Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Must He Ask These Searching Questions? OUR LAWYER ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Must He Ask These Searching Questions? OUR LAWYER ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

Article excerpt

Byline: Fiona McNulty

QWHY on earth does our solicitor have to do so many initial searches? They are costing us almost as much as his conveyancing fees.

ATHE rule is caveat emptor -- buyer beware. This means that you really must find out as much about a property as possible before exchange of contracts. This is done by the buyer's solicitor carrying out pre-contract searches and enquiries.

Certain searches are essential and should be undertaken in every transaction, especially if you are buying with the benefit of mortgage funding as your solicitor will have to comply with the requirements of the Council of Mortgage Lenders. These are a search of the local land charges register and search of the local authority, and a drainage and water enquiry of the local water service company.

In addition it is common to carry out an environmental data search and a chancel check. Depending on the location of the property it may be necessary for a coal or stone mining search to be carried out, or a search in relation to underground or overground railways.

Do make sure that all the searches your solicitor is suggesting are necessary and ask him to explain why they are needed.

If you are not having a mortgage then it is entirely up to you whether you have any searches carried out at all, but it is of course prudent to have at least the essential ones conducted.

Your solicitor may have offered you other searches, such as a plan search which shows planning applications within a certain radius of the property you are buying, or a flood report.

These are optional and it is entirely up to you whether you wish to incur the expense of having them done.

WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM? IF YOU have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. …

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