Published 11th February 2022
Searches are an essential part of the property buying process. They are conducted on behalf of both the purchaser and the lender by a conveyancer and the information provided is designed to protect the buyer from any nasty surprises which could affect the value of the property or make a property difficult to insure when they come to own it.
Buying a property involves tackling a minefield of information. Read our guide and get all the information you need to help get you moving with confidence.
The short answer is yes. They provide essential information about the property and the surrounding area. They can be vital towards deciding whether to proceed with the purchase or if a negotiation on the price is necessary. A proposed planning application to build a new housing estate on surrounding countryside could completely change the desirability of your new home; not to mention changing the view!
In practical terms, when buying with a mortgage, you cannot move forward with a number of lenders without having your searches in place, as they will not release mortgage funds without them.
A 100% cash buyer can, in theory, purchase a property without searches. However, this could be a big risk and is not recommended. Discovering issues further down the line can be very costly, even making a property unliveable in some cases.
There are three main searches required when purchasing a property:
These fall into two key parts:
The first is an official search of the Local Land Charges Register. This gives the information that is registered against a property such as:
The second search is answering a set of standard enquires as set by the Law Society and covers matters such as:
Environmental searches look at the wider surrounding environment and are more in-depth than what is covered in the Local Authority environmental searches. Matters investigated include:
Water and drainage searches cover information about the water supply and sewer connections to and around the property. It is not a legal requirement to have this but is often mandatory from mortgage lenders. The results may give rise to needing further investigation. It provides information such as:
The cost of searches will vary depending on what searches you need, which conveyancing firm you use, and which Local Authority is providing the information. Charges can range from £60 to £350 per search, with some conveyancing firms providing a package to get a competitive overall price. It’s good practice to check which searches you need and ensure you know what you are paying for.
Searches can take around 3 to 8 weeks on average, but this will be heavily dependent on the Local Authority providing them. Once the searches are completed, the conveyancer will review them, provide a report, and detail any potential problems. This can be a slow moving and sometimes frustrating part of the process so its good advice to get this moving as soon as you can after an offer has been accepted.
As an online conveyancing network, we facilitate fast and efficient conveyancing solutions for our customers. We understand time is of the essence, so a core part of our service is not only to match you with the right conveyancer but help to start the searches process as soon as possible. The way we work can save valuable time and stress in the home buying process, keeping you ahead of the game.
If you are looking to begin your new property journey, start by getting your free online conveyancing quote in seconds today or call us for advice. Simply click here to go to our online estimator tool and find out how much your next property venture will cost you!