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Conveyancing Searches - Dezrezlegal

Conveyancing searches – protecting your investment

Your new home – big or small, it’s the biggest investment you’re likely to make in your life. When you’re thinking about moving, it’s really important to make sure you know everything there is to know about your new home – not just the bricks and mortar but the area where your home is situated, and anything that might affect it, now and in the future.

Why do I need to carry out conveyancing searches?

You will have a survey carried out to ensure the building itself has no problems, Searches are not a survey. You (and your legal team) will ask the seller questions about other aspects or the property as part of the conveyancing process. You can also find out a lot by visiting the area, walking around, chatting to people in the community. All this investigating is worth carrying out. However, there are a number of things you won’t find out from your survey, or from asking questions, either from the seller or other people in the community. This is where searches come in.

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What sort of things do searches cover?

Searches cover a wide range of issues. Carrying out searches is the best way of obtaining information from the official organisations in charge of various matters that will affect your property. These things could include:

  • Whether the road that the property uses for access is a publicly adopted highway

If the road is not ‘publicly adopted’, and is a private road, you may be responsible for the costs, or a share of the costs of keeping the road in a good state of repair

  • Water and drainage search

Even in the 21st century, many properties aren’t connected to mains water or drainage – you’ll want to know this, and equally, what the provision is for your water supply and waste water and sewerage. This search can also reveal if there are any water pipes running under your property – important as it can affect any building work you might be planning, such as an extension.

  • Environmental issues such as fracking, mining or brine pumping

Environmental searches are increasingly important. The results of these searches will tell you if the property you are planning to buy is an area affected by contaminated land, or perhaps is close to an area where a fracking licence has been granted. Old mines in the area can be just as much of a risk to the stability of your home as new operations, potentially causing subsidence and other problems.

  • The existence of any planning permissions or other issues

Local searches will reveal matters such as whether there is planning permission to develop land or other properties close to your potential new home. They will show if the property is in a conservation area – which could affect work you’d like to do to the property, or whether you will be prevented from cutting down trees in your garden because of a tree preservation order.

  • Flood risk searches

Flooding seems to have become common place in certain parts of the UK in recent years. You will want to weigh up the risk of buying a home in an area where there is a flood risk, not least because it may have an impact on insurance premiums.

  • Chancel Liability Search

No, it’s not the Middle Ages – in some areas, there may still be a residual obligation to make payments to maintain your local church.

  • Land Registry Search

It might sound obvious, but you need to be sure that the person who says they are selling the property is the owner. A Land Registry search will reveal who actually owns the property and whether there are any problems with this.

surveys conveyancing dezrezlegal

Aren’t these things included in the survey?

The short answer is ‘no’! If you’re buying a home with a mortgage, your mortgage company will carry out a valuation survey which is simply for the mortgage company to know that the property is worth the money you intend to pay for it. As conveyancing specialists, here at Dezrezlegal, we also advise home buyers to obtain a structural survey which will flag up any issues with the property itself – whether there is damp, a problem with wood work or the roof, that sort of thing. Neither the mortgage valuation survey nor the structural survey will look at the wider picture. However, your mortgage company will almost certainly make it a condition of the mortgage that you carry out searches.

Even if you are buying the property without a mortgage, searches are an important step to take to protect your investment.  Unless you have extensive knowledge of the property and area we would always advise you to have searches carried out. Purchasing a property is a big financial decision, and you should take the opportunity to protect yourself from any of the issues that searches are designed to reveal.

How do I go about getting the right searches?

If all this seems like a lot to handle, relax. Your legal team will carry out searches on your behalf as part of the conveyancing process. Given the importance of the information revealed by the searches, it’s worth getting it right. Not all searches are created equal. There are a number of companies that offer searches and we at Dezrezlegal have extensively researched search providers and work with those that deliver the most accurate and comprehensive results. This means our clients have the peace of mind they need before completing their purchase and moving in.

What happens once the search results are in?

Once we have the search results, we will send them on to you and highlight any areas which could cause you problems or affect the future value of the property you are about to buy. You may want to ask more questions from the seller to see if they have any more information about certain matters before going ahead. You might need to investigate whether the answers are likely to affect things like insurance premiums, and consider if you will be restricted in future, for example from building an extension. Ultimately, the results of the searches could mean you decide to withdraw from the purchase – but given that it’s such an important investment, such a financial commitment, it’s better to do this rather than to buy without knowing about the issues that affect the property.

If you have any questions about the searches that need to be carried out in relation to the property you are thinking of buying, or if you’d like to know more about Dezrezlegals’ specialist conveyancing service, get in touch!

Talk to our team about Searches


Telephone: 0845 465 33 33

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