information questionnaire and an energy performance certificate, should be scrapped according to the National Association of Estate Agents. Its chief executive said that they price differences shown by the survey were ‘symptomatic of these dysfunctional packs’.

The Which? report also shows that property owners can save more than £3,000 by using an online estate agent rather than a high street equivalent. Based on a £200,000 property, a high street agent will take almost £3,500 in commission  whereas using an online agent could cost less than £400, it says.

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