The Importance of Local Searches When Moving Home

When you are in the process of buying a new home there are a few obstacles to overcome before the dream becomes a reality. One of the ways in which a solicitor can help when buying a home is by putting together the due diligence package to ensure you are fully aware of all aspects of your new property. Local searches are important to buying a home and can be extremely revealing. 

Local Authority searches are essential as they ensure you know everything about the property you are purchasing, there will be no hidden surprises about the property and surrounding areas, any work that needs to be completed by the owner that you may have otherwise missed. When taking out a mortgage your bank will insist on a local search being carried out on the property you are looking to purchase. In a financial setting a local search can also provide you with the information in order to negotiate or re-negotiate the sale price, and get a price reduction based on the faults you have found during the local search.

The Conveyancing Process

The Local Authority search is the first step in the conveyancing process when purchasing a new home, and is the central aspect of The Search Pack. You’ll be provided your search pack to have knowledge of the Water and Drainage situation of the property, plot of land and surrounding area, the Environmental situation, and other types of searches that might be applicable depending on the type of property and area it is located.

The Details of a Local Authority Search

Within the local authority search will include all the data relevant from the Land Charges – all existing restrictions on the land and obligations – the Register and the Enquiries of the Local Authority with regards the current and intended use of the property and any responsibility for footpaths and highways around it, making up the standard local search. It will take into account wider plans by the local council or government, including the impact planned motorways or new road works would have on your property and immediate surrounding area, as well as other transport links that could affect future planning permission and rights etc. If the land is contaminated or has had a previous notice of violation in terms of planning permission notices, this will also be flagged. The information might be of detail that you would not think to search for, and this is why it is so important to prospective buyers who would otherwise purchase a property and potentially be left with myriad problems to solve and pay for.

The buyer is expected to pay for the local search, and the conveyancing solicitor may conduct the process, or hire a professional search company to visit the local council in question and obtain the information on their behalf. This local search process should realistically take no longer than a few days, and the results will remain valid for around 6 months.