Your solicitor will perform property searches (also known as conveyancing searches) to learn more details about a property you want to buy. Your conveyancer will conduct a variety of ‘searches’ as part of the house-buying process, including with local authorities and other parties.
The most common searches when purchasing a home include:
- Local Authority
- Water and Property
Typically, they ask questions regarding whether planning permission for future development that would damage your property may be granted, the quality of the ground on which your home is built, or standard drains and access rights.
Before you exchange contracts and legally commit yourself to purchase the property, conveyancing searches should be completed and authorized. They may disclose planning or structural difficulties that might either decrease the value of the property or necessitate additional expenditures later on.
How long do Conveyancing Searches take?
There are more than 340 local governments in the United Kingdom, and each has its own search policy. Turnaround time may vary from 48 hours to several weeks depending on the jurisdiction.
Because search results from your local authority are returned in a variety of ways, the quality and nature of your local searches may vary. If you get your search results through an online portal or email, for example, this will be considerably faster than by post.
Many local governments have just a few individuals working in the Land Charges departments, so it might take longer for them to provide your search results during peak hours.
Local Authority Searches
A local authority search is one of the key conveyancing searches that will provide you with comprehensive information about your property and the surrounding areas. Before making a big investment like purchasing a home, it is vital to conduct thorough research. This will provide you with peace of mind before committing to buy your new property and guarantee that you don’t run into any unpleasant surprises afterwards.
A local authority search consists of two parts: an LLC1 result and a CON29 result.
The LLC1 results contain information about the property regarding:
- Whether a listed building
- If the property is located in a conservation area
- Whether it is situated in a tree preservation order area
- If the property needs an improvement or renovation grant
- Whether it is in a smoke control area
CON29 assesses any future development plans that may have an impact on your home. The CON29 results are split into two categories (required and optional). The following will be revealed within its results:
- New road and transportation projects
- Contaminated land
- Future planning permission
- Building regulations
The CON29 form may be used to collect additional information from time to time. Road plans by private organizations, completion notifications, land maintenance notices, and environmental and pollution warnings are some examples. Essentially, the CON29 form will protect you from potential changes that may affect your property purchase.
Water, drainage and other property searches
For certain properties is it recommended that information is requested from the local water company. This is to ensure the sewers, draining and piping connected to the property are supplied by the company. Your conveyancer can then complete the water and drainage conveyancing searches which will assess how close the property is to public sewers, as well as if the sewer runs near the boundaries of the property.
Any potential environmental risks associated with the property are highlighted within the environmental conveyancing searches. These findings may be influenced by previous use of the property or nearby land. Within the search, the results will highlight issues such as:
- Landfills or waste sites
- Risk of flooding
Certain other searches could be recommended by your conveyancer depending on the type of property you are purchasing. Factors such as the age of the property, the local governing body and the area of the property may influence the necessity of certain additional searches.
The Commons Registration Act 1965 determines that any property bordering common land, village green or is in a rural area is recommended to have this search completed. This is also required when purchasing agricultural land.
The purpose of a mining search is to assess whether a history of mining is included in the properties history. Factors affecting the stability of the property is important information for the favour of the mortgage lender.
Under the circumstances when dealing with unregistered land, any bankruptcy proceedings associated with the owner of the land will be highlighted. There will also be details regarding restrictions associated with the land, mortgages and estate contracts.
Chancel repair liability
Certain properties are liable for chancel repair payments. Parochial church councils were requested to provide details of all land that is bound to pay chancel repair liability. This information is held by the Land Registry and can be accessed by your conveyancing solicitor. If you buy a property within the parishes of the church, it is worth completing the search as you may be able to purchase indemnity insurance and save money in liability payments.
When purchasing a property, conveyancing searches may reveal information that you did not anticipate receiving. For many properties, there is a long history associated with the land and previous owners. Certain findings of conveyancing searches will have different implications that should be discussed with your conveyancer and specific experts. The results of certain conveyancing searches don’t always need to influence the purchase of your property but it is important to take all results into account.
To work alongside a competent and experienced solicitor, consider My Conveyancing Specialist. Our conveyancers are able to complete all the necessary conveyancing searches and provide expert advice to help you complete the purchase process.
Complete your free online conveyancing quote today to get started with hassle-free and convenient conveyancing.