Why Do I Need Searches When I Am Buying A Property?

Buying a property is one of the most important and expensive transactions you will ever enter into.  You therefore need to be sure what you are letting yourself in for and what rights, restrictions, benefits, conditions exist in relation to the property itself and the surrounding area.

It is essential that the right type of property searches are carried out to identify any potential problems or issues and to make sure that these are resolved so that you can buy your property, safe in the knowledge that everything is in order.

There are all sorts of different types of searches available from local governments, government agencies, utilities, Land Registry and so on.  Here are the more common ones:-

Local Authority Searches

These provide information about planning, building regulations, building controls, enforcement notices, preservation orders, planned road schemes, parking restrictions, compulsory purchase orders or even road humps in the street.

Utility Searches

Water companies can provide drainage and water searches giving details of the infrastructure of public water and sewer networks connected to the property.

The National Grid is also responsible for existing or proposed electricity lines either over head or underground.

Gas searches provide details of gas mains or works in the immediate area of the property and whether supplies are available to the property.

Environmental Searches

These provide details of any problems with the surrounding area of the property such as flooding, subsidence or industrial contamination, for example, Radon.

Chancel Repair Searches

These show any contributions that might have been made to repairs for the local Parish Churches.

Financial Charges

These provide details of work carried out on the property by local authorities or approved bodies for health and safety reasons which the local authority might be able to recover off the owner.

Specialist Searches

Sometimes it is necessary to carry out certain specialist searches, depending on the characteristics and the locality of the property.  For example, the property that you are buying might be a Listed Building or if the property is in a mining area then a search for the Coal Authority for coal mining near the area may be useful to provide details of mine related subsidence damage and information on past coal mining.  China clay reports are useful where the property is on areas near clay deposits.  If the property is near British Waterways i.e. canal or river then a search with British Waterways could confirm whether rivers, streams or canals pass through the property’s boundary and information on riverbank ownership, drainage rights, fishing rights and licences.

Flood searches provide details of flooding, the history of past flooding including a flood risk indicator. Railway searches can be carried out as can transport searches.

A commons registration search can show whether land adjoining the property or near the property is affected by the Commons Registration Act for rights of access.

Land Registry Searches

These are carried out to make sure that the property you buy is free from any mortgages, debts or other charges or restrictions.


If you are buying a property then searches are extremely valuable and provides you with peace of mind that the property you are buying is not going to be affected by any particular issues or problems.  If the searches do provide details of any problems then at least searches give you valuable information so you know what you are letting yourself in for and the opportunity to either re-negotiate the price or even pull out from the transaction if you wanted to.

If you require more information about these types of services or if you require a quote for your particular property transaction then please contact us today on 01536 276300 or use our online enquiry form.