Searches do exactly what you think they do. They are used in property transactions to ensure there are no hidden surprises that may cause concern to clients and their mortgage providers. There are many searches which are carried out by Solicitors, the main ones being:
Additionally, there are many other searches which you may wish to have undertaken, for example, a Planning Search which will reveal any planning applications for the area. This is particularly important if you are buying a house near open land which although may be unbuilt on at the time of your purchase, could have planning permission for a brand new development. This could ultimately put you off purchasing and could also mean that the lender is not prepared to lend as much on the property or even worse, not at all. If you do wish to have additional searches undertaken prior to exchange of contracts, speak to our expert Conveyancing Team who can advise you more specifically.
The majority of property transactions require searches to be carried out. This is because mortgage lenders require them. All mortgage lenders have rules which are set out in the Council of Mortgage Lenders Handbook (CML). One of their rules is that searches must be obtained (all the usual ones which include Coal or Brine searches if the property is in a specific area) and all the searches have to be dated within 6 months of the completion date.
Some lenders will make exceptions, but that is for your solicitor and lender to discuss. Even as a cash purchaser (i.e. you are not purchasing a property with the assistance of a mortgage searches should be undertaken. Solicitors are good at their jobs, however, no solicitor can advise you about the true risks of purchasing this dream property unless they have all of the facts. Unless searches are completed, it is impossible for us to advise you properly. You are not buying a can of beans; you are making one of the most expensive purchases of your life. So it’s essential that you get it right.
Searches cost anywhere between £170 - £320 and the cost of the searches are down to the providers which solicitors use. Having said this, the cost indications stated above are a small price to pay when you purchase a property, whether it is your home or an investment property. If by paying for searches, issues are revealed, those issues can be hopefully resolved within the transaction itself, potentially saving you money; this could be tens of thousands of pounds, which is always a bonus.
A good example of the positive impact of having a Local Authority search is when a seller is elderly and they have a stairlift at the property. You unfortunately, cannot assume that the stairlift is owned outright by the seller. There have been several instances where stairlifts are installed by the local authority, and they place a note on the local search to confirm there is a financial charge associated with it. Without having the search, you would not have known this, and you cannot always guarantee that a seller will remember how and at what cost it was installed.
Another important point to remember is that the Local Authority search will reveal whether the property has had any work carried out to it, for example, extensions, conservatories, new windows, new boilers, wood-burning stoves etc. A Local Authority Search is very useful when a seller does not have any documentation in relation to those works. The Local Authority search can be relied upon to confirm that said works carry the relevant planning permissions or building regulations. Just because a seller has lost or destroyed the documentation by mistake, does not mean that indemnity policies are required.
This is sometimes forgotten when undertaking legal work for clients. An indemnity policy cannot be used when a seller has merely lost paperwork. If there is an entry on the search, the works are compliant. If there are no entries and the seller has confirmed they have undertaken works, then further investigation will need to be undertaken by your solicitor to ascertain the position in more depth.If you would like specific advice on conveyancing searches or would like a FREE quote for our Conveyancing Services, please do not hesitate to get in touch:
Conveyancing Solicitors Newcastle: 0191 284 6989
Conveyancing Solicitors Sunderland: 0191 567 6667
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