Triangle Legal Services

What Are Conveyancing Searches?

Conveyancing searches are an essential part of the process when buying a property, whether residential or commercial. These searches provide important information about the property and its surroundings, helping to uncover any potential issues that could affect your purchase. 

At Triangle Legal Services, we ensure all necessary searches are carried out thoroughly, safeguarding your investment. 

What are conveyancing searches?

There are different types of conveyancing searches, which are detailed checks conducted by your solicitor to gather information about the property you intend to buy. Conveyancing searches are enquiries that help identify any legal, environmental, or structural problems with the property that might not be immediately obvious. Although searches cost the buyer in the short term, they should prevent unexpected costs once the sale has been completed. 

Conveyancing Searches When Buying a House

If you’re buying a house in the UK, several essential conveyancing searches need to be conducted to ensure the property is a sound investment. Searches you’ll need include:

Local Authority Search:

This checks for any planning permissions, building regulations, and potential future developments that might affect the property. It also includes information about local land charges and any enforcement actions.

Environmental Search:

This assesses environmental risks such as flooding and ground stability. It also checks if the property is on or near contaminated land. It ensures that the property is not affected by environmental hazards that could impact its value or your safety.

Water and Drainage Search:

 This confirms whether the property is connected to the public water supply and sewer system and checks for any drainage issues that could cause problems in the future.

Title Search:

This property search verifies the legal ownership of the property with Land Registry and checks for any restrictions, easements, or rights of way that might affect it. It ensures that the seller has the right to sell the property and that there are no legal obstacles.

Chancel Repair Liability Search:

The chancel repair search determines if the property is liable for chancel repair contributions to the local parish church. Although rare, this can be a significant financial liability.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):

This assesses the property’s energy efficiency and provides an EPC rating. It helps you understand the potential energy costs and any improvements that might be needed.

Mining Search

Mining searches are optional, and their necessity depends on the location of the property. If the property is located in an area with a history of mining, a mining search is important to identify potential ground instability and subsidence risks. This search reviews historical mining records, subsidence claims in the local area, and future mining plans, ensuring structural safety and financial protection.

By conducting these searches, your solicitor ensures that you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision and avoid potential legal or financial issues after the purchase. At Triangle Legal Services, we carry out these essential searches thoroughly to protect your interests and ensure a smooth buying process.

Different Types of Conveyancing Searches For Commercial Property Purchases

If you are planning to purchase a commercial property, additional searches are required beyond those typically conducted for residential properties. These additional searches help uncover potential issues specific to commercial use, ensuring the property is suitable for your business needs. Some of the additional main searches include:

Zoning and Planning Searches:

These searches verify that the property is zoned for commercial use and check for any planning restrictions or permissions for the building or the land it sits on. They ensure that the property’s intended use complies with local planning regulations and can reveal any future development plans that might impact your business.

Commercial Environmental Search:

In addition to standard environmental searches, commercial properties may require more detailed assessments. These include checking for contamination from previous industrial use and assessing environmental risks specific to commercial operations.

Asbestos Survey:

For older commercial properties, an asbestos survey may be necessary to identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials. This is important for ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations and planning any required removal or management.

Fire Safety and Building Regulations:

These searches confirm that the property complies with fire safety standards and building regulations. They ensure that any modifications or uses of the property meet legal safety requirements.

Utility Searches:

These searches check for the availability and capacity of utilities such as electricity, gas, and telecommunications. They ensure that the property can support the necessary infrastructure for your business operations.

Highways Search:

This search identifies any public or private rights of way that may affect access to the property. It ensures that there are no legal obstacles to using the property’s access points.

Telecoms and Broadband Search:

For many businesses, reliable internet access is important. This search checks the availability and quality of telecoms and broadband services at the property.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):

Similar to residential properties, an EPC is required for commercial properties to assess their energy efficiency. However, the requirements and implications can be more complex for commercial buildings.

These additional searches help ensure that a commercial property is fit for business use, free from unexpected liabilities, and compliant with relevant regulations. 

 At Triangle Legal Services, we conduct all necessary searches thoroughly, providing you with the information you need to make a well-informed commercial property purchase.

Why are conveyancing searches important?

Skipping these searches can lead to severe consequences, including legal disputes and financial losses. For example, discovering planning permission for a new development next to your property after purchase can significantly impact the value of the property and your enjoyment of the space. Conducting thorough searches before you buy the property helps avoid such pitfalls and ensures you are fully informed before completing your transaction.

The Conveyancing Process

At Triangle Legal Services, our solicitors conduct these searches meticulously to ensure no stone is left unturned. The typical timeline for completing conveyancing searches can vary, but our team aims to expedite the process while maintaining thoroughness. Once the results are in, we review them in detail and discuss any potential issues with you, guiding you through the next steps.

How to Choose a Conveyancing Solicitor

Selecting the right solicitor is important for a smooth transaction. Look for a firm with a strong track record, like Triangle Legal Services, where we prioritise client support and efficient service. Our experienced solicitors are dedicated to making the conveyancing process as straightforward as possible, providing expert guidance every step of the way.

Need help with property searches?

For expert conveyancing services, contact us today. Our experienced solicitors are ready to guide you through the process and ensure that all necessary searches are completed thoroughly and efficiently. 

Conveyancing Searches FAQs

I am a cash buyer. Do I need conveyancing searches?

Yes, even as a cash buyer, conveyancing searches are an important part of the transaction for the property you plan to purchase. While you might not need to satisfy mortgage lender requirements, these official searches protect your investment by uncovering potential issues which could affect your property. Here’s why they are important:

  1. Identify Potential Risks: Conveyancing searches can reveal problems such as planning restrictions, environmental hazards, or legal disputes over property boundaries that might not be apparent through a standard inspection.
  2. Ensure Legal Compliance: Searches help ensure the property complies with local regulations and planning permissions, preventing future legal complications.
  3. Financial Protection: Discovering issues like ground instability or flood risks before purchase can save you from costly repairs or devaluation of your property.
  4. Peace of Mind: Comprehensive searches provide you with a clear understanding of the property’s condition and any potential liabilities, ensuring peace of mind and confidence in your investment.

At Triangle Legal Services, we offer thorough conveyancing searches to safeguard your purchase.

What conveyancing searches do I need when buying with a mortgage?

When buying a property with a mortgage, essential conveyancing searches include a Local Authority Search to check for planning permissions and building regulations, an Environmental Search to assess risks like flooding and contamination, a Water and Drainage Search to confirm connections to public systems, and a Title Search to verify legal ownership and restrictions. These searches protect your investment and ensure the property is secure for the loan.

How long do conveyancing searches take?

Conveyancing searches typically take between 2 to 3 weeks to complete, although this can vary depending on the local authority and the complexity of the property. Some searches may return results within a few days, while others may take longer, especially in busy areas or during peak times. At Triangle Legal Services, we aim to expedite this process and keep you informed every step of the way to ensure a smooth and timely transaction.

Please bear in mind that when buying a residential or commercial property, the search forms just one part of the process, which takes much longer. There are many variables as to how long this can take, so it’s best to speak to one of the team for an accurate timeline for your particular circumstances.