Buying a property is likely to be the most expensive purchase you will ever make, and ensuring you have sufficient information to assist in your decision to purchase is vital. Searches are an important part of the conveyancing process. They cost a few hundred pounds, but that is only a tiny fraction of the value of the property. The result of a search may mean that you decide not to proceed with your purchase, and look for another property to buy.
If you are purchasing a property with a mortgage, your lender will always insist on searches being carried out. Cash purchasers do not have to have searches but we would always recommend them.
The usual searches for a purchase or remortgage are:
Local Authority Search
This is a search of the local authority in which the property is situated, and reveals matters specific to the property being purchased, including:
Water and Drainage Search
This search shows whether the property is connected to the mains water supply, mains drainage and surface water drainage. The result will also reveal the location of any public sewers or mains water within the boundaries of the property, which may restrict your ability to extend your home in the future.
This search identifies any potential environmental risk from past or present uses of the property itself or land and buildings in the vicinity of it; such as current and historical landfill sites and industrial uses. The search also provides information regarding the risk of flooding from rivers, sea or surface water; although if such a risk was identified, we would also carry out a specific flood search.
Chancel Repair Search
This search shows whether the property is located in an area with the potential risk of the owner being liable to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the chancel of the parish Church. If a potential liability is revealed, we will put in place an indemnity insurance policy at completion. The cost of these policies are low, and they protect you financially, should you receive any request from the Church to pay towards repairs in the future. There is debate over whether buyers can be subject to such liability. Our view is that the law in this area is not definitive and we recommend insurance if a liability is revealed.
There are other searches which may be required depending on the area in which the property is located, including coal, chalk and tin mining searches.
If any issues are revealed by the searches, there is more often than not a solution, and you may be able to negotiate a price reduction or arrange an indemnity insurance policy to cover any potential issues.
By having all the relevant searches carried out at the outset of a transaction, you are fully informed to make a decision on purchasing a property which could save you thousands of pounds. If you purchase a property without carrying out searches and then learn that the property does not suit your needs, you could incur considerable additional costs.
If you would like to discuss searches in more detail please contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like a quote for conveyancing services please contact one of our conveyancers:
Jo Green (Northampton) email@example.com
Jemma Hanna (Northampton) firstname.lastname@example.org
Clare Best (Cambridge) email@example.com
Tony Ekin (Norwich) firstname.lastname@example.org
Karina Frudd (Norwich) email@example.com