Table of Contents Hide
- What Are Property Searches?
- What Searches Are Done By Solicitors When Buying A House In The UK?
- How Long Do Searches Take When Buying A House?
- Cost Of Conveyance Searches
- What Happens After Searches Are Done When Buying A House?
- How long does it take to exchange after searches?
- Are searches necessary when buying a house?
- Does the seller get a copy of the survey?
- What happens after searches and Enquiries?
- Related Articles
Before purchasing a house or a new property, it’s important to carry out the various necessary conveyance searches with the help of a solicitor. Solicitor searches are done to help you find out if there are any problems you need to be aware of before taking full possession of a new house. They are also lenders’ requirements, they will want to be confident that there are no issues that could negatively impact the value of your home before they provide you with a loan. In this post, we’ll talk about the searches that solicitors conduct when buying a home in the UK and what happens next.
What Are Property Searches?
Inquiries about a home you want to buy in the UK are known as property searches, also known as conveyancing searches, by solicitors. The conveyancing procedure will include several searches with the local authorities and other parties. They typically include information on issues such as whether or not planning permission will be given for a future development that will have a negative impact on your property, the quality of the ground on which your house is built, and the location of communal drains and access rights. Inquiries have to be completed and approved before you can legally affect the purchase of the property by exchanging contracts and signing the purchase agreement. This is because the searches reveal planning or structural flaws that could adversely affect the value of the property or result in additional costs in the future.
What Searches Are Done By Solicitors When Buying A House In The UK?
When buying a house in the UK, the searches by solicitors you’ll need will vary depending on its location. This is because the majority of searches will be carried out in that location, and a knowledgeable local solicitor or conveyancer can advise you on which searches are necessary.
In general, everybody buying a house conducts three types of searches. The following are the different types of searches:
The most important type of search that your solicitor must conduct is probably a local authority search because it involves looking up information about the property that the local authority has on file, such as potential planning permission or restrictions. They will also show who is accountable for maintaining the property’s roads and walks. Local authority searches can take anywhere from one to six weeks and cost anywhere from £70 to £400, depending on whose authority your house is in.
The following are Searches by local authorities:
- Planning problems
- Building control issues
- Highways issues
- Railway schemes
- Pollution issues
- If the house is on the National Register of Historic Places, or in a conservation area.
They’re intended to reveal any potential concerns with roads, trains, and construction work that may be planned or already happening in the vicinity of your ideal home.
#2. Environmental Searches
An environmental search is essential to confirm if the property is built on or near hazardous land, water, or an old landfill. This kind of investigation may be essential to your lender before they will provide you with a mortgage. Since many buildings are built on land that was formerly used for industrial reasons, harmful substances may survive on the earth, and this form of search is essential. If these aren’t discovered before you take possession of the property, you may end up with a building that is difficult to sell or, worse still, a health danger. An environmental search should also reveal if there’s a possibility of flooding.
The following are environmental searches undergone when buying a house:
- Flooding issues
- Landslide issues
- Contaminated land issues
- Potential subsidence issues
#3. Water And Drainage Search
A water authority search will reveal your water source and any public drains on your property. If there is one, it may hinder future building work, such as an extension.
The following are checks for water and drainage:
- Firstly, Public water and sewer systems are available to the residence
- Secondly, Where the public sewage and drainage pipes are
- Thirdly, If you require water company authorization to extend your home,
This search will also show you if the water is metered or rated.
#4. The Land Registry Search
A legal document proving that the property seller is the legal owner of the asset you are purchasing will be required by your solicitor. They achieve this basically by examining the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ at the Land Registry, which are both public records. These inspections, which cost approximately £3 each, are legally necessary in order for the sale to proceed.
Your solicitor will next register you as the property’s owner, ensuring that you have sole ownership rights.
#5. Chancel Repair Search
Houses erected near a local church used to be required to contribute to the church’s upkeep. This was known as a chancel repair obligation, and it still exists in some older buildings in some areas of the country. A chancel repair search is meant to determine whether you will be responsible for the expense of parish church repairs. Under a change in the law in October 2013, the church must now establish and lodge liability with the Land Registry, but the church can still hold a property owner accountable for repairs even if the liability hasn’t been registered in certain instances. A Chancel repair search is inexpensive, and you can save money by purchasing Chancel Repair Insurance, which normally costs around £30.
