Do I Need Searches when Buying a Property?

If you are a cash buyer then, technically, no. However, a prudent buyer would consider the importance of the information provided by searches and follow the advice of his solicitor and opt to carry out those recommended by the Council of Mortgage Lender (“CML”). Alternatively, you may wish to purchase indemnity insurance.


Of course, if you are buying with the aid of a mortgage, then searches recommended by CML are carried out. All conveyancing purchases require satisfactory search results of the local authority search, a drainage and water search, an environmental data search and a Land Registry priority search to be carried out prior to completion.

Chancel Repair Search

A Chancel Repair Search is also recommended in certain circumstances to check whether a property has a potential liability to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the church. We do however recommend indemnity insurance to cover in the event of a claim by the church, as the insurance is usually cheaper than the cost of the search itself. In the case of Aston Cantlow v Wallbank (2003) the property owners, Mr and Mrs Wallbank had to pay the church in excess of £186,000 and costs of over £215,000 in fighting the action.

The particular searches carried out will depend on the location of the property and although optional, best practice is to acquire them. For example, if the property is close to a canal or river, then a British Waterways search should be considered. A coal mining search is another common search carried out in areas of the country where coal mining or brine mining has occurred, or is likely to take place.

Buying your home is probably the most expensive item you will ever buy in your life, costing thousands of pounds. Spending £250 on searches for peace of mind has got to be a good investment.