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Searches that are carried out on properties before a purchase

Buying a new property can be a stressful time; however, your conveyancing solicitor will take much of the load to ensure your new home comes with no surprises.

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Part of the process will involve property searches, which will reveal a great deal about the property you are looking to buy before contracts are exchanged. They will identify any issues, such as existing legal disputes, planning limitations, drainage, access; what’s more, they will identify any issues affecting the land, such as subsidence caused by mining, flooding dangers, and any contamination on the land or property that may need the services of professional decontamination or Asbestos Removal Essex companies. The works may be made paid for by the existing owners or a reduction in the offer price may be suggested to enable you to carry the works out after purchase instead.


The searches will involve the local authority and other agencies, with different local authorities managing searches in a variety of ways. Some can turn around enquiries in a few days, whilst others may take a number of weeks. This can be frustrating when you are keen to reach the exchange stage.

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These searches are divided into two parts: LLC1 and CON29. The former will reveal details about the building, such as whether it is in a conservation area or smoke control zone or is subject to a tree preservation area or listed.

The CON29 search will discover whether there are any future plans that could impact the property, such as new roads, outcomes relating to contaminated land, and planning decisions and building regulations that may affect the property you are purchasing.

You may require further information from the CON29 search, including completion and land maintenance notices and information on environmental and pollution issues.


Water and drainage matters will be dealt with via the local water company. This search will also check sewer services. An environmental search will reveal any previous land usage, including mining and flooding risk. If the land is unregistered, a land charges search will be undertaken.

You will want to keep an eye on the progress. The Law Society offers a protocol for conveyancers, with some online firms offering you the opportunity to follow the progress. Remember that any planning or structural issues may affect the market value of the property and influence the price you may want to pay.


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