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What Are Searches When Buying a House

On April 28, 2014

What Are Searches When Buying a House

What are conveyancing searches?

A ‘search’ is usually defined as a set of standard enquiries about a particular property and the surrounding areas.

This is a key element of the conveyancing process carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer who submits the enquiries to various authorities (for example local councils, the environmental agency, and water authorities.)

Why do a search?

When you are buying a property it is our job to find out as much about it as we possibly can in order to protect you from any unexpected surprises in the future.

Searches could reveal crucial information about a property that may not have been immediately obvious during the viewing.

Searches ensure you know as much about a property as possible, including anything that could have a negative impact on your home, or its value in the future. Common issues raised by a search could include things like planned developments in the surrounding area, future road works, or the possibility of flooding.

How much do they cost?

The cost of a search can vary greatly depending on the area and the search agency that is used.

Each local authority will be different, and their charges are reviewed annually. We will be able to discuss this in greater detail with you at the time of your move.

How long do they take?

Once the authorities are notified and involved in the search, the process could take from ten days to three weeks to complete.

Are they compulsory?

Mortgage lenders usually insist on searches however, if you are a cash buyer then searches aren’t compulsory. However we would not advise going ahead without one.

Types of search

  • Local authority search – This gives you information about the property you are buying and will give you perspective on a variety of issues from planning permission problems to conservation areas. 
  • Chancel repair – Some properties are liable to contribute to the cost of repairs to a church in close proximity.
  • Mining search – A mining search is required if a property is situated near a mine of current or historical use.
  • Environmental search – This is a commonly used search, which will identify any environmental risks in the area around the property. This could include flooding, landslide or potentially contaminated sites.
  • Commons registration – This search is recommended if you are buying a property on agricultural land or in a rural area.
  • Water & drainage – This search will detail how water is supplied to your property, and who is responsible for the maintenance of it. It could also tell you whether there is a public sewer in the vicinity of the property.
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  • Advice, conveyancing, searches
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