What searches do I need?

My solicitor has asked me what searches I would like him to carry out with regards to the house I am buying. What do I need?

My solicitor has asked me what searches I would like him to carry out with regards to the house I am buying. What do I need?

Your solicitor will advise you which searches are appropriate. He or she will need a plan from the seller's solicitor before sending off for the searches. You might have to pay for the searches up front. The most important search is the local authority search. This will reveal information about local matters, such as planning, building regulations, grants, tree preservation orders, roads, conservation areas, radon gas and public footpaths. If you are having a mortgage then your lender will require your solicitor to apply for all appropriate searches to ensure that no adverse matters exist.

He also mentioned a water search, what will that reveal?

A water search is also essential. The result will reveal whether or not the property is connected to the mains water and public sewer and the location of the mains pipes and sewers (but not the privately owned connecting pipes).

I believe that there are some optional searches, are these worthwhile?

An “enviro” search is useful if the property could be in an area where there is contamination or in a flood zone. A “plan search” will reveal planning applications within a certain radius of the property.

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Do the searches vary from area to area?

If you are buying a property in a village then a commons search is needed to see if any part of the land (or land giving access to the property) is registered as common or village green. If the property is in the north of England then a coal mining search will be necessary. For properties in Cornwall or Devon, a tin and a clay mining search is needed. Chancel repair liability searches are necessary if the property is in the vicinity of an ancient parish church.

Will I see the search results?

Your solicitor will need to check the search results before you can exchange contracts and he or she will let you know if the results reveal any issues which require investigation.