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HIPs have mandatory document content to which can be added data from a pre-approved list of voluntary authorised documents such as guarantees, Consents, etc… Guess what the very large majority chose to do? Yes, the basic minimum because they are not aware of options available to them and because they mistakenly thing additional costs accrue for extra content. So, at the time when information is needed to give you confidence to proceed with a purchase what sources of data are available to you?

Below are the views of PROinspect Consultancy based upon Surveyor experiences since the new selling rules came in couple of years ago.

We start at the point when a potential purchaser asks us to conduct a survey inspection. We recommend a product at an agreed fee rate and confirm everything in writing (or e-mail) and send our Terms of Business including payment terms and practicalities. We then launch into our pre-inspection profiling mode to find out what we can about the property. This starts with looking at our own databases to find out if this Company has ever inspected the particular home.

Basically we then trawl the internet for data (and also check a few commercial data sites that we subscribe to that are not open to the public). The information collected typically produces the following type of data:-

• Prices paid for either the subject home and/or similar homes closeby.
• If any of the above are very out-dated then we upgrade by applying indexation ratios taken from other sites.
• Environmental risk analysis sites that warn of the locations susceptibility to Radon Gas, Landslip, (adverse) Historic land use, subsidence, flooding, contaminated land (and proximity to), etc…
• Planning history documents publically available to view.
• For registered Defective Premises Act (1972) homes, general information on what is collectively wrong with them, how it can be rectified, etc…
• Verification of whether the home is Listed or within a Conservation Area.
• Plans and Maps – sight of these can deliver a great deal of data (especially if you can find the old County Series O.S. Plans). The site of previous Farms, Well shafts, Boundary positions, sites of past Industrial use, Contour lines (comparison with modern maps can tell you how the land has been re-shaped by man), etc…
• Whether the home has had a previous Energy Performance Certificate upon it (a rate lower than the current rating will indicate changes have been made to the property).
• By Googling the home address photographic representations of the home can be viewed and this tells the Surveyor its probable construction type, locational key features, and much more.

We then turn to the Estate Agents Particulars. Often these include a sketch plan of the accommodation. This is very useful to any Surveyor as it allows them to compare those plans with the lease plan within the HIP and so the Surveyor can act as the eyes of the Solicitor in determining whether alterations have been completed – allowing the legal team to request Consent verifications from the Freeholder and Building Control department.

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