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Home information packs now required before a sale

The requirement for sellers to have a home information pack (Hip) in place when selling their home risks disrupting the property market at a sensitive time, estate agents have warned.

Until now, sellers have been allowed to market their properties without a Hip to show potential buyers, provided one has been commissioned. But from today all sellers, including those selling leasehold properties, must have a Hip from the outset.

Charles Wasdell, head of research at propertyfinder.com, said: "Sellers are already cautious in the current market and this will prevent people from testing the waters, and risks a drought of good saleable properties. The government should be trying to stimulate housing transactions, not tie the process up in more red tape."

Charles Peerless of the West End branch of Winkworths said he already had one customer complaining he could not actively promote his property until he had a Hip in place. However, he thinks the move could actually benefit the market by deterring those who are only testing the market. "It will sort out those who are serious about selling from those who are just seeing what they could get for their properties," he said.