As part of the house buying process, your legal representative will undertake several ‘searches’ on your behalf. The cost of these searches will be charged back to you as expenses (disbursements).

The searches undertaken may include some or all of the following, dependent on the property’s location and age. They are;

Local authority searches:

These cost between £70 and £400 depending on the Local Authority and usually takes about 14 days to be completed. However, with some local authorities it can take longer. The search will check whether there are any proposed developments in the immediate vicinity that might affect your property. Is a new road planned? Is there a landfill nearby? For more information see our Blog, 'What is a local Authority Search?'.

Environmental Search:

You can check flood risk at the Land Registry or obtain a more detailed environmental search. You may also want to check that the land is not contaminated or close to environmental hazards. Most searches are ‘desktop’ searches of known environmental issues, although if you are concerned, you can commission intrusive ground surveys and actually test the soil. These are expensive and with most homes, especially new homes, this is usually unnecessary. The ‘desktop’ environmental search usually costs about £60 - £80.

Water Authority Search:

This usually costs £50 - £75 and will let you know if drains are located close to your property. It’ll also tell you how you get your water.

Chancel Repair Search:

This costs around £18. There are some medieval rights held by churches that require homes to pay for the maintenance of the church and buildings! You can take insurance for this risk for about the same cost as the search.

Mining Search:

If in an established historic mining area then a mining search is critical. You want to know if your house is built on or near old mine workings.

In addition to formal searches, enquiries might be made of Local Authorities and/or the seller. Enquiries of the seller are called ‘enquiries before contract’ and might ask about boundary walls, noisy neighbours and similar topics.

For more information on property searches, contact Mortgage Required on 01628 507477.

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