Independent Estate Agents could be ‘left behind in the HIPs goldrush’ says Hipag chief executive

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Estate Agents in England and Wales should prepare now for the introduction of Home Information Packs – not wait until 2007 - or they risk being left behind in the HIPs goldrush. This is what Rob Hailstone, chief executive of Hipag Services, told visitors to the National Association of Estate Agents national congress held at the London Hilton on 5 May 2006.

‘Local independent estate agents are running the risk of losing their independence when HIPs are introduced,’ says Hailstone, ‘as new major corporate players enter the market in the wake of HIPs. The announcement by supermarket chain ASDA that they are to enter the home sales market and will give HIPs away free is a perfect example of what is likely to happen. In my view, local estate agents need to act now to protect their independence – not wait until next year.’

Hailstone and fellow Hipag director Hugh Dunsmore-Hardy, a previous NAEA president, were at the NAEA Congress where Hipag Services unveiled its Home Information Pack and told visitors how they can prepare in advance for June 2007.

‘Not all HIPs are the same’, says Hailstone. ‘Our approach as a membership organisation means that the local independent estate agent and the high street solicitor working with Hipag will be able to produce a HIP for the seller and the estate agent in the quickest possible time. The big corporate approach means HIP preparation will often be taken out of local hands and done remotely in ‘call-centre’ style HIP factories.’

As well as being produced with the help of Hipag members, our HIP will also be different in that it will contain a short summary of the legal contents written in layman’s language. Our HIP will be branded with the estate agent’s own logo.

‘One positive and pain-free step that estate agents can take now to protect their independence is to join Hipag Services,’ says Hailstone. ‘Estate agents can become associate members free of charge and will receive regular email updates and other benefits. In fact, we will be unveiling a new package of member benefits later this month’.

About Hipag Services Ltd.

Hipag Services Ltd (http://www.hipag.co.uk) has been formed to assist independent estate agents and high street solicitor practices in England and Wales produce HIPs quickly and efficiently. Hipag currently has some 1,000 registered members, from Cornwall to Cumbria, who it will work in partnership with to produce HIPs rapidly, enabling property sales to proceed without delay.

Hipag’s membership includes local independent estate agents, high street solicitors practices and future Home Inspectors who will prepare the Home Condition Reports.

Hipag Services has the financial backing of the OyezStraker Group, the UK's leading independent office products and business services company with 1,200 staff and £160m turnover.

Hipag Services believes its HIP will be superior to others for two reasons. Firstly, because it will provide to the seller and the estate agent a HIP quickly that complies with legislation so that the property can be marketed without delay. Secondly, by working with its member firms it will ensure the HIP becomes comprehensive while the property is being marketed, and not after a buyer has been found, thereby providing a smoother, less stressful transaction and a quicker exchange of contracts.

Hipag can achieve these goals because its members solicitors, estate agents and home inspectors – will be local to the property being sold and will be working closely together. Their local knowledge and easy accessibility will make it easier for the property seller to meet and discuss potential problems with the professionals who will be working for them.

This local approach contrasts with that of many large HIP providers who plan to offer a service based on large centralised “call centre”-style HIP factories to prepare packs.

About The OyezStraker Group Ltd.

The OyezStraker Group Ltd (http://www.oyezstraker.co.uk) is the UK's leading independent office products and business services company with 1,200 staff and £160m turnover.

The Group was formed in 1997 through the merger of Oyez and Straker, two well-known companies with strong brands in the office products and stationery market. Companies in the Group consist of: OyezStraker, Stat Plus, Lynch McQueen and Whitegrove. The Oyez brand name is synonymous with the supply legal office supplies, legal software, forms publishing, speech solutions, document production and company formations.

For further information:-

Sharmayne Weston

OyezStraker press office

T: +44 020 8774 3468

or

Jacqui Green

Jacqui Green Marketing and Public Relations

T: +44 020 8464 6462

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Jacqui Green
HIPAG
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