Why property searches are an essential part of the conveyancing process

If you are about to purchase a property or are in the process of doing so, you may have come across references to property searches. So, what are they and why are they important in the conveyancing process?
When buying a house or flat you will be looking to the future, and naturally, you will want to know whether there is anything which could affect the value of your investment or your enjoyment of the property in the future. This is where searches come into play.

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Are searches compulsory?

If you are taking out a mortgage to finance your purchase, the lender will insist on certain searches being carried out. Typically, these will include a search of HM Land Registry to establish ownership, local authority searches, and environmental, water and drainage searches. Depending on where the property is located, they may also ask for other searches.

If you are buying without a mortgage, property searches are not compulsory or legally required, but should be carried out to inform you about the property before buying.

Who carries out the searches?

Your solicitor or conveyancer will carry out the searches on your behalf. If you are buying property in London and looking for conveyancing solicitors London, you will find plenty of options online, including property specialists such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/Conveyancing-Solicitors/conveyancing-solicitors-london.

Searches are strongly recommended, and even if you are not using a lender to finance the purchase, it is important not to cut corners and try to save money by skimping on searches. It could end up costing you thousands of pounds if you discover later that you cannot insure the property because of its flooding history or subsidence due to mining in the area. The house could even be built on contaminated land.

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There could be a debt attached to the house which you could become responsible for if it is not discharged before you buy. Or, there may be plans approved for a major development such as a wind farm or a new transport system close by which could seriously affect the value of your investment.

These are not scary stories, but the actual reality of buying property, which will probably be the largest investment of your lifetime.

Which searches do you need and when should you get them done?

Regardless of further search requirements, the basic searches which you should carry out are local authority searches and environmental searches, along with water and drainage searches. These are the minimum that you should ask for.

These searches should be done by your advisor as soon as possible in the conveyancing process after your offer has been accepted. Other specific searches may be ordered later.

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