Property Terms Explained


Local Search

The Local Search is carried out to check there is nothing of any concern registered against your property such as a compulsory purchase order, road scheme, enforcement action for breach of planning permission, etc.

Please note that the search is only against your new property, not against the whole area. Information will therefore be limited to information on record regarding the property we search against. It will not, for example, reveal plans to build on adjoining land. If you are particularly concerned about plans for nearby land you can ask the local planning department for information or we can carry out a Plan Search on your behalf. Please speak to your Solicitor about this.

You can contact or visit the Local Authority and obtain details of the Local Plan/Unitary Development Plan, which often provides useful information about the area. We can also advise you of organisations, which provide additional information on environmental matters, local schools, transport, proposals for surrounding areas, etc.

Drainage Search

A Drainage Search will be carried out to ascertain the position confirming liability and maintenance of the sewers and mains water at the property, we will report to you on this.

Commons Search

Should the property you are purchasing be close to rural land or land known to be registered as a common, or town or village green a commons search may be necessary. This will cost £14 inc VAT per search. It will reveal whether local rights exist over the land.

Mining Search

In addition, if the property is located in a mining area, we will need to conduct a search where we ask the Coal Authority to prepare a report on you property. The search typically costs £20 inc VAT. Your Solicitor will advise you whether this is necessary.

Other Searches

Depending where the property is we may need to do additional specialist searches.

Contaminated land

We will arrange an environmental report on the property you are purchasing. This might also cover radon gas, flooding and subsidence. The Search Company will provide a certificate indicating whether the property has passed or failed in terms of contaminated land and confirming what other issues may affect the property.

We will also check if any matters relating to contaminated land are registered (in respect of the property only) in the register maintained by the Local Authority. However, in the absence of any information or registration by the Local Authority Search this does not mean that such matters do not exist. Please note however we are not qualified to advise on the contents of the result of an environmental search.

A property affected or potentially affected by contamination can be a health hazard and its value may also be affected. Where contamination is found, the Local Authority can determine that there is a need to clean up the land and will, in the first instance, look to the original polluter to meet the cost. If the original polluter cannot be found, the current owner or occupier of the land may be expected to meet such costs.

For further information regarding environmental matters including flooding we recommend that you access a website offering lots of useful information about the area you are purchasing your property in.


Whilst we are anxious to help you in any way, please note our fee and therefore the scope of our work will not include advice on the structural condition, environmental or other surveys and inspections. Only where these matters are the subject of especially agreed written terms are we able to advise or able to arrange advice from a third party.

With regard to the state and condition of the property you must satisfy yourself with the surveys and inspections. Any faults found in the property after exchange of contracts will be your responsibility and therefore the surveys and inspections must be carried out prior to exchange.

Unforeseen work

We will inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary - for example due to unexpected difficulties, or if your requirements or the circumstances change significantly during the matter. We will also inform you in writing of the cost of the extra work as soon as we are able. No extra work will be carried out until we have obtained your approval of the cost we propose to charge for it and as such will form a separate contract to that covered by the above illustration.

If the property you are buying is leasehold you will be responsible for the payment of ground rent and service charges on the property during your ownership. We will provide you with as much information as we can regarding the service charge. Estimates for service charges for the future are usually based on previous accounts and should not be taken as a definitive indication of future service charge costs. If you have any further enquiries in this regard, you should make enquiries directly with the Management Company.

Acting For Lenders

In the case of a purchase that is dependent upon a mortgage, we will receive instructions from your lender to act on their behalf. If so, we will have to pass them information you give to us that might be relevant to their decision whether to finance the purchase. If you tell us things that you do not want the lenders to know and the information is of relevance to the lenders, we may have to stop acting for you.

Buildings Insurance

You will need to have buildings insurance in place to enable you to exchange contracts. If you are obtaining a mortgage and arranging your own Buildings Insurance we must provide your lender with a copy of your Buildings Insurance Schedule before they will release the advance.

Completion dates

This is the day when we pay the money to the seller's conveyancer to complete and they give us the transfer document to transfer ownership of your new home to you. You collect the keys and physically move into your new home.

Until contracts have been exchanged, the completion date is not fixed for definite and the agreement to sell or buy a property is not binding.

Throughout your transaction up to the stage of exchange of contracts, we may well discuss with you tentative completion dates in readiness for exchange of contracts. Until you hear from us with confirmation that we have exchanged contracts, you must not take any estimated/tentative dates as final confirmation of the completion date.

As soon as we have exchanged contracts we will telephone and/or write to you confirming that exchange has taken place and the completion date agreed. Until this time we would advise you against making firm arrangements to physically move which is why we also suggest that you allow enough time between exchange of contracts and completion to organise removals etc, and allow us time to put in hand arrangements to complete.

Our Account and Completion Statement

We will submit a bill for charges and expenses normally after exchange of contracts. This enables you to pay the account before completion so that all the financial issues can be resolved when the purchase is completed.

If you have any queries about the bill you should contact us straight away.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Please note the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return Charge is incurred when completing the Stamp Duty Land Tax Form. The benefit of Graham Evans & Partners LLP completing the form online is that the information is validated by us before it is sent to the Inland Revenue saving delays and potential fines from the Inland Revenue.

Your best interest

If we have received instructions from a third party such as a broker or introducer our direct relationship is with you and not the referrer. You are free to choose another firm of Solicitors if you wish.

Please rest assured we will be acting in your best interests at all times, even if that is to the detriment of any referrer.

Any advice given by us will be independent and you are free to raise questions on all aspects of the transaction.