Conveyancing is the process of legally transferring property ownership from one party to another. Searches in conveyancing provide essential information about the property being bought or sold, helping both buyers and sellers make informed decisions.

What are conveyancing searches?

Conveyancing searches involve the thorough investigation of various aspects related to a property and its surrounding environment. These searches provide critical information that helps both buyers and sellers make informed decisions throughout the transaction. A property search normally takes between 2 and 8 weeks to complete, but every transaction is different and can be longer or quicker.

Local authority search

One type of search is a local authority search, it uncovers information held about a property in a local authority’s records including within their land charges register. If you do not order a local authority search you will not know a lot of the essential information about the property which, as its owner, you will need to know. Mortgage lenders will also not follow through unless the buyer has had a local authority search. Cash buyers are also encouraged to get a local authority search completed however they do have an alternative option. This is called no search indemnity insurance but this can end up more expensive than simply having a local authority search completed.

Environmental search

Environmental searches are one of the conveyancing searches you’ll need to get when buying a house and are likely to be a requirement of your mortgage lender. This search looks at the historical records for your house and the surrounding area, to check the past use for the land on which the house is built. Environmental searches focus on whether the property you are purchasing is built on or near contaminated land or water. It should also pick up any issues such as the risk of potential landslips or flooding from nearby rivers, seas, or lakes.

All conveyancing searches are important for their own reasons, environmental search allow individuals to find out more about health risks, insurance risks and financial risks.

  • Health risk – The search can highlight certain factors which could potentially become health risks to you and those living in the house. If the house is built on former industrial land then there could still be toxins in the ground
  • Insurance risk – It also identifies whether there have been any historical issues with flooding, if there has been flooding then you may struggle to get building insurance or you might have to pay extra.
  • Financial risk – It’s important to understand anything that could lose you money on your property. For example, if you then go to sell your property and realise there is an environmental issue you may have to reduce the price and even then you could still struggle.

Land registry search

Land Registry Searches provide information relating to property and land ownership, mortgages, property boundaries, restricted covenants, charges, right of way, current and past ownership, and property prices. The solicitor will need to prove that the property seller is the legal owner of the property you are buying. They will check this by looking at the title register and title plan at the land registry. Before you can buy or sell any property, it is critical that a conveyancer searches the Land Register for all the information relating to that property. It is essential these searches take place quickly to avoid delays. It takes 1 to 2 days if we need to handle an application manually.

Water and drainage search

A Water and Drainage Search is a necessary part of the compulsory conveyancing searches that a mortgage lender will require in order to ensure that the property being purchased is safe from any flooding, leaking or damp caused by public waterways and drains. This search usually takes between 1 and 10 days and costs on average £50.

Chancel repair liability search

This search checks whether the property is subject to a historical obligation to contribute to church repairs. Depending on the search product ordered, a chancel repair liability check, will tell you whether you are buying in an area where the church has exorcised this right you are buying a piece of land or a property on a piece of land that makes you definitively liable for a contribution to the upkeep of the local parish church.

Once all enquiries have been answered satisfactorily, acceptable search results received and your mortgage offer approved, your solicitor will send you a Report on Contract, which details what it is you are purchasing; their findings and any areas of concern they may have and any advice they can offer; as well as reporting on any title and/or mortgage conditions.

Property searches are a crucial aspect of the conveyancing process, offering both buyers and sellers valuable insights into the property’s condition and potential challenges. By conducting thorough searches, parties can protect their investments, reduce risks, and ensure a smoother property transfer. Partnering with a knowledgeable conveyancer is key to navigating this intricate process successfully. Whether you’re buying or selling property, remember that well-informed decisions are the foundation of a successful conveyancing transaction.

If you want to know more about property searches or receive a conveyancing quote, email laura.catania@attwells.com

Our blogs and articles are correct at the time of writing.
These have been created for marketing purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice.

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