A short while ago we talked about what a conveyancing solicitor is, and how to choose the best one for you. This time we are taking a closer look at part of the role that they do for you during the house-buying process which is house searches. 

Searches are an essential part of the process when buying a home. They look for potential problems that may affect the value of your home once you own it, making them an important stage in the process. Searches can vary depending on what you are buying and where, but normally they include:

  • Local Authority Searches - Look at any information that the local authority has on that property already, and if there is any planning permission or restrictions already in place. They will also look at the areas surrounding the property like paths, roads or land and see who is responsible for maintaining these.
  • Land Registry Searches - This is to check that the developer or person who is selling you the house owns the land that it is on and that they are able to sell you that property.
  • Environmental Searches - The clue is in the name! This search looks at the environment where your new home is. This may be to do with how at-risk you are for flooding, or if the land is contaminated at all from previous use (such as being an old landfill site). This is to make sure you are not at risk of any health hazards or that there is an issue that will mean you face problems when you come to sell the property later down the road. 
  • Water Authority Searches - This one looks at how water comes in, and is drained from your property. It will also check if there are any public drains on your land which may be a problem if you plan to extend on your property. 
  • Location Specific Searches - This is down to the area you are in. For example, if you are looking at a property in or near an old mining town there may be additional searches to ensure this will not cause any problems for your property.

These searches can take a lot of time, and usually, you will need to just let the solicitors get on with them as they will be waiting for information requests back. 

This can feel like a bit of time in limbo, but once you have these back then you know that you have peace of mind that no big problems will crop up once you’ve completed the purchase.While you’re waiting for your searches to come back, you could make a start on your packing, start your list of who to contact when you move, and brush up on the exchange process.