Home Information Packs are to be trialled as early as next year in preparation for them becoming compulsory in 2007, the Government has announced.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has said it is inviting estate agents to take part in a dry run in 2006, so any problems can be ironed out prior to the start of the scheme the following year.

Home Information Packs, or Hips, mean that a seller has to commission a leaflet of information about the house so that people can put in an informed offer without having to commission a survey.

Housing Minster Yvette Cooper said today: ?The programme?s development, including proposals for the home condition report registers and the ?dry run? in 2006 is in good shape, and industry involvement with government should ensure that public confidence continues to grow in the build up to the packs? introduction early in 2007.?

Up to 7000 home inspectors will need to be trained for the job, said the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors today, as it welcomed the announcement.

However, others are less optimistic about how much sense the plans make. Many small estate agents are concerned about prohibitive costs as the agent will initially pay for the pack, until the sale is completed. It is estimated each pack could cost as much as £700, which the seller pays on completion.

The National Association of Estate Agents has also expressed concern that it will delay getting a house onto the market therefore wasting more time on the seller?s behalf as well as the agent?s behalf.

More detail is expected from the Government at the end of the summer.