Searches carried out when buying a property – Part 1

 

The first part of our new expert series “Searches that come with a purchase” aims to make the process of purchasing a property easier to understand and focuses on the Flood Report.

As part of the home-buying process your conveyancer will carry out multiple “searches” with the local authority and other parties. Searches are carried out to discover additional information about a property that often may not be obvious. They typically include aspects such as whether planning permission may be granted for a future development that would negatively impact your property, the quality of the ground on which your house is built or details of common drains and access rights.

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The searches should be completed and approved before you exchange contracts and legally commit yourself to purchasing the property, as they may highlight planning or structural issues that could either affect the value of the property, or result in additional costs further down the line.

Part 1: Flood Report

The Environment Agency estimates that one in six homes in England (approximately 5.2m properties) are at risk from flooding. Of these, 1.4m are at risk from rivers or the sea alone, 2.8m are at risk from surface water alone and 1m are at risk from both. An estimated 200 homes are at risk of complete loss to coastal erosion over the next 20 years or so, and 2,000 more could potentially become at risk over this period.

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It may not always be obvious that a property is at risk of flooding. Properties at risk do not need to be close to a river or the sea or on low lying ground to be exposed to flood risk. Surface water, groundwater and overflowing sewers are increasingly common causes of flooding.

The most common types of flooding are:

  • Surface water flooding – occurs when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of an area.
  • Sewer flooding – occurs when sewers are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when they become blocked.
  • Groundwater flooding – occurs when underground water levels rise above surface level. This is most likely to occur in low lying areas underlain by permeable rocks.
  • River flooding – occurs when a watercourse cannot cope with the water draining into it from the surrounding land.
  • Coastal flooding – results from a combination of high tides, low lying land and, sometimes, stormy conditions.

Should you have any concerns regarding the above and wish us to obtain a flood report on your property please let us know as soon as possible – the cost of this report is £24 inclusive of VAT.

This article is part of our “Expert Advice” series and features advice from Aashim Dhand, Managing Director at PLS Solicitors. For more help get in contact with PLS here.

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Searches carried out when buying a property – Part 1

Searches carried out when buying a property – Part 1

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