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Person: Property Searches

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Written by
Zenobia Mahmood

Property searches are also known as Conveyancing searches, which are requested as part of your purchase. Before potential buyers proceed with the property purchase, they will submit searches to gain enough knowledge as possible about the property they are purchasing.

Searches will be submitted on your behalf by your solicitor who will be dealing with the legal formalities of your purchase, and will be submitted as soon as you’ve had your offer formally accepted.

Searches are not always compulsory during a transaction, however they are necessary as they reveal any information regarding the property which should be brought to your attention.

“These searches will reveal vital information highlighting potential unseen risks attached to a property purchase”

If the property you’re purchasing will be with the benefit of a mortgage, then the lender will require you to submit the property searches. In some circumstances there are certain lenders which may allow you to submit Indemnity Insurance for the lack of searches, however the Lender’s handbook will need to be checked by your solicitor that will confirm this.

Alternatively if you’re purchasing the property with cash, there is no requirement or pressure from the lender to submit searches, however your solicitors would still strongly advise you to have these submitted, after all you are spending thousands of pounds on an investment, and a little more won’t hurt, to later find out that there are potential faults/concerns with the property which could result in costing you thousands!!

There are many searches which can be requested based on the induvial property you are purchasing, however the 4 main searches are as follows:

Local Search

This search reveals a variety of useful information, however it is important to note this only searches within the boundaries, it does not reveal anything falling outside of this area.

The Local Search provides information relating to the roadways serving the property, as to whether there are any planning permissions and applications pending. It also deals with the Building Regulations, and whether any works have been undertaken which would have required consent, which has not been revealed. Again this is also something which can be raised as an enquiry with the seller’s solicitors.

It will also reveal whether any roads and public rights of way have been adopted, and whether they are maintained by the local council.

The search will also reveal whether the property is in a conservation area, which could potentially permit any future development. This may be a cause for concern, if you’re planning any future work to the property.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will also be covered within the search. This will confirm whether the property is within an area where the developers are required to contribute towards the implementation of new road, schools and any public amenities.

Water and Drainage Search

This search will include essential information for buyers, as it will reveal the following:

  • Whether the property is connected to water supply
  • Whether the property is close to public sewers and water mains
  • Whether it has a public sewer within its boundaries

The above information is important if you’re planning an extension and whether the drains of the property run beneath your extension, as you will require permission from the Water supplier for this. This search will target essential information relating to a property’s access water and drainage facilities.

Coal Mining Search

The purpose of this search is to find out whether there is any likelihood of mining activity having been carried on beneath the property. The search will reveal the following information:

  • Past, present and future underground coal mining
  • Mine shafts and audits
  • Coal mining geology
  • Past, present and future coal mining

If you’re borrowing money from a mortgage lender, they will request this search is submitted in order to protect their interest in the property. This search can effect the value of the property, if previous mining activities are discovered building insurance premiums may also be affected by this.

Environmental Search

This search will check whether the property is built on or near to contaminated land, a waste or landfill site. This search will reveal the following:

  • How the land had been used in the past
  • Determines whether there is any risks in regards to contaminated land such as waste of landfill site
  • Floods
  • Radon Gas
  • Ground stability
  • Energy and Infrastructure such as solar of wind farms
  • Landfills

As solicitors we would recommend for you to have this search submitted as it contains important information about a property which may not be visibly seen.

Your conveyancer together with the search company is responsible for finding out as much information about the property that you are buying. It is important to be aware that the searches may not pick up everything, especially if planning permission for something is applied for after the search results have already been submitted. Your conveyancer would also advise you to visit the property, to ensure you are aware of the property and it’s surroundings before committing to the property purchase.

Please get in touch with Miah Law at info@miahlaw.co.uk or call 0113 350 3007 if you have any questions – we are happy to help.