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When looking to purchase a new property, you will most likely head online and make some enquiries about the properties you are interested in. This is done to help you decide whether or not the property you have in mind suits your needs, needs some changes, or forces you to look elsewhere.

You might also ask different authorities for more detailed information about the property in mind. This is known as conveyancing searches and is part of what is called a conveyancing process.

Conveyance Search

A conveyance search is a list of questions that are directed at a specific authority by your solicitor. This search consists of drainage searches, local authority searches, environmental searches, title searches, and more.

The goal of a conveyance search is to get more information about a specific property for whatever reason. For instance, such information can help you figure out whether you want to proceed with the transaction or stop the process and head on to a new property.

Such data can also tell you what is going to happen with not only the property but also the local area around it. This can help you decide whether any external factors may affect your property, giving you a chance to take out insurance or leave the transaction altogether.

Note that a conveyance search is not free, and all the searches done will be part of the total cost of purchasing the property. For instance, a local authority search can cost you anywhere between £60 to £200 or even slightly higher, while a drainage and water search can cost you up to £100.

1. Drainage and Water Search

A drainage and water search will bring you information regarding the property's sewer system. Like many of the searches below, the goal of a drainage and water search is to discover potential problems before it is too late.

In a drainage and water search, you will look for information regarding whether the property is connected to the public water supply system, the public sewage system, and how you will be charged for using the water.

2. Local Authority Searches

Part of the conveyance search is the local authority search. As the name implies, it lets you enquire with local authorities with two different types of searches: enquiries of the local authority and the local land charges register search.

Under the enquiries of the local authority, your search will provide you with information about the property's history about its planning, building regulations, and any upcoming plans for roadways near the structure.

As for the local land charges register search, this enquiry will tell you whether the property is located in a conservation area, in a smoke control area, whether the building is listed, and what conditional planning it may have.

While this is a lot of work today, note that if you are planning to secure a mortgage for the property, it will be a requirement that you complete local authority searches.

3. Title Searches

A title search will generally help you know whether the seller is the legitimate owner of the property and whether they are given permission to sell it. This way, you will not find yourself in a tricky situation where a non-owner has sold you property without permission, leading to various legal issues.

With that in mind, a title search consists of a few steps. It consists of you learning who owns the property, how much it was previously bought for, the location of the property, and who once owned it. It also includes figuring out whether the property still has any outstanding debts.

4. Environmental Searches

In this kind of search, your enquiries will revolve around the environment that surrounds the property. The goal of an environmental search is to uncover any hazards and potential issues the property may or may not encounter.

That being said, an environmental search will consist of enquiries regarding the historical use of the nearby land and learning whether there is a risk of flooding or subsidence. It will also include finding out whether there are any toxic and harmful wastes in the property's vicinity and whether there is a presence of dangerous gas.

5. Other searches

There are a few other searches that, while important, are not too commonly made. That is because they are generally situational.

For instance, a flood search will consist of figuring out whether the property is at risk of a flood. While this will not be important in many locations, properties that are near rivers or lakes or in an area with a history of flooding will need to undergo this search.

Another search is the mining search, which includes learning whether there has been any history of mining in the property’s vicinity. It tells you whether there are any risks the mining operation has brought to the property, such as subsidence. Once again, not every location will have been exposed to a nearby mining operation, but properties located near one will require this type of search.

Finally, another search you may have to do is a chancel repair search, which is done if there is a church near your property. In this search, you can learn whether you will be responsible for the church's upkeep, such as carrying out repairs and regular maintenance. Again, not all properties are near churches, and not all properties near a church will be responsible for the upkeep of the religious building.

Conclusion

With that out of the way, you may be wondering whether you will need a conveyance search done at all. This will all depend on many factors. For instance, if you are planning to buy a property with cash, then you will not have to consider a conveyance search as much. However, if you are planning to buy a property through a mortgage, you will need a conveyance search.

That being said, even if you pay for the property's cost all out of your pocket, it will still benefit you to carry out these conveyance searches. That is because, with them, you can uncover any hidden problems the seller may not have told you about. This information can give you the leverage needed to negotiate for a fairer price, figure out a solution to fix the problem, or give you the choice of backing out from the purchase altogether.

As such, we highly recommend that you go through conveyance searches as soon as you find a property you are interested in. That is because such a search will take time, and the faster you get your information, the quicker you can make that final decision.

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