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HIPs are selling sellers short

So the day has finally arrived and passed - April 6 2009. It wasn't only a landmark because it was my birthday (thanks for all the cards) but because now anyone selling a house must possess a Home Information Pack prior to marketing.

You may well think, as I did, that this isn't such a hardship. HIPs usually take about a week to come through and, though they cost about £300, potential buyers won't give it a second glance (less than 8 per cent ask to see a HIP, apparently). Consider it a bureaucratic annoyance, rather than something that could affect the sale.

As of last Monday, however, HIPs have become more sinister. Sellers must now fill in a PIQ - property information questionnaire - in order to obtain a HIP. According to the Government, the PIQ is designed to provide buyers with basic, useful information about a property that will inform their decision to view it or make an offer