Property searches - what are they?

Why do I need searches?

Searches provide a documented understanding of the property you are about to purchase and can certainly ensure that you don’t make a ‘bad buy’. Your seller is unlikely to be able to provide you with the type of detailed information contained in searches so carrying out searches safeguards you, and if applicable your mortgage lender too. If you are buying with a mortgage obtaining searches may well be a condition of your lender.

Searches can indeed seem confusing but your solicitor or conveyancer will be familiar with the reports and their meaning and will strive to safeguard you based on the information provided.

Types of searches

There are a number of different searches that are recommended and necessary for all purchases – and a few that are dependent on the purchase area. We’ve listed a few here for you

Local search – provides a range of information from the local council, for example local searches uncover if the property may be affected by plans for a new road or a planning enforcement notice.

Drainage and water search – ensures that the property has mains water and drainage. The local water company will also provide additional information, such as the location of underground pipes etc.

Environmental search – ensures that the property is not affected by contamination.

Planning search – uncovers, for example, if the neighbours have got planning consent for a large extension or a perhaps if a planning application has been made for a new business park at the end of the road.

Flood risk report – this search checks if the property is at risk from flooding.

Coal mining and other mining searches – finds out if the property could be affected by old mining activities or workings, or perhaps a new opencast mine nearby.

High Speed Rail 2 or HS2 – ensures that your new home will not be affected by the new rail line.

Chancel repair liability search – this is an interesting one, it checks that you won’t be liable to pay for the maintenance of your local church!

Why are they important?

Each search carried out provides information on a certain element of a property but its not just about the property itself, it also concerns the area around the property. Searches give your solicitor or conveyancer a complete documented picture of the property and the area its situated in. They safeguard you from only finding out something you don’t like after the transaction has completed and it’s too late to affect a change.

If you’d like additional information, or help understanding the importance of property searches, please call one of our property experts – we’re always happy to help.


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