Contact one of our advisors now Call 0800 088 6004

What searches do conveyancing solicitors do?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Professional conveyancing solicitors perform an essential role when it comes to buying and selling property in the UK, but what do they actually do?

Alongside overseeing the legal side of your property transaction, one of their main roles is to conduct a variety of property searches on behalf of the buyer.

To help you understand some of the key responsibilities of a conveyancing solicitor in more detail, the expert residential conveyancing team at Wilson Browne Solicitors explain which searches they carry out and why.

What are the three main searches when buying a house?

When purchasing a property, depending upon where your property is located, there are many different types of searches that may be required to be carried out by your solicitor or conveyancer. However, the main three are:

Local search

A local search will investigate information held by the Local Authority and cover matters relevant to the property, its title and use. For example, the search should reveal whether the road to the property is ‘adopted’ i.e. maintained at public expense by the Highway Authority. It should also reveal the property’s planning history and any relevant building consents and reveal matters such as whether the property is a listed building or located within a conservation area.

Local searches are submitted either directly to the Local Authority in prescribed forms, or through personal search agents who search the data held by the Local Authority.

Water and drainage search

A search to check the drainage and fresh water supply arrangements for the property. The search will reveal whether the property is connected to the mains and public drainage system. It will also reveal whether any sewers or drains run within the boundaries of the property that may affect the potential for future development. If the property is not connected, further enquiries will need to be raised.

Environmental search

An environmental search is carried out to assess any environmental issues that may affect the property, including contaminated land, flooding and climate change risks.

What other searches do conveyancing solicitors do?

Alongside the three main searches explored above, it may also be necessary for conveyancing solicitors to carry out additional specific searches.

These may include, mining searches (for example coal or tin mining) and a chancel search to check if the property may be liable to contribute to the cost of repairs to the chancel of a church.

As a result, the conveyancing solicitor should provide you with all the necessary information about the property so that you can make a more informed decision about your property purchase.

Buyers should be made aware of these findings prior to exchange of contracts, so they have an opportunity to amend or withdraw their offer based on these search results.

How long do conveyancing searches take?

The speed and cost of searches differ across the country.  Your conveyancer will select the method of search they consider appropriate for the property. Note that the results of these searches are dependant upon receiving information from third parties. Your conveyancer will have no control over how long these searches will take.

Contact Wilson Browne Solicitors today

Conducting all of the necessary searches is only a small part of a conveyancing transaction, Our professional residential conveyancing team will guide you through the entire transaction. You can be assured of a friendly and efficient service, transparent pricing, and direct access to your legal team when you choose Wilson Browne to support you with the sale or purchase of your property.

If you’d like to learn more about our residential conveyancing services or fees, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today.

At Wilson Browne Solicitors, the first call is always free, so why not give us a call on 0800 088 6004?

Alternatively, you can also speak to us in-person by dropping into one of our branches – we have offices in Leicester, Northampton, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, and Higham Ferrers.

No matter how you choose to contact our team, we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Jenny Woodruff


Jenny Woodruff


Jenny is a Partner and head of the Residential Conveyancing Team. She has extensive knowledge of the conveyancing process, including: dealing with freehold and leasehold sales & purchases; new build purchases; remortgages; transfers of equity; shared ownership; help to buy transactions & general property advice.