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Sellers shun free home pack pilot

The Government is offering free trials of the home condition report to selected estate agents throughout the UK.

Nearly 40 estate agents have been randomly selected in Cardiff, Coventry, Hertfordshire and Sheffield to trial the biggest element of the Government&#39s seller&#39s packs.

Sellers who place their property with one of these agents are offered a free HCR. Borrowers will have to pay for it when the plan is implemented in 2005. The trials are intended to monitor how quickly the report can be put together, the quality of the survey, how useful the buyer finds it and whether or not it speeds up the selling process.

But even though the rep-orts are free, estate agents say sellers have shown very little interest.

These trials follow free trials of home information packs in Bristol in 2000, which had a poor take-up. Home information packs have been criticised for being costly and adding time to the selling process.

Housing minister Keith Hill says: “We are keen for homebuyers and sellers to take part as we want to hear about their experiences of using the HCR to make sure that the report makes selling their home easier.”

Shortland Horne estate agent senior sales manager Tracey Hallam says: “We have had no takers in the five weeks we have offered the home information packs. A lot of people are worried about negative points being revealed by the survey and others are not prepared to wait for it to be done.”

SecureMove Property Services managing director Peter Bray says: “We agree in principle with the idea of HIPs but we are concerned about the details. It does not matter if the trial has a poor take-up as legislation will mean people have to have HIPs. The issue is whether the pack will help sellers or cause a delay.”

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