What are Property Searches?


What are Property Searches?

One of the key stages in buying a property is undertaking ‘searches’. Many people will be familiar with the term, but do you know what it really means and what the process involves?

In this blog, our Conveyancing Solicitors dig a little deeper into the subject and reveal what searches they undertake when assisting with a property purchase.

What are searches?

Searches are the series of enquiries made by a conveyancing solicitor to find out more information about a property that a client is planning to purchase. They highlight any issues that are, or could be, a problem with a property at the time of purchase or have the potential to become an issue further down the line.

Conveyancers undertake several searches, and they usually start once an initial offer on a property has been accepted and the property is listed as ‘Sold Subject to Contract’.

What searches do conveyancers do?

We undertake three main searches as part of the conveyancing process. These are:

1. Local Authority search. A local authority search discloses any issues that might affect the property directly and can forewarn of any legal restrictions a property may have imposed on it.

Local authority searches are divided into two parts: an LLC1 result and a CON29 result. The LLC1 result will tell you if, for example, the property is a listed building or is located in a conservation or tree preservation area.

The second element of a local authority search is the CON29. This form helps to establish if the property will remain a worthwhile investment in the future by highlighting, for example, any proposals for new roads or traffic schemes and any planning decisions that might affect your property.

You can learn more about what is involved in a Local Authority Search by clicking here.

2. Environmental search. An environmental search surveys historical and current land records to reveal any potential land contamination related to past use. It gives you information about the risk of flooding, subsidence, and landslips, and, for example, proximity to any energy exploration sites.

3. Water and Drainage search. This confirms that the property is connected to a mains water supply, reveals the location of the water mains, and will disclose whether there is a public sewer within the property’s boundaries.

In addition to these three primary searches, there are several supplementary searches that our conveyancers can undertake depending on the results or should you have any other specific concerns about a property that need further examination.

These include:

  • Neighbourhood search.
  • Flood search.
  • Mining searches.
  • Energy and Infrastructure search.
  • High-Speed Rail 2 (HS2) search.
  • Underground railways search.
  • Commons Registration.

Why are searches necessary?

Searches are carried out in stages and are a vital part of the conveyancing process as they ultimately determine whether a house sale or purchase will go through or not.

No mortgage lender will proceed without searches being completed, and even for cash buyers, they are essential for highlighting any issues with a property.

During the searches, we raise with the sellers of the property any enquiries that we may have and ask for additional information to ensure that there are no problems that affect the value or saleability of the property in the future.

Once we have undertaken all initial relevant searches and reviewed your title documentation and mortgage details, our conveyancing solicitors will provide you with a review of the results in a document called a ‘Report on Title’.

This document compiles all the relevant information relating to your desired property. Buyers should ensure they read this document carefully as it contains a lot of valuable information about their new home.

If any issues come to light as a result of the searches, these need to be concluded to the satisfaction of the seller and the buyer, possibly in the form of a revised offer.

How long do searches take?

As a rough guide, searches generally take between three to four weeks to complete. However, this is dependent on the local authority and how busy they are.

If you want to find out more about the conveyancing process and what it involves, you can read our client guide by clicking here.

Conveyancing Solicitors Alton and Hampshire

If you are looking to buy a property and want some advice about the conveyancing process, please contact Bookers & Bolton. Our team of specialist conveyancing solicitors provide outstanding property advice on all stages of a house sale or purchase.

To speak to one of the team, call 01420 82881 or email enquiries@bookersandbolton.co.uk. For more information about our services, accreditations and the team members involved, please visit our Residential Conveyancing Page.