February 10, 2023

Conveyancing searches – everything you need to know….

This post was written by: Laaibah Bhatti

What are conveyancing property searches?

Before you become committed to buying a property, you need to know the important details about it as it is potentially the biggest investment you make.

Searches are crucial in underlining any possible and unseen risks that can affect the future value of your investment and enjoyment of your property in years to come.

Do I have to complete searches?

They are not always compulsory – however without searches you could end up with a property which:

  • Has a debt / local land charge attached to it which you will take over if you continue to buy the property without having the debt rectified before your purchase
  • Regularly floods, meaning insurance is difficult, if not impossible, to secure
  • Ends up with a sudden hole in the back garden due to a mineshaft collapsing
  • Sits on a land which was previously used for industrial purposes and may be contaminated with solvents or gases that could cause harm or pollute surrounding water

What searches does my property need?

Ultimately, this depends on the location of the property you’re buying.

Your Property Lawyer will advise you on what searches are required for your property depending on the specific location.

What are the main searches carried out?

  1. Environmental searches

This search highlights:

  • Flooding issues
  • Landslide issues
  • Subsidence issues
  • Contaminated land issues

2. Water and drainage searches

This search highlights :

  • If the property is connected to a public water supply
  • The location of the public sewer
  • Who owns and maintains the sewers, drains & piping
  • Whether the water supply is metered or rateable
  • Any charges related to the water supply that may be outstanding

3. Local authority searches

This search highlights:

  • Planning and Building Regulation issues
  • Rights of Way
  • Whether the local authority maintains your road
  • Pollution issues
  • Common Land and village greens

How long is my local authority search valid for?

Local authority searches are valid for 6 months. So if a search was ordered in January, completion would be required by the end of June or another search would have to be ordered (dependant on your Lender’s requirements).

What are title searches?

This search will tell you:

  • Who previously owned the property
  • What charges or debts are registered against the property
  • What price they paid for it

The title plan map shows :

  • The location of the property
  • The general boundaries of the property

Is this search optional?

No. This is an essential search to prove that the seller is the legal owner of the property and has the right to sell it to you.

At Aston Bond, we believe searches play a vital role in helping you understand the risks attached to the property your purchasing. For more information, contact our team of specialist conveyancing solicitors headed by Kulbir Conner on kconner@astonbond.co.uk or 01753 486777