The process of buying a home is notoriously expensive. However, it’s not just the property price, the mortgage fees and the Stamp Duty that need to be factored in to budgets. Conveyancing searches are another essential cost to bear in mind. These searches can be very revealing, will ensure that there are no defects to the legal title or the property that you’re not aware of, and can reveal details that you might not otherwise have known. The results of searches could help you to avoid making a very expensive mistake.

The key conveyancing searches every buyer should know

1. The Local Authority Search

This is a data based search with no physical examination of the property. A search is made of the Land Charges (existing obligations and restrictions) Register and enquiries are made of the Local Authority. This search will reveal information such as whether adjoining roads and footpaths are publicly maintained, whether there are any planning decisions that affect the property and whether the property sits in a conservation area.

2. The Water and Draining Search

This search covers all things water related, including sewage disposal and water supply. It will reveal whether the property is connected for both water and sewage, as well as whether there are any public sewers, either within the boundaries of the property or nearby – if there are this could affect your ability to carry out future work.

3. The Environmental Search

Most environmental issues aren’t visible to the naked eye, which is why the Environmental Search is such a crucial part of the purchasing process. This search will show up any risks to the property or within 500 metres of it. That could include landslides or landfill, flooding, subsidence, waste sites and any locations of potential contamination.

Other searches to consider

While the Local Authority, Draining and Environmental searches are the main three, depending on the property and its location there are also other searches that you may need to include.

The Flood Report. This will give you information on flooding in the area, including whether the property you’re looking to purchase has been flooded in the last 75 years.

The Coal Mining & Brine Search. If you are in an area where there may have been coal mining in the past then this search is essential. It will reveal coal or brine mining works or entrances, whether there have been works there in the past and whether any compensation has been paid to past owners of the property for issues such as subsidence.

The Commons Registration Search. If the property you’re interested in is built on previously undeveloped land, abuts a village green or common land or there is a verge slip between the property and a public highway then the Commons search is essential. This will highlight whether anyone else has rights over the land and whether you must pay to use it.

Chancel Repair Search. Some properties come with an obligation to repair the local church. This is an ancient system that dates back to the 4th Century but which still has an impact on contemporary homebuyers. If the property you want to buy is affected it’s important to find out now so that you can purchase indemnity insurance to cover the cost if the local church makes a claim against you.

A Planning Search. If you want to make sure that the property you’re considering suits your requirements a Planning Search provides information on everything from local schools, to crime rates in the area.

For a free no obligation conveyancing quote please call 01253 629300.