What are Conveyancing Searches?

Conveyancing searches are carried out by the conveyancer on behalf of the buyer. The purpose of these searches is essentially for the home buyer to find out as much about the property as possible. They provide crucial information about the property, that might not be found otherwise, and many buyers feel compelled to find out as much as they can about the property they are purchasing.

After the contract is signed, the buyer in essence is agreeing to take on the property in the current condition. Sellers have a limited duty of disclosure, so the obligation is on the buyer to investigate the property. Information about the property will be provided by the conveyancing searches as well as the pre-contract enquiries, which are asked of the seller.

The enquiries are submitted to several authorities, including the local authority, water authority and the environmental agency. This provides integral information about the property being purchased, including locations of drains or pipes, or the possibility of the building being built near a mine shaft, etc.

Conveyancing searches include:

  • Local Authority Search: Checks for any planned construction around the property
  • Water Authority Search: Provides essential information about drains and pipes in and around the property
  • Environmental Search: Checks for contaminated land, landfills, former industrial sites and other potential hazards
  • Land Registry Check: This is compulsory by law and ensures that the seller is the legal landowner of the property
  • Flood Risk Check: Informs the buyer of whether the property is at risk from flooding
  • Chancel Repair Search: If the land you’re a buying a property on is subject to chancel repair, you will be legally obligated to contribute towards repairs to the chancel, which is the space in a church around the altar. This search will determine your liability and you will be advised by your conveyancer on whether to take out Chancel Liability Insurance.
  • Other Searches: Every property is different and depending on the location of the property, other searches may be carried out. These can include Coal Mine Searches as well as additional questions asked by the local authority such as public footpaths, common land, etc.

Will you need conveyancing searches?

If you are purchasing a property with a mortgage, conveyancing searches are mandatory. Mortgage lenders require conveyancing searches to provide crucial information about the property being purchased. However, if you are a cash buyer purchasing a property, you are not technically required to complete searches, but it is recommended to find out as much information as possible on such a large and important expense.

What are conveyancing searches?
What are conveyancing searches?