Conveyancing Searches Explained

By Louise Burgess on

When you purchase a house, your solicitor will carry out various searches on the property to check its surroundings, its location and anything which may affect the property which would not be normally apparent on physical inspection.

This article will look into the main searches which solicitors will carry out on a residential property and the reasons why searches are required. Over the coming weeks, we will explore each type of search in depth so that you can understand what to look out for in your search results.

Compulsory searches

If you are purchasing a property with a mortgage, your lender will require your solicitor to carry out certain searches. In most cases, the Local Authority, Water and Drainage and Environmental Searches are compulsory. The Coal Mining Search is also required depending on geographical location, although for properties in Yorkshire it is necessary.

If you are purchasing a new build property, the developer will have investigated the land and may have carried out extensive searches on the whole area therefore meaning only the Local Authority Search and Mining Search will be need to be carried out on individual plot purchases.

If you are purchasing without a mortgage you can decide to proceed without carrying out searches. However, this is not recommended as the searches can often reveal issues with the property which you would not have been aware of otherwise. Most solicitors will require you to sign a disclaimer should you not wish to obtain searches.

Optional Searches

If you are particularly concerned about an issue affecting the property, there is a wide range of searches which can be obtained to investigate further. The most commonly purchased optional searches are the HS2 report, Energy and Infrastructure report and Plan Search Plus.

While the Local Authority Search will indicate whether the proposed HS2 train route will be within 5km of your property, the HS2 report looks at this in considerably more detail. It will look at the precise whereabouts of the track, the track type and the potential speed.

The Energy and Infrastructure report investigates whether the property is in close proximity to any energy sources such as wind farms, turbines and areas licenced for fracking, as well as any planned rail works such as Crossrail or, again, HS2.

The Plan Search Plus can give information about the area which the Property is in such as crime rates, employment, schools and local facilities as well as average property prices. This search is particularly useful if you are relocating to the area and have no prior knowledge of it.

Searches are required in the majority of house purchases and are often the only way of revealing any defects in the property. Over the coming weeks, we will look into each search in depth so that you can understand exactly what your solicitor is checking for in your search results.

If you are thinking of purchasing a property, contact our specialist residential conveyancing team on 0113 244 9931.

Next week: Local Authority Search explained

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