We Got Stung by Our Estate Agent: A Case Study
“We decided to sell our house after I’d had our second baby,” says Megan. “The place we had was lovely but with two little ones running around it was going to feel awfully cramped so we decided to move to a bigger home. We found the perfect place just two miles from where we were living and started the proceedings not long after I’d given birth. Obviously, with a two year old and a newborn baby, I was extremely busy and Tony works long hours so we wanted it to be as hassle-free as possible.
“We had heard all about Home Information Packs and knew we had to get one but we weren’t sure where to start. A friend of mine told me her estate agent had compiled the HIP for her when she moved house two months earlier and she said it was relatively easy so we decided to ask our estate agent to do the same.
“When it came to marketing the house the estate agent did a fantastic job and a buyer was found almost immediately. Unfortunately the same sort of service was not offered when it came to the HIP.
Does More Money Mean a Better HIP?“We didn’t go into it blindly, we did our research and found that HIPs generally cost around £150-£200. However our estate agent told us we would actually be charged closer to £300. We enquired as to why this was and he said the provider was a reputed firm and that’s the type of money you’d be looking to pay to “get the job done right”.
“In fairness we should have told him there and then not to bother but with the children and Tony’s job we just couldn’t find the time to look elsewhere. We were foolish but we decided to go ahead with it.
“I now know if we’d shopped around we could have found a HIP provider that would have charged us around half of what we already paid. I don’t think it was at all fair of the estate agent to mislead us into thinking paying these prices was normal. We have complained to the firm but since we were told the cost before we agreed to it there is not a lot we can do.”
Estate Agent DealsMegan and Tony are not alone. Press reports have revealed some estate agents have ‘deals’ with HIP providers and receive a big commission for bringing clients to them. This means that even though the estate agent knows this is not the best deal for the consumer he may encourage them anyway.
There is no set rate for HIPs so providers can technically charge what they like and if a reputable estate agent is recommending them even those with extortionate prices can receive a lot of custom.
The best way to ensure you get a good deal is to shop around, take the time to compare prices and don’t rush into anything. You could save yourself a small fortune by being smart when it comes to getting your HIP.