How to make sure your property search gives you the information you need


How to make sure your property search gives you the information you need

Checklist provided by
As you have visited the property, do let your legal company know of anything you are concerned about for the legal/search company to find out about eg:
  1. Are any extensions being built by neighbours?

  2. Are you near any plots of land/fields which may have planning on them?

  3. Is there a church nearby which you may be responsible for the up keep of?

  4. Do you know if you are buying in an area which was mined?

  5. Are there any large, invasive plants, for example Japanese knotweed?

Advise your legal company of works you may do on the property eg extend, even if in the future. They can then check for issues which require further investigation or permission.
Ask them what searches you should have done over and above ‘standard searches’ for example:
  1. Drainage and water

  2. Environmental

  3. Mining

  4. Chancel

  Check the legal company uses a search company who is a member of COPSO and they are registered on the PCCB, especially if you are buying with 100% cash.
  Make sure you pay the legal company promptly to secure your searches as in some areas they can take weeks to produce, depending on the speed of the local land changes department.
  When you receive the search report, check for the ‘search logo’.
  Read the report carefully to find out if there is any further research you need to do.
Key things to look out for include:-
  1. Is there anything likely to be built nearby

  2. Is there any reason you can’t extend the property in the future?

  3. Has the area been flooded in the past?

  4. Are there any costs such as an upkeep of a church you will be responsible for?

  5. What risks to subsidence are there?

If you don’t understand anything in the report, contact your legal company so they can explain and advise if there is anything to worry about/research.
If there are any queries or problems highlighted, ask if indemnity insurance would help to solve the problem, sometimes the seller will pay for this.
Put your questions in writing and ask for answers to be put in writing to by your legal company.
Keep your search reports for future reference.
If you are not happy with a search carried out by a PCCB registered company, then:-
  1. Follow or request the search company’s complaints procedure

  2. If you are not happy with their answer, escalate to the Property Ombudsman

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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