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Can You Speed Up a Local Search?

Published: 15/11/2017 By Emma Johnston

If your solicitor is applying to a Local Authority for a Local Search on a property (required for most residential purchases), then at busy times it can take a Local Authority up to six weeks to return the result to your solicitor, which is less than ideal.

We are often asked by purchasers what can be done to speed up the process and the honest answer is not a great deal, however here are some proactive tips and useful information that may help:

  • So you know where you stand, contact the Land Charges department at the local authority and ask for their current turn-around time.

  • Pay your solicitor the Search Fees as soon as you instruct them on your purchase.

  • Download the Title Plan from Land Registry. This will cost you £3, but it means your solicitor can apply for the Search immediately, without waiting for the Draft Contract Pack.

  • Ask your solicitor if they have a Personal Search option, where they will outsource a Search Company to obtain what is essentially the same information the Local Authority will provide.  However, these are generally more expensive and can be just as slow, and some mortgage lenders will not agree to Personal Searches.

  • If you do not require a mortgage on the property, you could consider proceeding without a Local Search, upon your solicitor’s advice of course.