What are Conveyancing Searches?

A vital step in the property buying process, conveyancing searches can make a real difference to the valuation of a property. However, knowing what conveyancing searches are, as well as the associated costs and how long they take, is not always straightforward. To help, we have put together our What are Conveyancing Searches? guide to provide the answers.

What are Conveyancing Searches?

Otherwise known as property searches, conveyancing searches are detailed inspections of a property conducted by a professional experienced in the field called a conveyancer. Conveyancing searches provide a clearer picture of any potential issues with the property, such as access rights or flood risk. This information is vital for highlighting problems that might not otherwise be obvious without a detailed investigation. Conducting a conveyancing search when buying a property is not a legal obligation, though it is always highly recommended to avoid problems in the future.

What are the Different Types of Conveyancing Searches?

The three most common types of conveyancing search are:

Local Authority Search 

A local authority search will highlight issues relating to:

  • Building control
  • Highways
  • Planning
  • Pollution

Environmental Search

An environmental search will highlight issues including:

  • Contaminated land
  • Flooding
  • Landslides
  • Subsidence

Water & Drainage Search 

A water and drainage search is typically made to the local water company responsible for covering the property’s location and includes:

  • Location of sewer and drainage pipes
  • Who is responsible for sewer, drains and pipes
  • Whether the property is connected to the sewer and public water supply
  • Whether the water supply is metered or rateable
  • Whether permission is required from the water company to extend the property
conveyancing searches

How Long Do Conveyancing Searches Take?

Conveyancing searches can vary in how long they take to complete, with various factors impacting the wait time.


Each property is unique, and there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to the conveyancing process. Location, history and previous owners can all impact the type of searches required and how long they take.

Third Parties 

Having to rely on third parties for specific searches takes control out of the conveyancer’s hands, which can massively impact the completion time. Third parties may have a backlog of work or be  generally slow in performing the work, delaying the completion of the searches.


The conveyancing process can often involve multiple individuals, so maintaining good communication is vital for ensuring information is shared efficiently. Effective communication between parties will ensure faster completion of searches and a reduced timeline.

How Much Do Conveyancing Searches Cost?

Purchasing a new property is often far from cheap, so careful budgeting is an important consideration for many. A key question that regularly arises during the process is how much do conveyancing searches cost.

Much like with the timeline, the costs of conveyancing searches differ as the range of searches performed varies. Typically, the price for the most common searches are as follows:

  • Local Authority Searches: £150 – £400
  • Environmental Searches: £60
  • Water & Drainage Searches: £60 – £100

What are the Typical Issues Found During Conveyancing Searches?

What issues are found during conveyancing searches can vary, though bringing to light any problems is vital as they could severely impact the value of the property. Potential problems which a conveyancing search will highlight include:

Access & Rights of Way 

If the property includes access or rights of way across the land, then this could affect your privacy and any potential future developments. 

Planning & Building Regulations 

Searches should highlight the legality of all alterations and extensions on the property, including those added without the relevant authorisation. Finding such issues can lead to several liabilities further down the line, but at least a conveyancing search will make you aware, allowing you to attempt to resolve them before going ahead with the purchase.  

Restrictive Covenants 

A conveyancing search will also highlight whether the property is subject to any restrictive covenants, which are limitations imposed on the property. These restrictive covenants can cause issues if the property is planned to be a place of business or redeveloped at a later stage.

Environmental Hazards

Flood risks, contaminated land and other environmental hazards will all be highlighted during a conveyancing search. These issues can result in extensive damage to a property’s value as well as the health and well-being of its inhabitants.

Guide to Conveyancing Searches: Final Thoughts

We hope our guide to What Are Conveyancing Searches? has answered any key questions you have regarding the importance of the conveyancing process.

Here at Jordan’s Solicitors, we are professional and friendly solicitors proud to support clients with a range of professional property services. For legal assistance services you can trust, get in touch with us today.


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