As you may know, the conveyancing process comes with a variety of different steps that ensure buyers and sellers reach an agreement that is beneficial for both parties. One such step that is often overlooked or misinterpreted is the title search. Below, we use our conveyancing knowledge to break down what is involved in title searches of properties, along with the importance of these checks for property transactions.
What is a property title search?
A title search, also known as a title check or land registry search, involves inspecting the legal title of the property. The aim is to reveal important information about the ownership of the property and identify potential risks or caveats associated with the purchase. A title search can reveal:
- The Grade of Title (Absolute, Possessory, Qualified, etc).
- Names of the legal owners.
- Whether the property is freehold or leasehold.
- The date of first registration.
- Things influencing the use of the property, including easements, rent charges, provisions, restrictive covenants, third party interest.
- Details of ownership, including cautions, existing charges, notices, and the existence of multiple titles.
A property title search is part of the due diligence that property solicitors perform during a real estate transaction. This is because, as well as physical property searches, the title search can have a big influence on whether or not you choose to buy the property, or potentially effect the value of the property. As local conveyancing solicitors in the north east, we use our expertise to interpret the information within a title search and advise you on the best course of action. Our conveyancing services are designed to add value for both sale and purchase transactions.
Why conduct a title search of a property?
Title checks provide vital property information that you can use to adjust your budget and purchase price. It also makes you aware of any issues which could be massively costly if you weren’t prepared for them, such as issues with the land included. All of this can lead to a smoother overall transaction, as it minimises the risk of unexpected property problems further down the line.
Another benefit of title searches is they can confirm if the property can serve the purpose you want it to. For instance, a property that is leasehold will have limitations on the degree to which it can be altered. This could therefore impose limitations on someone who wanted to purchase the building for commercial purposes, which could require significant work to install machinery and make space for equipment depending on the industry.
Finally, title checks are often a form of entirely online conveyancing that can be completed relatively quickly. As such, conducting a title search does not disrupt the conveyancing process overall and allows you to make a fully informed offer according to your schedule.
Other types of conveyancing searches
The main downside of a title search is that you still don’t get the full picture of the property you are intending to buy, plus you aren’t given the opportunity to ask questions about the information or how it has been acquired. The following searches provide an insight into other areas of the property, which are just as significant as the title deeds.
Mortgage lenders will frequently ask for the results of an environmental survey so they can set their rate. These searches look at the historical records of a property and the surrounding area, thereby revealing any potential health, insurance, or financial risks. A common area of concern with an environmental search is the risk of flooding.
Local authority search
Often, information about a property will be held within a local authority’s records. This will include important pieces of information over many years that relate to the property, such as planning. As owners are required to have knowledge of local authority documents, mortgage lenders won’t follow through unless a buyer has had a local authority search done.
A search of the property, known as a property survey, checks the interior and exterior of the property. This involves checking for structural defects such as crumbling walls and leaks, as well as faulty wiring that impacts utilities. There are three types of property survey that escalate in their thoroughness.
- Level 1 (Condition Report)
- Level 2 (HomeBuyer Report)
- Level 3 (Building Survey)
Conveyancing services tailored to you
Toomey Legal are an experienced residential and commercial property conveyancers based in Cramlington. We follow all due diligence to keep you fully informed on the details of the property and what you need to be aware of, as well as keeping the purchase running to schedule. Contact us via phone, email, or in person to get a professional quote. Our quotes are no obligation, meaning we’ll tell you what we think the total cost will be, but you don’t have to pay anything until our conveyancing services have been provided.