An In-Depth Look at Conveyancing Searches

A lot of home buyers, especially first-timers, are often baffled by conveyancing searches. They have often been that mysterious topic that you may also be in doubt of in terms of doing.

As it is, searches are a crucial part of the conveyancing process. They are basically enquiries made to various agencies and organisations to find out more about the property you intend to buy. These agencies include Local Authorities, the Environmental Agency, Mining and Water Authorities.

The Importance of Conveyancing Searches

If you’re buying in cash, you may choose not to have conveyancing searches done, but it’s not strongly encouraged.

Why? Because the information contained in the results of these conveyancing searches are significant to your living condition and the property itself.

If you’re buying the property with a mortgage, you are obligated to your lender to have these conveyancing searches done.

Some lenders may take an Indemnity Insurance, though, in lieu of searches. However, this has become less favourable as it only covers any value lost to the property or expenses that come out of something that could have been identified if a search was done. Indemnity Insurance policies do not generally prevent any action being taken and do not compensate anyone for the inconvenience.

What Conveyancing Searches Do You Need?

According to the Council for Mortgage Lenders, “all conveyancing searches a prudent solicitor would carry out” are required every time you’re buying a property. This then means that the searches needed vary on the location of the property. And whilst most searches are optional, it may still be best to have them done.

When your conveyancer starts working on these conveyancing searches, you can require or expect, at the very least, a satisfactory result from the Local Authority, a Drainage & Water search, an Environmental search and a Land Registry Priority search before completion.

What Do Conveyancing Searches Identify?

Have a look at the table below to have an idea what these conveyancing searches reveal and how much they cost on the average.

conveyancing searches

In addition, there are other optional conveyancing searches that your conveyancer needs to carry out:

Common Land Search (Commons Registration) – This search is usually made on land that has never been built on or which at one time may have belonged to a Lord of the Manor, a town or Village Green.

Chancel Repair Liability Search – This is carried out when the property is in a Church of England parish; and identifies your obligation to contribute to its repair and maintenance.

The Search Results

If the conveyancing searches reveal issues that could affect the property or your living condition when you move in and in the future, you may choose to negotiate the price wit h the seller. Alternatively, you may also arrange for an indemnity insurance to cover any issues if they occur. Your conveyancer is required under the law to obtain clear searches on your lender’s behalf, too.

Remember that if you or the seller backs out of the transaction after the conveyancing searches are carried out, the amount that your conveyancer covered on your behalf whilst in process will have to be settled. If you paid for them upfront, refunds may not be possible.

At times like this, you may also check out Search Protection Insurance policies to cover your expenses up to £300 if the transaction falls through under these circumstances that are not directly your fault.