Buying a Home – Searches Explained

When purchasing a property, various searches are typically conducted to gather essential information about the property and its surroundings. These searches help prospective buyers make informed decisions and can be a part of the due diligence process. The specific searches required can vary by location and the type of property, but here are some common ones:

Local Authority Search:

This search is typically conducted with the local council or authority and provides information on planning permissions, building regulations, conservation areas, and any potential development or infrastructure projects that may affect the property.

Land Registry Search:

The Land Registry search provides details about property ownership, boundaries, and any registered charges or restrictions on the property. It confirms the seller’s legal right to sell the property.

Environmental Search:

This assesses potential environmental risks associated with the property, such as contamination, flood risks, and ground stability. It can also reveal any nearby landfill sites, industrial facilities, or historic land uses that may affect the property.

Water and Drainage Search:

This search provides information about the property’s water supply, drainage, and sewer connections. It confirms how the property is connected to the water and sewage systems and checks for any public drains running under the property.

Chancel Repair Liability Search:

Chancel repair liability searches determine whether the property is subject to a historical legal obligation to contribute to the repair of the local church’s chancel (the space around the altar). This is a rare but potentially costly obligation.

Mining and Subsidence Search:

In areas with a history of mining or subsidence issues, this search assesses the potential risks and liabilities associated with the property. It can also provide details about insurance claims related to subsidence.

Flood Risk Search:

This search provides information about the property’s susceptibility to flooding, including whether it is in a flood-prone area and the level of flood risk.

Radon Gas Search:

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into homes from the ground. This search assesses whether the property is located in an area with a higher risk of radon gas presence.

Rights of Way and Easements Search:

This search identifies any rights of way, easements, or other rights that may affect the property, such as a right of access across the land for utility companies or neighbouring properties.

Local Infrastructure and Development Search:

This search provides information about nearby infrastructure projects, such as road expansions or new housing developments, that may impact the property’s value, access, or quality of life.

Title Plan and Title Deeds Search:

These documents confirm the boundaries and legal ownership of the property and may include historical information about the property’s ownership and any rights and covenants associated with it.

It’s important to note that the specific searches required may vary depending on the location, type of property, and individual circumstances. Our property team will always guide our clients and explain the searches and recommend other searches that may help them when they are buying their property. You can email us at or call us on 0203 301 6600.