Conveyancing Uncovered Part 2

This guest blog post is the second of a two part series written and provided by Allan Hooper, solicitor and partner at J E Baring & Co Solicitors.These blog posts are part of #FeatureFri, a Martin & Co social media initiative whereby a different guest blog post will be shared with our community on the last Friday of the month. Search #FeatureFri on Twitter or check out all #FeatureFri guest blog posts on Martin and Co Today.In the first post, Allan provided answers to all of your questions about forms – what they are for and why they are important. This included the Leasehold Information Form, Fittings And Contents Form and the Property Information Form.ConveyancingThis post will show the types of searches that are carried out, including the Environmental Search, Water And Drainage Search and Local Authority Search, and why each of them is important.“Why Do I Need Searches, And What Are They?”The number and type of searches vary according to where the property is situated; however in the South East of England the most common are:

  • Local Authority Search
  • Water Search
  • Environmental Search
Local Authority SearchThe Local Authority search seeks a substantial amount of information from the local council relevant to the property for example the Planning and Building Regulation history, whether the road is maintained at public expense, whether the property may be required for public purposes, whether there are any nearby road or traffic schemes, whether are there any outstanding Notices which affect the property (for example dealing with such things as housing, building regulations, public health or building works issues) and is the property in a conservation area etc.Why Is This Search So Important?In short the replies may affect your intended use and enjoyment of the property for a considerable number of reasons ranging from something minor through to something vitally important for example an enforcement order that part of it must be demolished. Common issues include the following:
  • If the road is not adopted what further enquires need to be made with regard to its upkeep and the associated costs?
  • Where do you park your car if there is no off street parking and there are parking restrictions between say 1 and 2pm?
  • What advice is necessary if you are purchasing the property as a “Buy to Let” but there is a Prohibition Notice against this?
  • There is a large tree in the back garden that you intend to lop or remove to let in additional light but the search reveals that it is subject to a tree preservation order.
Water And Drainage SearchThis asks a number of questions including is the property connected to mains drainage, surface and foul water, is the water supply metered and where the pipework is situated as well and the flow direction.Why Is This Search So Important?Again as basic examples any prudent purchaser will want to know whether the property is connected to the mains water supply and whether it has foul water drainage or indeed whether there is a Septic Tank which will require emptying. A less obvious example may well be that if the purchaser is planning an extension it would be useful to know where the drains run as this could have an impact upon the build cost and design.Environmental SearchThere are various search providers who provide environmental information, however the real issue is what potential environmental issues may affect her property. The replies will generally show if the property is built on land, which is at risk of flooding, radon, contamination, ground instability and other factors, which may cause defects to the property or even personal injury.Why Is This Search So Important?Environmental searches provide fundamental information to the buyer informing them of significant issues which could result in serious issues for the homeowner. For example, if the land is contaminated the owner can in theory be called upon to remove it which can be extremely expensive, in addition to the dangers to health. Where a property is in an area highlighted with identifiable risks such as being in a flood plain it can become difficult and costly to insure.“Why Are There So Many Additional Enquiries And How Can They Help Me?”The information via the documents and searches referred to above will allow your Conveyancer to raise what are known as Additional Enquires which comprise a series of further questions designed to clarify any issue not dealt with in the standard enquires or deal with any issues that may arise from the answers already provided.For example, if the seller has confirmed that new windows were installed last year, your Conveyancer will require the FENSA certificate and will want to know whether there is a guarantee in place, whether that guarantee is transferable to a purchaser and indeed whether it is insurance backed.In conclusion the information contained in the documents referred to above will allow most people to make an informed decision whether to proceed with the purchase or not in the light of their own circumstances and needs.I hope that this Conveyancing Uncovered series has answered some of your “whys” about the conveyancing process.At Martin & Co, we know how stressful this time is for many people, and working with experts, we aim to reduce as much of the stress as possible, by answering all of your questions.Please note that this document is not designed to be a comprehensive guide to the conveyancing process.If you have a property to sell, contact your local Martin & Co branch or read our tips on how to get your house to sell. Disclaimer: Guest blog posts on the Martin and Co blog are written by external companies. Martin and Co do not endorse the products or services of these companies.

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