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All you need to know about conveyancing searches when you are buying a property

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What are conveyancing searches?

Before you purchase a property, you will want to know as much about it as possible. Especially things that could cause problems, affect its future value, or hinder your enjoyment of it.

This is where searches come in.

Searches are enquiries made by your conveyancing lawyer to various authorities on your behalf. Your lawyer will gather information about the property you intend to purchase and the land that it sits on, as well as any other factors or information that may be important for you to know.

Which conveyancing searches do I need?

In short, the searches you will need will depend on the location of the property you are buying as well as some other external factors.

Our team of conveyancers will be able to advise the specific searches you will need for your personal circumstances.

The three main searches carried out when buying a house are:

  1. Local Authority Searches

This search highlights:

  • any planning issues with the property
  • building control issues
  • highway issues
  • area pollution issues
  1. Environmental Searches

This search highlights:

  • Any flooding or landslide issues or risks
  • Subsidence issues
  • Contaminated land issues
  1. Water and Drainage Searches

These enquires go directly to the local water company and highlight:

  • Who owns and maintains the nearby sewers, drains and pipes
  • If the property in question is connected to a public water supply and sewer
  • Whether the water supply is metered or rateable
  • The location of the public sewer and drainage pipes
  • Whether you’ll need permission from the water company if you ever want to extend your property

Are conveyancing searches necessary?

Our conveyancing team at Hegarty Solicitors would always advise carrying out the required searches when buying a property.

Without the right searches you could end up with a property that has issues that make it incredibly hard to insure, or has debt attached to it that you then have to take on as the new owner. Other examples could include, a windfarm or trainline that is planned to be built near your new property that affects the value of your new house, or the property could be sat on land that is heavily contaminated creating the risk of a polluted water supply.

Without complete knowledge of the property you intend to purchase, you could end up with insurance issues, a property that you paid too much for, or that is unsaleable if the next potential buyer does go ahead with the relevant searches.

How long do conveyancing searches take?

Timescales can vary and are usually impacted by external factors outside of your and your conveyancing lawyer’s hands.

Some searches can have a very quick turnaround whilst others can end up taking months. For example, the Land Registry – main provider of local authority searches for local authorities – has been under threat of privatisation and this has meant that the focus on this department has diminished causing valuable and skilled staff to leave and, because of cuts, not been replaced. As a result, the turnaround of Local Authority Searches is now extremely varied across the country.

How can Hegarty Solicitors help?

You may feel like you are buying the home of your dreams however, not having the right information on the property through searches, means you could be left with a home that is far from perfect.

Hegarty Solicitors will carry out necessary searches to advise you (and your lender) as to any potential risks that we are aware of, making the process as easy and stress-free for you as possible.

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