#6. Coal Mining And Brine Search
Interestingly, this is a simple search because UK mines are well-mapped, and it is frequently sold in conjunction with a subsidence search. Mining is a problem that frequently affects Cornwall and Nottingham. The search checks to see if there is an issue with the land the property is on, such as if other locations nearby have filed claims. If a specific issue has been detected, additional reports may be essential to determine the scope of the issue and what needs to be done to mitigate the risk or protect you from it.
How Long Do Searches Take When Buying A House?
In general, searches take one to three weeks to complete, but keep in mind that the results may encourage your solicitor to conduct more inquiries.
Conveyancing searches are difficult to time since they depend on your solicitor, the property location, the searches necessary, and how long external bodies take to provide information. Some councils reply immediately, while others take weeks.
Keeping in touch with your solicitor on a frequent basis is often the best method to reduce the time it takes for searches to come to completion. This way, you can check that they have submitted all appropriate requests and that they follow up if there are any delays.
Must I Conduct Searches Before Buying A House?
Searches are necessary when buying a house with a mortgage. Banks and building societies want to make sure the house you’re borrowing money for is in good condition. However, if you’re a cash buyer (i.e., you don’t need a loan), searches aren’t necessary.
Even if you don’t need a mortgage, your solicitor will recommend searches. Believe us, you don’t want unpleasant shocks after moving in.
Cost Of Conveyance Searches
The cost of searches varies from one council to the next. You should expect to pay roughly £250–300 for the local authority’s environmental and water searches. The cost of a Land Registry search is between £4 and £8.
The following is a rough estimation of search costs:
|Local Authority search
|£50 – £250
|Water and Drainage Search
|£50 – £100
|£25 – £60
|Flood risk indicator
|£2 per person
What Happens After Searches Are Done When Buying A House?
Basically, what happens when buying a house is that you’ll receive a full report from your solicitor after they have completed the searches; outlining any possible issues you need to be aware of. Potential dangers include flooding and subsidence in the vicinity; a local authority’s planned infrastructure work that could impact the house; and any compulsory buying or enforcement orders or notices.
You may be able to get a lower price for the property using the results of the searches, for instance, if you find out that the house has a private drainage system that needs to be maintained.
If the searches are satisfactory to both you and your mortgage lender, then the transaction can proceed to the exchange of contracts.
Exchange Of Contracts Delays
Things that can cause a delay in contract exchange include:
- Awaiting responses to pre-contract inquiries and conveyance searches
- Problems with the loan offer
- Hesitation on the part of the buyer or seller
- Solicitors who are slow
- Delays with signing the property over
- Drawing down mortgage finance
Buying a house in the UK can be time-consuming and stressful, but in any case, it’s critical to conduct conveyance searches, especially if you’re applying for a mortgage. It could save you a lot of time and money once you’ve purchased the property, as well as provide you with peace of mind knowing that the property is safe from harm. You don’t have to do it yourself, solicitors are always willing to assist you with these searches, but you will need to be patient with the solicitor as searches may take some time before completion.
How long does it take to exchange after searches?
The time between conveyancing searches and the exchange of contracts is typically between 1 and 3 weeks. This happens after searches have been done when buying a house
Are searches necessary when buying a house?
Whilst searches are essential if you are purchasing with the aid of a mortgage, they are not mandatory if you are a cash purchaser, as it is your own funds that will be at risk and not a mortgage lender’s, so it is your decision. But remember, lenders ask for searches for a reason: to protect their investment
Does the seller get a copy of the survey?
A seller doesn’t have any right to see a copy of reports unless the buyer chooses to disclose them.
What happens after searches and Enquiries?
With regards to what happens after searches are done when buying a house, you will receive a full report from your solicitor after they have completed the searches, outlining any possible issues you need to be aware of. If the searches are satisfactory to both you and your mortgage lender, then the transaction can proceed to the exchange of contracts