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What does 'Local Searches' mean?

Local Searches

Local searches check what is planned for the area (planning applications that may affect your decision on buying or the banks decision on whether or not to lend), that the property has the right to be connected to the mains sewerage and the quality of the soil on which it has been built. For more on local searches see Legal Matters in Property Purchases for a detailed explanation on local searches.

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How to Really Buy a Property

"... (see Chapter 19: Time Costs Deals). An efficient solicitor who knows this should work as follows: Receives contract and title deeds (or office copy entries) and starts the local searches As soon as the sellers questionnaire, fixtures and fittings form and managing agents accounts (in the..."
"... managing agents accounts (in the case of a Leasehold purchase) come through he raises enquiries The local searches come back, perhaps prompting a couple of queries, which can be resolved quickly He asks you for the funds to allow exchange and gets you to sign the contract, even before all..."
"... cost you money until the bank has given the green light. He then starts the local searches (2-10 weeks). This was not done earlier as there is a fee involved and he didn't want to spend this until the mortgage offer was confirmed. Once the local searches are back he then gathers all the..."
"... the local searches are back he then gathers all the papers together at one time. He looks at the contract, title and lease along with the local searches. He now raises enquiries all at once as this is easier and takes less of his time. These will take 2-4 weeks, often depending on the efficiency of the managing agents, the local council and the vendors..."
"... traditional approach will easily take three to four months from offer to exchange whereas the modern approach can usually keep the timescales to within four weeks! The traditional solicitor will argue that if anything were to go wrong at any stage he has saved you money. If your survey is a problem, for example, at least you will not have paid for local searches or his time to look at the contract. It's a contradiction - the longer a sale drags on, the more likely it is to fall through (see Chapter 19: Time Costs Deals) and cost you money..."
"... the local search came back it revealed that the building had a 'dangerous structure' notice issued against it. The solicitor called a friend in the local council who found out within the hour that this related to a porta-cabin that had become unstable during a storm when the building was actually..."
"... large conveyancing firms feel it is efficient to break down the process into bits which are dealt with one by one. First they check the title, fixtures and fittings list, sellers questionnaire and contract have all arrived. Only when all documents are in do they then pass it onto the next stage. This is handled by a different team who order the local searches and wait for the..."
"... searches and wait for the results. Once local searches have come back the whole lot gets passed to the next team who then raise enquiries on the title, contract, fixtures and fittings, sellers questionnaire, local searches and maybe even on the survey. When the replies have come back they..."
"... is a very tempting offer from solicitors and even though it is not quite as good as it sounds, it means your solicitor is motivated to get the conveyancing completed quickly. Technically the "no fee" relates to the labour part of the fee. In other words you will still have to pay for local searches and other charges but they won't charge you for their..."

"... officially instructed by you, your solicitor has a set number of actions to undertake. Most are dictated by the lender you are using via the CLM Handbook (see above) but if you are lucky enough to be a cash buyer you can choose to opt out of certain requirements such as local searches (see..."
"... He claims that the remainder of the enquiries are in the original documentation and both sides refuse to do anything! - Applying for local searches - These are usually required by the lender and fall into three parts: The local search - this is provided by the local council and..."
"... parts: The local search - this is provided by the local council and lists all planning applications made in the area immediately surrounding your property since records began. It does not show whether the applications were successful or not. There are three ways to get a local search: The..."
"... search: The Standard local search - this is the traditional method and costs the least. Your solicitor applies to the local council who find every single planning application there has ever been in the area. It can take, depending on the council, up to sixteen weeks to process. A Hand..."
"... Agency Search - some entrepreneurial individuals have taken advantage of the fact that councils can be eye-wateringly slow in processing local searches. To plug this gap they have started agencies that buy searches either from the council or solicitors on a regular basis. They put these on the shelf and then sell them to your solicitor for a profit. Needless to say they are more expensive but it is a very useful way to get hold of a Standard Search in days, rather than weeks...."
"... built half a century ago. Once your solicitor has these searches he may want more information. The most obvious is that there is a planning application in the local search that applies to the property you are hoping to purchase. They will then want to know: Was the application successful..."
"... may also want to know, however, if planning consent has been given for something on another property that may affect the value of your property in the future. An example would be planning permission to open a nightclub across the road from your property. The local search would show someone had applied for it but they will need to find out if it was denied. If not they will need to tell you and the lender about it as it may materially change the decision of either of you on whether or not you want to..."
"... the paperwork of a historical pile of rubble! What Can Go Wrong Your solicitor is not familiar with the area in which you are buying and applies for a standard local search, unaware that it may take four months to process Your solicitor is not familiar with agency searches and refuses to..."

"... any changes were made to the building in the past was the appropriate consent gained and were the changes made to a good standard? The local searches Is anything being planned for the area that would affect the value of the property and does your property have the right to be..."

"... building regulation certificates (if applicable) Any guarantees (damp, roof, etc.) The building insurance details The local search (If the HIP is still valid) If the property is leasehold The last three years service charge accounts The last three years ground rent..."
"... - Planning Permission - Your solicitor may start asking for confirmation of planning permission if: The local search suggests planning permission was applied for The outline of the property does not match the outline on the title deeds There is something in the general..."
"... that calling your solicitor to discuss tidying up some outstanding paperwork will also be at the back of your mind, to say the least! - The local search - Every so often there is a forward thinking vendor out there or one who really has been well advised by the Estate Agent. He will..."
"... so often there is a forward thinking vendor out there or one who really has been well advised by the Estate Agent. He will understand why time costs deals and does not want things to drag on as much as you don't. So against the advice of almost everyone he will have applied for a local search when, or before, he put the property on the..."

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Author of How to Really Buy a Property

I'm Tim Hill, Author of How to Really Buy a Property. I'm a property buyer, seller, landlord, tenant and I've been an agent in hundreds of transactions. I own a property portfolio across Europe but that doesn't mean I think you should to!

This book is my collective knowledge and experience that I have gained working within the property market of England and Wales for over a decade. I've written it so that you can benefit from what I have learnt whether you are a first time buyer or a budding buy-to-let investor.

There are no gimmicks here and no get rich quick schemes - just practical no nonsense advice so you can buy the property you want at the best price with the least stress.

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