Searching issues

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty explains the two different kinds of searches needed for inclusion in home information packs (HIPs)
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Question: I am thinking of putting my house on the market. My solicitor tells me I need a home information pack and that there are two different kinds of searches that can be used. Can you explain please?

Answer: Under the latest regulations for home information packs (HIPs), before you can market your property you must have commissioned a HIP with certain information included.

In addition to the title information and an energy performance certificate, you must have a drainage search and a local search.

Drainage searches can be supplied only by the water companies. However, a local search can either be supplied by the local authority or be a “personal search”, obtained by a search agent.

Personal searches are cheaper, but do not benefit from the local authority’s guarantee. As a result, many banks and mortgage companies will not accept personal searches. Most sellers use this option because it is cheaper, and the buyer’s solicitors will often then commission an official search.

This is one of the inconsistencies with HIPs that many people think is symptomatic of a lack of joined-up thinking in the regulations. Unless you expect to sell quickly or there are delays with your local authority search department, you will be better off including a personal search in your HIP.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors

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