All You Need To Know About Conveyancing Searches


The Law Of... conveyancing searches

When you've found your perfect property, it can be tempting to jump in feet first. But what you might not realise is that you can't know everything about a property just by going to view it – your dream property might actually have subsidence or be bang in the middle of a flood zone. Property searches help to guard you against any of these nasty surprises further on down the line.

All You Need To Know About Conveyancing Searches

What Are Property Searches?

Property searches are usually taken care of by the solicitor or conveyancer you've appointed. Searches are enquiries that find out information about your property so you're fully informed of any problems before you decide to buy the property.

Your searches may come back perfectly fine, or they may raise issues that put you off buying or help you to negotiate a lower price – whatever the case, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Are Searches a Must Have?

If you're buying a property with a mortgage it's a requirement that your solicitor has conducted conveyancing searches on the property. If you're buying without a mortgage then technically you don't need them, however, not doing searches is incredibly risky.

Which Searches Do I Need?

There are many kinds of searches that can be done on a property – the searches you have will depend on what your solicitor recommends, what your mortgage lender wants and on the particular features of your property.

Searches can include;

  • 1. Local authority searches - A local search is seen as essential as it picks up information about the property and the surrounding area. It informs you of factors ranging from planning control, nearby road schemes, and issues with contaminated land. The cost of a local search varies depending on the Local Authority and take anywhere between 1-6 weeks to complete

  • 2. Title register checks – Title registers and title plan checks are a legal necessary in order to buy a property and cost as little at £3 each

  • 3. Chancel Repair Search – chancel repair is an ancient liability relating to former parish land – if the land you buy a property on is subject to chancel repair you could have to pay for the whole cost of repairing the chancel

  • 4. Environmental Search – This provides information about the property's land and surrounding environmental issues. This is usually advised and is especially important if the land is or has been used previously for industrial purposes

  • 5. Flood Risks – Flooding is an increasing problem and can cause serious financial harm as insurance, repair or relocation costs can be crippling. Simple flood searches on residential properties are around £20

  • 6. Water and Drainage Search – This shows the property's connection to drainage and water as well as proximity to local sewers

  • 7. Additional Location Specific Searches – Some searches are not necessary for everyone but can be important if the property is in a specific location; for example if the area has a mining history. Tin mining searches may be recommended in Cornwall and brine searches in Cheshire

How long do Conveyancing Searches Take?

This is a common question for most people buying a property – but it's also one that's difficult to answer. Some councils may give an estimate of anywhere between 1-4 weeks, but longer waits can and do happen.

Simpson Millar's Conveyancing Experts

Buying or selling a property can be an incredibly daunting and uncertain time which is why it's so important to pick the right person to help you with the job. We specialise in all aspects of the conveyancing process and we'll break down legal jargon to keep you fully informed every step of the way.

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