What searches will you need when buying a property?

Published 11th February 2022

What searches will you need when buying a property?

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.

Are searches necessary when buying a property?

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.

What type of searches do I need?

There are three main searches required when purchasing a property:

1. Local Authority Searches

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:

  • If the property is a listed building
  • If the property is situated in a conservation area
  • If there are tree protection orders
  • If there are any planning agreements
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