Imagine buying your dream home and then a factory is built next door – that’s why you need to know about nearby developments before you buy. As part of the conveyancing process, your solicitor will make a series of searches to discover information about your new home so that you can make an informed decision before you sign on the dotted line. Mortgage lenders also want reassurances that nothing will negatively affect the value of the property.

What searches will my solicitor undertake?

As part of the conveyancing process, your solicitor or conveyancer should undertake the following searches:

• Land Registry searches

Your solicitor will check the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ held by the Land Registry. These are legally required checks to ensure that the seller is the legal owner of the property.

• Local Authority searches

These searches are vital as they’ll uncover details of any planning permissions, proposed developments or roads in the area. They’ll also find out who’s responsible for maintaining paths and roads around the property.

• Water Authority searches

These searches establish whether there are public drains on the property and where your water comes from. They’re crucial if you’re considering building work on the property.

• Environmental searches

These searches establish whether your property is built on landfill or contaminated land. Issues relating to land toxicity need to be revealed at this stage otherwise you can end up with an unsaleable property that’s a health risk. Environmental searches should also uncover whether the property is at risk of flooding.

• Location-specific searches

Depending on the location of the property, your solicitor might advise additional searches. For example, in a traditional mining area it may be wise to establish whether your property is at risk of subsidence.

• Chancel repair search

This type of search reveals whether you’re liable for the repair of your local church. Although churches must now lodge liability with the Land Registry, you may still find you’re liable for repairs. This type of search costs only a few pounds and means you can take out Chancel repair insurance to cover your liability.

How long will searches take?

As a very rough guide, searches generally take around one month to complete but this is dependent on how quickly local authorities and other bodies respond to requests for information and what additional searches may be necessary. Be patient, stay in touch with your solicitor and chase them over any delays.



<a href=””>Search.</a> by Jeffrey Beall licensed under <a href=””>Creative commons 5</a>

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