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Conveyancing searches

What to ask for conveyancing searches

Upon receiving the results of your property searches, ensuring you possess comprehensive information is pivotal for making a well-informed decision about your property purchase.

Understanding Conveyancing Searches

Conveyancing searches, sometimes referred to as property searches, are inquiries initiated by your conveyancing solicitor to gather essential information about a property you intend to purchase. They collaborate with the Local Authority and other relevant entities to acquire the necessary data.

The primary searches conducted when buying a property encompass:

1. **Local Authority Search**

2. **Water and Property Search**

3. **Environmental Search**

These searches yield results before the contract exchange stage, as withdrawing from the purchase becomes challenging after this point.

Key Inquiries to Make Regarding Your Conveyancing Search

While your conveyancing solicitor will guide you through the findings of their searches, there are critical aspects you should ensure to explore. If these details are not readily available from the initial searches, be proactive in seeking the following information:

1. **Future Building Developments** – Inquire whether any upcoming construction projects near the property could impact your decision to buy. Conveyancing searches may not always reveal future local developments, which could affect the property’s appeal or potential resale value. For example, large housing estates or major road/rail projects might be in the pipeline without finalized planning permission, making them absent from the searches. Check with your conveyancer to access this information through the Local Plan and assess the area’s anticipated changes over the next five years. Additionally, consider consulting neighbors about their renovation plans, as this could also influence the property’s desirability.

2. **Flooding Risk** – Given the increasing concern over climate change, it’s essential to obtain an accurate assessment of flood risks. Even if the search results indicate a low risk, it’s wise to cross-reference with neighbors regarding past flood incidents or consult local newspapers for winter reports. Your property might not be prone to flooding, but adjacent routes could be susceptible to blockages.

3. **Contamination Issues** – Contamination from substances like Radon can jeopardize a home’s safety and value. Ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect you if such contamination is detected in the search results. It need not necessarily derail your purchase, but it’s crucial to understand the implications.

4. **Drainage Information** – If you plan to extend your property, you may require permission from the water company to build over their drains or relocate their infrastructure. Your search could provide insights into the feasibility of such modifications and highlight any drainage issues, especially if you have an access point or manhole cover on your property.

5. **Subsidence Concerns** – Subsidence can significantly impact a building’s structural integrity. Even after remediation through underpinning, it can devalue the property and lead to higher insurance premiums. Ensure that your searches have identified any potential causes of subsidence or past occurrences.

6. **Access Arrangements** – Investigate whether any unexpected access rights exist on your property. For instance, will people be passing by your kitchen window, or is there shared driveway access? Address any concerns related to such arrangements upon receiving your search results.

7. **Additional Bills** – Be aware of any additional expenses associated with the property, such as chancel repair bills, which contribute to the maintenance of a local church or its grounds. Verify if your search has identified all financial obligations linked to the property.

Key inquiries to pose to your conveyancer when receiving search results include, “What information is not covered by these results?” and “What other essential details should I be aware of?” Always request written documentation to preserve evidence of the findings in case of future contingencies.

Useful Insights About Searches

You are responsible for the cost of these searches, and it’s your prerogative to decide which ones to conduct. You can opt for a comprehensive package or individual searches based on your needs.

Your conveyancing firm will typically advise you on the appropriate searches to perform, drawing from their knowledge of the local area’s specific issues. For example, regions may have distinct flood risks, or certain areas might have previously housed industrial sites with potential contamination concerns.

Upon receiving the search results, most reports provide:

a. **A summary of identified issues**

b. **A traffic light system to emphasize the significance of these issues**

Remember, your conveyancer will walk you through the results and offer advice if any concerns arise. Receiving the results of property searches before exchanging contracts with the seller is your final opportunity to make an informed decision about your property purchase. While major issues are unlikely to surface, it’s crucial to engage in thorough questioning and gather as much information as possible to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the home you intend to acquire

To start your conveyancing journey, get your instant quote here with GD Property Solicitors

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