Rob Hailstone of HIPAG supports Home Buying Reform – 10th June 2010

Rob Hailstone has campaign for years for the reform of the home buying process. He has campaigned to use the reform potential of HIPs to put conveyancers and particularly smaller conveyancers at the centre of the home buying reform.
Rob has kindly allowed us to reproduce a letter he has sent to the estate agency publication The Negotiator.
Despite all the disappointment that Rob feels about the lost opportunity of Home Information Packs Rob heads the campaigning group “The Bold Group” to lobby for improvements in the process.
The Bold Group explains its aims and objectives as:-
The Bold Group – Objectives
Create a comprehensive Property Legal Pack, working with the provision of upfront information
Clarify the position over referral fees and other reciprocal arrangements
Fair panel rights, with lenders, for SMEs
Create an easy to understand, home buying and selling process map, for the public
Possibly extend the life span of searches, or increase the use of search insurance or refreshed searches
Agree a nationwide system of working (a nationwide conveyancing protocol)
Obtain reliable redemption statements
Create ‘In Principle’ mortgage certificates
Obtain condition free mortgage offers quickly
Create a user and client friendly electronic funds transfer system and a chain matrix
Consider any other matters that are or will become relevant to the home buying and selling process including the possible introduction of a condition report and solicitor referral fees
Mission Statement 
To deliver a home buying and selling process that provides clients and business contacts with a service that is efficient, professional and competitively priced
To ensure that matters are dealt with expediently and professionally
To ensure that all Bold Group members work together for the benefit of the consumer
To communicate with all relevant parties as regularly and clearly as possible, keeping the amount of ‘legalese’ and technical jargon being used to an absolute minimum

What improvements in the home buying process would you call for?

Rob’s unedited letter.

Dear Editior 

One last passing letter from me for you to print maybe? 

It is nearly three years since Hips were introduced and just over three weeks since they were suspended. As I expected, almost overnight we went back to the same old laborious conveyancing process that we had pre August 2007. Hips were far from perfect and from day one I felt a bit like Gerald Ratner must have famously done selling his less expensive merchandise. 

However, there were some good bits, even in the basic Hip and an "exchange ready pack" definitely helped streamline the process. I quote from a letter written by Steven Kenton, a solicitor with YVA solicitors in London "The "exchange ready Hip" provided incorporates, amongst other things, replies to general enquiries and has had a beneficial effect as the only other documentation requested by the buyer’s solicitor is a completed fixtures and fittings form." Despite this, most of the property industry looked upon the Hip in a completely negative way and not as something that could be improved on. 

From my point of view I feel like I may have wasted six years of my life trying to help improve the home buying and selling process, because all that has been learnt in that period has been simply binned by our new Government without discussion, debate or consultation. Having said that I feel that the Albatross that the basic Hip was, has now been removed from my neck and I can now concentrate fully on other projects, rather than "cling to the wreckage" of Hips in the hope that they would be improved.

I have had to make redundant a number of good, conscientious employees (as have others) and I wish them all well for the future and thank them for their efforts. I just hope that some estate agents listen to the comments made by Richard Rawlings in The Negotiator 28th May and offer something post Hip that will help the home buying and selling public in England and Wales.

 Have I learnt my lesson? Much to my wife’s dismay, no. I would be delighted to be involved in any new initiatives that surface in the future, only this time I will make sure I have other irons in the fire at the same time!

Rob Hailstone



Rob Hailstone

The Bold Group

Today's Conveyancer