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Nov 14

Property surveys and searches – what is the difference?

What is the difference between a survey and searches?

A mortgage valuation of your new home will generally be arranged by your mortgage company. Please note that a mortgage valuation is just that, a valuation to see if the property is worth the amount you are asking to borrow, it is not a survey of the property If you are not using a mortgage to pay for your property you can still arrange a survey independently.

The surveyor will visit the property and check the value of the house, and will confirm any obvious defects. But if you are concerned about the property you can have a HomeBuyer Report (which is detailed) or a Building Drainage Search (which is even more detailed), and any further problems will be highlighted with advice from your surveyor.

A search is carried out by your legal adviser and depending on the area it may be necessary for the search pack to include:

  • Local search – This is carried out by your legal adviser with the local authority and will confirm the planning history for the property. If any entries are revealed on the search, your legal adviser will make further enquiries with the seller’s solicitors to investigate any issues on your behalf.
  • Environmental search – This will reveal the history of the site on which your house has been built on, it will check if it has been built on a waste or landfill site, and if the property is within a flood plain.
  • Drainage search – This is carried out with the local water authority and will confirm if the property is connected to the main drains, and whether the property is on a water meter or not
  • Mining search – If the property is within a mining area, a search with the Coal Authority will be made to check when the last workings were. The search will also show if there has been a mining claim on the property, and if so how the claim was settled. If a claim is revealed, a request will generally be put to the seller’s solicitors to provide a schedule of repairs from the Coal Authority with details of whether the claim was settled by repairs or compensation, and the amount if so.

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