What Are Conveyancing Searches?
Conveyancing searches are highly recommended. They can tell you a lot of information about a property which is essential when making such a large financial purchase and/or investment.
A property purchase is likely to be most people's biggest financial decision that you will ever make. Therefore, making sure there are no hidden surprises is key.
Today we will be going over exactly what a conveyancing search is, what it involves, and what information you should expect to find out through your conveyancing searches - so read on to find out more information.
What Is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal part of buying property, referring to the legal transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. The main stages of conveyancing are the exchange of contracts and the completion.
You will have a conveyancing solicitor to help guide you through the process and help you at every step. This is extremely beneficial as conveyancing solicitors are experts in their field and they know all the ins and outs of the legal side of property transfer.
Along the way, the conveyancing process involves raising enquiries, reviewing contracts and various conveyancing searches too to help to check everything is in order.
What Are Conveyancing Searches?
Conveyancing searches are also known as property searches. These searches enquire the public authorities to give you more information on the house or property you wish to buy, working alongside the local authority and other parties.
Conveyancing searches aim to identify if the property has any potential risks or problems that could occur. This includes looking at the structure of the building, planning restrictions and environmental issues that the property could be situated in.
The searches are conducted before your purchase of the property and contracts are exchanged. This helps you become aware of potential issues and for the mortgage provider's benefit too.
Mortgage lenders will be the ones lending you the money for your home, so it is in their best interests to find out about any risks or issues too.
How Long Do Conveyancing Searches Take?
Roughly, conveyancing searches can take around two to three weeks - but this is fully dependent on whatever the searches may bring up and highlight to your conveyancing solicitor. This may result in a pause in the process.
In total, there are over 340 local authorities in the UK, all managed differently across the country so therefore the searches are managed differently too. The turnaround time for conveyancing searches could potentially differ depending on the area.
Remember the length of the time will vary depending on the results of the search. It could be that you get the results in as little as 48 hours, or it could stretch to several weeks.
Do I Need to Have a Conveyancing Search Done?
If you intend on taking out a mortgage, then in most cases, a mortgage lender will require a conveyancing search to be done on the property. This is because they are essentially securing the debt you will owe to them against the property. Only when the necessary searches have been completed will your mortgage application be approved.
If you are a cash buyer however and do not intend on taking out a mortgage, then conveyancing searches are not compulsory. In this instance, the decision will be up to you whether you want the searches done and whether you wish to take that risk.
It is always advised and highly recommended to have the appropriate searches done - failing to do so is a seriously big risk, especially when there is a lot of money at stake. Down the line, you could find some unwanted nasty surprises and your property and money could be in danger.
Nothing is guaranteed with property, you should never take the property at face value or just from the initial description or photographs. There could always be hidden problems no matter how great it seems from the outset.
Conveyancing searches aim to highlight any problems before you commit to the purchase of the property. In a case where an issue does arise, you are in the best position to be able to deal with any issues, having them resolved or pulling out of the property sale altogether.
What Do Conveyancing Searches Look For?
Conveyancing searches are part of the home-buying process and the conveyancer carrying out the searches will carry out a variety of specific searches including the following:
- Local authority searches
- Environmental - including flooding risks
- Water and property
- Checking the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’
- Location-specific searches (optional) - this includes things such as mining
During this stage, you can check whether planning permission could be granted if future development plans on the property are what you intend on doing and how this would affect the property. This will include looking at the ground quality on which the property is built and access rights. Below we will go into more detail about these types of searches.
Local Authority Searches
This is an essential part of conveyancing searches and will tell you about the property itself and its surrounding areas.
Local authority searches include local land charges and register searches. This involves if the building is a listed building if the property has conditional planning permissions or things like if it is in some sort of conservation area.
Another part of the local authority search will be able to tell you the property planning history, its regulations and if there are any traffic schemes planned or contaminated land nearby.
Water and Property
A water and drainage search will include information on drains, sewer and piping, confirming whether they are maintained, and that the property is connected to all of these things. It will also highlight how the property is charged for the water supply.
Environmental searches identify whether the previous land use creates any risks, including if the property is on contaminated land, or near toxic waste and highlight if there is any risk of floods.
The title register searches will confirm with the Land Registry that the seller is the legal owner of the property. If so, this confirms that they are allowed to sell the property.
Title searches will confirm information about who currently owns the property, who previously owned it, how much the property was bought for along with if there are any debts tied up with the property.
Bell Lamb & Joynson
At Bell Lamb & Joynson we have a whole range of experience and expertise throughout all aspects of conveyancing. We have been helping people from all over the North West for many years with the conveyancing process, helping them make the experience go as smoothly as possible.
We can help you with conveyancing searches and be by your side throughout your property-purchase journey. There are many conveyancing searches that we can do which may or may not be needed, depending on the type of property you are wishing to purchase.
Get in contact with us today for some help and guidance. We can advise you on what searches would be best and most beneficial for you and we can also give you an upfront quote on our conveyancing costs. No hidden fees or surprises, just get in touch to find out more. All our contact details can be found on our website.