What are Property Searches?

What Are Property Searches?

The process of gathering information about a property and its local area from various public records and authorities. These searches aim to uncover any issues or factors that may affect the property's value, use, or enjoyment, this helps the buyer make informed decisions and ensures transparency.

Why Are Property Searches Important?

Property searches serve several  purposes during the property transaction process:

1. Identifying Potential Risks: Searches reveal information about the property's legal and physical characteristics, as well as any potential risks or liabilities associated with it. This allows the buyer to assess whether the property meets their needs and expectations and whether there are any factors that may affect its value or suitability.

2. Ensuring Legal Compliance: Searches help ensure that the property complies with relevant laws, regulations, and planning restrictions. They uncover any legal issues that may impact the buyer's ability to use or develop the property as intended, such as restrictive covenants, planning permissions, or environmental restrictions.

3. Protecting the Buyers Interests: By conducting thorough searches, the buyers can uncover hidden problems or liabilities that may not be immediately apparent, such as outstanding debts, disputes, or potential hazards. This protects buyers from unpleasant surprises and allows them to negotiate terms or withdraw from the transaction if necessary.

4.  Helping with Informed Decision-Making:  Searches provide the buyer with valuable information about the property's history, local area, amenities, and infrastructure. This enables the buyer to make informed decisions based on their preferences, priorities, and long-term plans for the property.

What Do Property Searches Involve?

Property searches typically involve obtaining information from various sources, including:

1.  Local Authority Search: This search provides information about planning permissions, building regulations, conservation areas, highways, environmental matters, and other local land charges that may affect the property.

2. Environmental Search: This search assesses the risk of environmental hazards or contamination in the property or its surrounding area, such as flooding, subsidence, pollution, or previous industrial use. 

3. Water and Drainage Search: This search confirms the property's connection to mains water supply and sewerage systems, as well as identifying any rights or responsibilities regarding watercourses, drainage, or flood risk.

4. Chancel Repair Liability Search: This search identifies whether the property is subject to chancel repair liability, which is an ancient legal obligation for property owners to contribute to the repair of a local church.

Property searches are an essential aspect of the property transaction process, providing the buyer with valuable information about a property's legal, financial, and environmental status. By conducting thorough searches, the buyer can identify potential risks, ensure legal compliance, and make informed decisions that fit in with their needs and preferences. 

Sellers can also benefit from property searches by addressing any issues proactively and ensuring transparency. Ultimately, property searches contribute to a smoother, more transparent, and more secure property transaction experience for all parties involved.

Our Residential Property team can help you with the whole conveyancing process, whatever your circumstances. For more information and advice, contact Joe Jordan, on 01473 298295 or at jjordan@prettys.co.uk

Joe (Joseph) Jordan