Conveyancing Searches

Conveyancing Searches: what every Homebuyer needs to know


The process of purchasing a property puts the onus on the buyer to ensure they have carried out all their investigations prior to exchange of contracts and completion to ensure that they are satisfied with the property and any risks associated with that property. Once you have completed the purchase of a property, any issues arising in relation to it are for you, as the buyer, to deal with.

We therefore strongly recommend, even if you are a cash purchaser, that you do take all the searches offered to you during the process. As a minimum, particularly if you are taking mortgage financing, you will be expected to obtain a number of searches.

Understanding Searches

To help you understand each search, we have listed below what to expect.

Local Authority Search – this is a search reveals things such as:

  • Planning permissions granted for the property and any outstanding planning matters including enforcement notices;
  • Building regulation certificates granted for the property;
  • Information about the road the property is located on, such as whether it is adopted;
  • Whether there is any compulsory purchase order attached to the property;
  • Whether the property is affected by a Tree Preservation Order;
  • Whether the property is a listed building or located in a conservation area;
  • Whether any public right of way affects the property;
  • Any Community Infrastructure Levy affecting the property.

Drainage and Water Search – this search confirms whether the property is connected to the public sewer and mains water.

Environmental Search – this search provides information about potential:

  • Contaminated land;
  • Flooding;
  • Energy and Infrastructure issues;
  • Ground instability;
  • Radon;
  • Other Influential Factors.

The location of the property may dictate that other searches, such as a coal mining search, may be appropriate.  The above searches may also recommend further searches, such as a Ground Stability Report or Flooding Report which your lawyer will advise you on further. There are also optional searches such as a PlanSearch which reveals any existing planning applications or planning permissions within a certain radius of the property, which you may wish to consider if you have any concerns or you are interested about the locality within which you are purchasing and again, your lawyer can discuss this with you during the process.

Should I purchase all the searches my property lawyer suggests?

We believe it is very important to carry out as many investigations as possible including searches, survey, personal inspection and carefully reviewing the legal paperwork.  If you require further advice about searches or any other matter during your purchase please do contact your lawyer who will be pleased to discuss these with you further.

How Pinney Talfourd can help

Our specialist Residential Property team are here to guide you through the conveyancing process, offering you the best advice to suit your specific needs. If you wish to discuss this topic further, please do not hesitate to contact Anica Holderness. Alternatively, you can contact any member of our Residential Property team.

The above is meant to be only advice and is correct as of the time of posting. This article was written by Anica Holderness, Senior Associate in the Residential Property Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of January 2024.



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