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All you need to know about HIPS...

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HIPS are a brake on the property market

Whatever the economy is doing, there is always a grey area within the property market. Grey properties are the ones that live in estate agents' bottom drawers; they're half on the market. I came across the term this week, when I was accused of being a "grey market seller". I'm not desperate to sell my flat - particularly now it's lost so much value - but if someone offered me a good price I'd take it.

Except from April, I will need to possess a dreaded Home Information Pack before a potential buyer so much as sets foot inside my flat, and this will cost me about £300. This is in line with government legislation known as the "first day marketing" rule. As it stands, sellers only need have applied for a HIP (a wad of documents including checks on energy efficiency, water and drainage) in order to start marketing a property.

I can't help thinking that the new rule will kill off fringe sellers like me. HIPS in my part of London take up to 15 working days to get hold of at the moment (apparently redundancies at Thames Water have meant turnaround is at a snail's pace).