What Are House Buying Searches?

One of the first steps to buying a house after your offer has been accepted is to order searches on the property.

If you’re not sure what house buying searches are, we’ll explain in this article:

  • What they are
  • Why they’re important
  • Whether you need to purchase them

What Are House Buying Searches?

House buying searches are checks carried out on a property before you buy it. They usually cost a couple of hundred pounds (approx. £200-300) and can provide highly valuable information about the property.

For example, searches can tell you, and your lender, if the house:

You’ll normally have to pay for searches shortly after your offer has been formally accepted and you’ve instructed your solicitor to commence work.

What Are the Most Common Searches That Need to Be Done?

There are three main searches your solicitor will order for you when you buy a house:

  1. Local authority searches – See more details for Central Bedfordshire here
  2. Environmental searches
  3. Water and drainage searches

Local authority searches will check the following for issues:

Environmental searches will check for issues related to:

Water and drainage searches will check things like:

Are Searches Necessary When Buying a House?

If you’re buying a property with a mortgage, the lender will almost always require you to pay for searches on the property.

This is because they need to know how much the property is worth and what issues they may be liable to pay for if they repossess it in the future (if you don’t keep up with your mortgage payments).

However, if you’re buying in cash, you don’t legally have to pay for searches, unless you want to.

But remember, there are still benefits to ordering searches when you’re a cash buyer. They are much more in-depth than a homebuyer’s survey and can provide a detailed picture of what risks there are in buying the property.


Generally, you’ll always need to pay for searches when buying a property with a mortgage. If you buy a property with cash, it’s usually your decision whether you pay for searches, but it’s important to remember that not paying for them can cause significant risk and issue later down the line.

If you’re considering buying a property in Bedfordshire and want advice about the process, our friendly team of agents at Sperring Residential are happy to help.

Give us a call today on 01582 825 548 or email us at dunstable@sperringresidential.com to start the conversation.

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