Conveyancing searches explained

When purchasing a property, it is very important that you pay for some key searches to be conducted. These searches will give you a wide range of information that is very important to be aware of before taking the plunge and purchasing a property.

However, you may be wondering what these searches actually cover, well wonder no more!

Below is a breakdown of the searches we recommend everyone orders in a residential purchase. Please be aware that depending on your property and where is it situated, you may wish to consider other searches, such as a coal mining search or specific commercial searches.

Drainage and Water search

While this search may seem self-explanatory, the search dives deeper than you may think. This search gives you a wide range of information about the water supply of the property, including how it is metered and who is it supplied by. It will also provide information about the ownership of the drains, sewers and pipes of the property, and importantly, will you be liable to contribution to their maintenance.

In addition, the search will provide you a map of your property and the surrounding areas, pinpointing exactly where the pipes and sewers are in proximity to your land. It will be very important to know if any sewers or drains run within or through your land. It is advised to keep hold of the search results, if any issues arise later on.

Local Authority Search

This search, as the name suggests, is completed by the relevant local authority in which the subject property is situated, e.g. Southampton City Council, where the property is situated in Southampton. This covers a wide range of issues, all with differing levels of importance.

The most important information you will be receive from your local authority search is in respect of the surrounding roads to the property and whether these are public highways or privately maintained ones. If they are publicly owned, the council are responsible for their maintenance. If they are private roads, as a property that sits on that road, you may be liable to pay maintenance costs.

In addition, important planning and building control information is provided to you. You need to ensure that any work completed to the house previously has been done in line with planning and building regulations. If it has not, as the new owner you may become liable for the previous owners’ mistakes.

Environmental search

Again, this search covers a wide range of issues, all that can have a big effect on your property. You may think that flooding is dealt with in the water search, however it is actually outlined in the environmental search and to quite some detail. Coupled with subsidence, landslide and contaminated land issues, the results of this search could make or break your property bid as bad results could make difficult your chances of getting a mortgage or house insurance if you were to go ahead with the property.

The environmental search gives you arguably the most important results as it covers areas that could have a direct effect on your safety.

Chancel search

This is a search you may not have come across, but we feel it is an important one. A chancel search will highlight if your property lies in a parish area and whether that area is liable to pay towards the upkeep and maintenance of the parish church. This is the cheapest search out of the lot but can give you a big heads up of the potential big cost, especially if the owners before have failed to pay their contributions.

If you would like more information on the best searches for you, please contact the property team today.

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