A generic term to describe enquiries of local authorities to check whether the property is adversely affected in any way.

Searches are enquiries of local councils.  The purpose of these searches is to establish if the property is affected by such matters as compulsory purchaser orders, road schemes etc. 

The searches are made prior to the formal exchange of contracts.  Once contracts have been exchanged the contract or agreement becomes legally binding and it would be too late to object to something the buyer was not aware of, so it is vitally important for solicitors and licensed conveyancers to make these searches and to report anything unusual before exchange takes place.  

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