A Complete Guide to Conveyancing Property Purchase Searches

If you’re not sure what searches you need when buying a property and whether or not you need them, then this guide is for you. Searches on a property are an important aspect of buying a new home. Find out more about the different types of searches and what you’re likely to need

What Are Property Searches In The UK?

One of the most important tasks when buying a property, is the searches that need to be carried out. Purchase searches are a standard set of queries submitted to various authorities that cover the house you plan to buy.

House buying searches reveal important information about the property and should be ordered at the beginning of the conveyancing process.

House searches are made up of a local authority search, environmental search, water and drainage search, and title search. Sometimes other searches are needed depending on the location and type of property you are buying.

To order the searches for your property purchase with Moving Buddies all you need to do is confirm some basic details in your client portal and pay for the searches. This initiates all the searches that are needed, leaving you to get on with some of the more enjoyable aspects of moving house.

What Are The Main Searches On A Property?

The 4 main searches when buying a house usually come consist of:

  1. Local Authority Search
  2. Environmental Search
  3. Water and Drainage Search
  4. Title Search

Property searches will reassure you there aren’t any unwanted surprises about the property you intend to buy or the surrounding area, either now or in the future. It’s important to get them underway in a flash as they can take a number of weeks to be returned. This is why we will make sure they are ordered at the soonest possible convenience. Don’t let late search ordering slow down your purchase.

Our comprehensive property search packs give you full reassurance that the biggest investment of your life is a sound one and will not throw up unexpected and unwanted surprises. All our searches are fully compliant and accepted by all lenders.

Local Authority Searches

Local Land Charge Register search covers any charges or attendant restrictions relating to land or property. These can include whether the property is:
  • a listed building
  • located in a conservation area
  • subject to a tree protection order
  • in need of an improvement or renovation grant
  • or situated in a smoke control zone
It also covers planning agreements and conditional planning permissions. The search also supplies information relating to:
  • public highways,
  • proposals for new roads,
  • rail schemes
planning decisions that could affect the property. It also highlights any:
  • outstanding statutory notices,
  • breaches of planning or building regulations or
  • the existence of a compulsory purchase order.
Environmental factors, such as whether the house stands on contaminated land or in a Radon gas affected area are also covered.

Drainage and Water Search

We will also ensure that Drainage and Water Searches will be carried out when you are buying a house. This will provide information on the location of sewers and whether the property is connected to the mains water supply. Drainage and water searches will gather vital information on:
  • If the property is connected to the public sewage system.
  • If the property is connected to the public water supply.
  • How the property will be charged for its water supply.

Title Searches

The term title search refers to the examination of public records to determine and confirm a property’s legal ownership. Title searches on a property are essential for buyers. They confirm with the Land Registry that the seller is the legal owner of the property and that they’re legally allowed to sell it.

Title searches will provide information on:

  • Who currently owns the property.
  • Who has previously owned the property.
  • How much the property was bought for.
  • If the property has any debt associated with it.
  • The location of the property.

All searches carried out by Moving Buddies are fully compliant and accepted by all lenders.

Other Searches On A Property

Local authority, environmental and drainage and water searches are the most prominent house searches. Moving Buddies orders all of the relevant searches for your property purchase.

Depending on the area the property is in, we may need to dig a little deeper and look into the following:

Flood Search

Thousands of people are affected by floods every year and evenmore are at the risk of flooding. To avoid this, it is advised that the property should be checked on the Flood Map at the Environment Agency’s website. Results will show the extent of a possible flood and also provides a detailed assessment of the area.

We will take care of organising searches that help assess the risk of registering titles in areas where it is possible.

Chancel Repair Search

A Chancel Search is a check to see if you’re liable to pay possibly up to tens of £1,000s towards the repair and upkeep of your local church in England and Wales.

A search will be made of The National Archives of the historical records for the parish your property (the one you’re looking to buy) is located in to see if you might face this claim in the future.

The chancel repair search returned is headed up as either:

  • A certificate: a warranty that the area of land selected falls within a parish which does not have the ability to claim for chancel repair liability; or
  • A report: this chancel check search result is returned when the area of land selected falls within a parish which has the ability to claim for chancel repair liability.

When the chancel repair liability search is returned as a report, normally you can then get chancel liability insurance – also known as chancel search indemnity insurance – to cover you against any future claims. We can help you with all you need to know about this.

Mining Search

If you are buying in a mining area, mining searches when buying a house will provide vital information on the history of mining near the property and if this affects the house. Properties built on old mining grounds are at risk of a variety of costly issues, especially subsidence.

We can order your residential property searches at the click of a button for all property purchases. We use the info you give us and automate ordering, dependent on your individual case. You can rest assured the best and most appropriate searches are being ordered.

Who Needs Conveyancing Searches?

Sometimes cash buyers decide not to proceed with searches on a property. However, you may decide that a few hundred pounds spent on house searches is a worthwhile expense. Especially when considering the cost of a home and the security it gives.

We would always highly recommend taking out searches so you can be sure that your investment is protected. Without conducting house buying searches, you may not be aware of something that may determine if you want to proceed.

If you are taking out a mortgage to purchase your property, your lender will likely insist that property searches are necessary. They will want to be sure that the money they are lending you will not be invested into a property that has a chance of being worth less in future.

It also may be beneficial for your health to understand whether any toxic chemicals may be present in the land – for example arsenic, lead or other toxins left from any historical industrial works or even pollution. These chemicals can potentially seep into the land and in a worst case scenario may be present in the soil in your garden.

How Long Do Conveyancing Searches Take?

It’s important to note that the turnaround for searches on a property can range from a few days to several weeks depending on how fast the relevant authority acts and how many they carry out per month.

What Can Delay Searches?

You might have a delay in receiving the results from the house buying searches if your local authority is slow to act or has a manual system. This can slow down the process by a few weeks. However, most local authorities have or are in the process of using an online system with the rise of online portals such as Moving Buddies. If your searches reveal anything worrying, we might have to order further searches which will delay the process. They sometimes might recommend taking out indemnity insurance for peace of mind in certain situations.