Property Searches – What are they and why do I need them?

Property Searches – What are they and why do I need them?

As a buyer of a residential property, you are most probably aware that as part of the conveyancing process, you will need to carry out pre-exchange property searches and you might be wondering what they are and why you need them.

The three main searches which you are required to carry out, if you are purchasing the property with the assistance of a mortgage, are:

  1. Local Search – reveals information regarding highways, building control, planning decisions, outstanding statutory notices, pollution, and whether the property is subject to a tree preservation order. In addition, the search will also confirm whether the property is in a conservation area, compulsory purchase area or radon gas affected area.
  2. Drainage and Water Report – provides information regarding the water flow to and from the property such as if the property is connected to mains water, mains drainage, surface water, proposed adoption of sewers. The search goes on to also reveal the presence of any public sewers located on/or around the property which is important should you consider any structural changes to the property in the future.
  3. The environmental search provides information concerning flood risk and landfill (which can dramatically affect the value of a property) land contamination (a homeowner can find themselves liable for clean-up costs which can run into thousands of pounds if a property is found to be on contaminated land).  In additional the search will also provide information on flood risk, ground stability and other environmental factors such as whether the property is located within a coal mining area or nearby wind farms

As these searches provide valuable information which allows you to have a greater understanding of the property before you commit to the purchase, we would always recommend these searches are carried out as part of the conveyancing process, even if you are a cash buyer.

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