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Searches – Do I need to do one when buying a property?

The simple answer is: YES! When purchasing a property, it is your responsibility to ensure you investigate the property and that you are happy to purchase it.

Currently, search packs are around the £300 mark, but if an issue crops up on a search you may need to buy additional searches to get a clearer picture. At present searches are taking 10-12 weeks to come through, so this is something we like to order as soon as possible.

The search pack includes a ground search, water and drainage search, a local authority search and a highways search.

What is a Ground Search

This search covers issues such as ground stability, contaminated land, if there are any potential flooding issues, coal or mining issues, radon searches and any planning constraints.

They have now introduced a climate change search to see how the property may be affected with climate change.

These are all useful when purchasing a property as you want to ensure the property is protected against any major issues such as flooding or radon. These can also affect the insurance of a property.

Drainage & Water Search

This tells us how the property is connected to either mains water and waste, or if there is a private method of drainage. For example, a property may have a septic tank which will need to be maintained by the new owners and they will have to pay for it to be emptied. Again, hidden costs which people do not always think about.

This search will also show if the property suffers, or could suffer, from low water pressure. In this case, the new owner may have to pay for additional assistance to ensure there is good water pressure.

Local Authority & Highways Search

The search is provided by the local authority and outlines any planning applications on the property or in the surrounding area, which is essential if the property has had an extension to ensure there has been approved planning permission or, for example, if there have been 100 homes approved for planning in the field adjacent to the property. It also shows which roads are the local authorities’ and which may not be; if there are any roads which the property uses which are not adopted by the local authority, these may be private roads which the new owner may have to pay upkeep for.

This search will also show us if there are any public rights of way near or over the property. We have had cases where the potential buyers didn’t know there was a public footpath right through their front garden!

This will also show any Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which is essential if you plan to develop or extend the property.

As you can see, the searches do cover a wide range of issues which, if were not identified before, could cost the buyer much more than the £300 searches themselves cost. These are essential for all buyers and if you do choose not to order them then we will ask you to sign a disclaimer.

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