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Throwback Thursday: What is a Local Authority Search when you buy a property?

10 Apr 2014
Throwback Thursday: What is a Local Authority Search when you buy a property?

“Local authority search” is one of those terms you may hear an estate agent or conveyancing solicitor bandy about, but what does it mean?

A local authority search is part of the conveyancing process that will be carried out by your solicitor when you buy a property.  The search provides details about the property that the local council feels is relevant, such as road improvements or any planning permissions given for the property.  The purpose of the search is to protect you from any unpleasant surprises by checking up on any plans that may affect the home you’re buying, for example, that you’re not going to have an all night delivery super-depot built next door etc. It also checks on any possible property developments which may affect you, as well as changes to land use or public rights of way.

The search will also throw up any planning restrictions on the property such as your home being put into a new conservation area.

How long the searches take is entirely dependent on the Local Authority in question.  Some councils may take a couple of days and others can take weeks, but the average is about two weeks.

Be aware that the search will be out of date relatively soon. If the house buying process takes a few months there may have been new planning proposals made in the interim. If so you should consider doing a new search.

You may also want an additional environmental search carried out particularly in the light of the recent nationwide flooding problems.

How can your choice of estate agent help with local searches?

Not everyone realises, but one of the big jobs that estate agents undertake on your behalf is called “sales progression”.  Sales progression involves calling the solicitors, other estate agents, surveyors, managing agents and any other parties involved in the sales process to keep your sale or purchase on track.  An estate agent with a dedicated sales progressor, like Northfields will be in the best position to help ensure that your sale proceeds smoothly and along the timelines you choose.

Northfields can also recommend conveyancing solicitors with whom we’ve had a lot of experience, so we know that their customer service standards will mean that your sale or purchase will go more smoothly.

Call us now on 020 8740 6622 and we’d be happy to refer you to a reliable solicitor.