A joke`s a joke,but this one is wearing thin

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 by Ivor Dickinson

Douglas & Gordon - Primelocation Blog award

Many years ago we, the people of Great Britain (not myself actually, but that’s beside the point), voted for New Labour to govern us for the next four, eight, god forbid twelve years in the sincere belief that our lives would be improved.  In fact, we didn’t vote for Gordon Brown, but again I digress.  This new government would listen to us and improve our lives in ways in which we could only imagine, things could only get better!  I’m rabbiting on, on purpose, because if I had mentioned the word HIPs you would, quite rightly, have stopped reading at least 20 seconds ago.  But please bear with me, you are going to be amazed.

I know quite a bit about pop music, having owned a record shop on the Fulham Road many years ago and having worked for D&G for twenty three years, a fair bit about property too.  We (the experts) have tried to advise the five Labour Housing Ministers (i.e. not experts) about how to improve our industry on numerous occasions, but to no avail.

We said that if you make HIPs mandatory on the 1st April, it will deter people from putting their houses on the market, causing a chronic shortage of property and dramatic increases in house prices.  Well would you believe it, in the midst of the worst recession in living memory, house prices in London this year have increased already by approximately 20%, fuelled entirely by high demand and very limited supply – I know, you couldn’t make it up.

But that’s nothing, just suppose at the end of October you wanted to take advantage of this increase in prices and sell your home before Christmas and you live, for instance, in Lambeth.  I’m afraid that your estate agent would not be able to provide a search for your mandatory HIP until mid December (Lambeth are limiting private searches to two a day and are fully booked until mid December at the very earliest).  You might want to read that again.  Obviously by mid December, buyers will have other things on their mind - January is always slow, so a buyer is found in early February.  Unfortunately, three to four months have already elapsed and we are now finding that buyers’ solicitors prefer to conduct their own searches, because unsurprisingly they are reluctant to entirely rely on information provided by the seller, there will then be a further delay.  Regrettably, February and March are the two busiest months for selling property, so that two month wait for a search in autumn 2009 could now be three or four months in spring 2010.  I’ll just need to work this out - that would mean your buyer’s solicitors getting a new search from Lambeth in April or May.  So the government’s fantastic idea to speed up the house buying process, even if a buyer is found on day one, has been extended from what could have been six or seven days in the good old days to six or seven months in the new bad days.  Surely this is a fairy story, I hear you say.  I agree that it is the very worst possible scenario, but the burden on local boroughs to provide searches under the new government legislation is crippling our industry i.e. a search is required for every property before a buyer is found, and sometimes two.  The trouble is that when government is involved, great ideas are tossed around amongst a bunch of well wishing amateurs and no attention is paid to the finer detail. Ho hum, my last word on HIPs I promise – I think everyone is finally getting the message.

Oh and one last thing, twit twit, tweet tweet!  I know a lot of you do it and it’s extremely fashionable, but surely there is more to life?  Want to do something more worthwhile? How many Jayhawks albums do you have in your record collection, what about the new album by The Big Pink?  – now they are life enhancing.