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What are property searches and why do you need them?

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When you are purchasing a residential property, you will need searches carried out on the property.

These are essential as they can help identify any previous planning permissions or building regulations which apply for the property. It can help identify protected trees in the area, trees/branches which you are not able to cut down. You may have plans for alternations to the property under permitted development but only to find you are unable to as the property it in a conservation area.

What are the Searches?

The main searches that are carried out:

Local Search- These are search results which come directly from the local council. The local councils will provide all the information they hold regarding the property, including planning permissions or building regulations. The local search results will also show whether the roads are adopted and who is responsible for maintaining them. The local search is usually a the longest to return out of all the searches.

Environmental search- These will help establish whether the property is built on or near contaminated land, old landfill sites or near water. A mortgage lender will always be interested to see that the environmental search has passed. The lender will want to ensure the property is free from previous or current hazardous use. The lender will want to ensure their security is protected as if something is discovered at a later date it can affect the property value when you come to sell it. The environmental search will also show whether if the property is at risk of flooding and will provide information on energy and infrastructure which may affect the property such as the HS2, solar and wind farms.

Water authority search- This search establishes whether the water that comes to and from the property is connected to the public drains. This search will also indicate if there are any drains or pipes running through any part of the property

Flood risk report- The flood risk report will provide a risk assessment from all four types of flooding (river, coastal, ground water and surface water)

Some additional searches may also be obtained depending on the area where you are purchasing the property.  For example, if you are buying where the area was previously used for mining then an additional mining report will be required to be ordered.

The searches take around 2-3 weeks to be returned once ordered, with the local search usually taking the longest to be returned. Although time scales can depend on the local councils that will carry out the searches and the location of the property.

Our Conveyancing team at Johnson Astills can assist you in you in your next purchase  and provide you with further information regarding any conveyancing queries. Please contact us at our Leicester Office or Loughborough Office on 0116 2554855 or 01509 610312