We are often asked, ‘What searches are necessary when buying a house in the UK?’
When you are purchasing a property in England or Wales (especially where you are doing so with the assistance of a mortgage) there are a number of searches that generally need to be carried out.
1. Local Authority Search
This will reveal any planning consents granted or refused, along with building regulations approvals for work carried out at the property you are buying. It will provide confirmation as to whether or not the roads and footpaths fronting the property form part of the adopted public highway or if they are private, and whether there are outstanding notices or enforcement actions or compulsory purchase orders affecting the property. The search will also reveal whether or not the property is a listed building, or if it is situated within a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty, or in any other area where there might be stricter planning control.
2. Drainage & Water Search
This search will confirm whether or not the property you are purchasing is connected to mains drainage and water and whether the property is served by a water meter or if charges are based on the rateable value. It will also include plans which show the route of the nearest mains water and sewage pipes as known by the water company.
3. Environmental Search
This search provides information regarding the land on which the property is built and land in the immediate vicinity. For example, it will reveal if there is any potential risk of flooding, ground instability, historic mining activity, or the potential risk of contamination as a result of the historic use of the land, such as a garage/filling station or something similar. The search would also show if there are any proposed solar farms or wind turbines in the vicinity.
4. Other Searches
If the Environmental Search reveals any risk of flooding or historic mining, we can obtain a Flood Report or a Mining Search which will provide further information. Buyers can also opt for a Planning Report which would give details of planning applications in the vicinity of the property, particularly if they are concerned about possible development of nearby land.
If you instruct us to deal with your transaction and would like further information on what searches are necessary when buying a house in the UK then our experienced conveyancers will be very happy to answer any questions you have.