As part of your purchase of a property, we would always recommend that searches are carried out. If you are purchasing with the assistance of a mortgage, the majority of searches are required by lenders and we will therefore be required to carry out searches in this circumstance.  However, if you are purchasing the property without the assistance of a mortgage you will be able to decide whether or not you wish for us to obtain searches.  We have therefore listed the searches that we recommend to provide some assistance in your decision. The recommended searches are as follows:

  1. Coal search – if the property is in the local area or in a different coal mining area, this search is recommend as it will reveal if there are any mine shafts or any subsidence claims near the property. This can cause an increased risk of subsidence at the property. If the search reveals a mine shaft or any subsidence claims then the search would need to be reported to your lender to see if they are willing to proceed. You may also wish to carry out additional checks to ensure that you are happy to proceed. If you are purchasing the property without a mortgage, this information will help you make an informed decision as to whether to proceed. It may also affect the future saleability of the property as any purchaser’s obtaining a mortgage would need to report the search to their lender.
  2. Local Authority search – this search shows information held by the Local Authority in respect of the property. The search, most importantly, would reveal if there are any grants in relation to the property. If grants are revealed we can ensure that the seller of the property repays the grant on completion. If you do not obtain the search and a grant is in existence on the property, you would then be responsible for paying the grant and this will have to be paid on the sale of the property regardless of the amount of the grant. We are not able to obtain this information without obtaining the search and therefore not obtaining the search can be a costly error. This search also looks at a wide variety of areas specific to the property such as: road proposals or transport proposals, contamination entries, Planning Permission applications and many more.
  3. Water Search – this search will confirm the location of any recorded main water or sewer pipes. The existence of the pipes can hinder any building in the future if the pipes are in the location you wish to build.       If any elements of the building you are to construct is within 3 metres of a public sewer you must obtain a Build Over Agreement from United Utilities before proceeding with any building. The search will also reveal if the property is connected to mains water supply and sewer supply etc.
  4. Environmental Search – This search looks at various environmental issues that the property may be at risk of. They include: flooding, contamination, subsidence etc. If the search reveals issues this will provide you with further information that you may wish to investigate before you purchase the property.
  5. Planning Report – we would recommend this search if you have any concerns that there may be any nearby developments. This is particularly important if the property you are purchasing is in a rural area as it may not be obvious that there are any developments nearby. We can advise the Local Authority search only reveals any planning permission obtained in respect of the property itself and not any nearby properties.

We can advise that the above are the standard searches that we would recommend for the local area and the majority of properties. However, there may be additional searches which we may recommend during the course of the transaction if it becomes apparent to ourselves that one is required. We can advise that these may be searches such as a tin search if the property is located in Cornwall or a Cheshire brine search if the property is located within Chester.

We may also recommend a chancel search if it becomes apparent to us that one is required as they are not required for every property. We can advise that a chancel search will reveal if the property is at risk of any chancel repair liability.   We would assess your matter as to whether a chancel search is required and inform you if we believe this should be obtained.

For further information or advice, please contact our Conveyancing Team at MBH by telephone on 01942 206060 or by email to Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Written by Sammy-Jo Woodward, Residential Conveyancing Solicitor



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