When embarking on the journey of purchasing a property, there are several crucial steps that ensure your investment is sound and secure. One such crucial step is the undertaking of property searches, conducted by your conveyancer to reveal essential information about the property and its surroundings. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of property searches, highlighting their significance, types, and what they reveal, all of which contribute to a successful and informed house purchase.

Why Searches Are Essential in a House Purchase

The process of purchasing a house goes beyond its aesthetics and curb appeal. It involves digging deeper to uncover potential issues that could affect your investment down the line. Property searches serve as a lens through which you can gain insights into the property’s history, potential risks, and future prospects.

What Do Searches Reveal?

  1. Local Authority Search: This enquiry delves into the local authority’s records to reveal critical information. It sheds light on ongoing property developments in the area, issued planning consents for the property, the property’s listing status, and whether it resides in a conservation area. This search provides a snapshot of the property’s regulatory landscape.
  2. Water and Drainage Search: Through this search, your conveyancer seeks information from the local water authority. The goal is to establish their responsibility for the water mains and sewers, as well as any pipes they might own that run onto the property. This ensures your property’s utility connections are clear.
  3. Environmental Search: Environmental searches unveil potential environmental risks associated with the property. This includes nearby facilities dealing with chemicals, historical land use, potential contamination, ground stability, landslips, and floodplain status. These insights are crucial in evaluating long-term viability.
  4. Flood Report: In certain cases, a separate flood report is recommended. It offers a comprehensive view of the property’s flood history and future risk. This report assesses various types of flooding risks, providing an overall risk assessment level. If significant flood risks are identified, they must be reported to insurers and mortgage lenders.
  5. Mining and Quarrying Searches: Areas with a mining or quarrying history might pose specific risks. This search uncovers issues like past mining activities or capped mine shafts near the property. Understanding these risks is essential for a well-informed decision.
  6. Radon Testing: Radon, a natural radioactive gas, can pose health risks if present in high concentrations. A radon test assesses its levels within the property. If high levels are detected, remedial action is needed to mitigate the risks.
  7. Land Registry and Bankruptcy Searches: The Land Registry search verifies the property’s registered title. A bankruptcy search ensures that the seller is not bankrupt, as this status would prevent them from legally selling the property.

How long do searches take?

The time it takes to complete Conveyancing Searches varies based on the specific local authority involved. With more than 340 local authorities spread across the UK, the process of handling these searches differs for each one. As a result, the turnaround time can range from as short as 48 hours to potentially extending over several weeks.

The duration of is influenced by the methodology employed by your respective local authority in delivering search outcomes. For instance, if you receive your search results electronically via online platforms or email, the process will be considerably faster compared to receiving them through traditional mail.

It’s worth noting that numerous local authorities operate with relatively small teams within their Land Charges departments. Consequently, during periods of high demand, there’s a possibility that the return of your search results might experience delays.

Property searches empower both buyers and sellers with transparency and knowledge. For buyers, they mitigate the risk of unexpected issues post-purchase, while for sellers, they ensure accurate disclosure and foster trust. Mortgage lenders also rely on these searches to evaluate the property’s viability as an investment.

To receive more information or a quote, visit: laura.catania@attwells.com

Outside of Essex, London or Suffolk