A new list has been published outlining which UK local councils take the longest time to respond to and complete local searches.
Local searches are an essential part of the buying process. It involves you or your solicitor contacting the local authority to alert them of your intention to buy a certain property. The council then goes away to conduct a local authority search, designed to alert you to any upcoming construction of public works projects that might affect the value or you experience of living in your new home. This includes things like the planned construction of a major new road near the property, or the impending arrival of a new industrial complex close by.
The amount of time the council takes to complete these searches has a significant impact on the overall buying timeline – slow councils equals prolonged buying process.
The worst, slowest local council in the UK is Plymouth Council who take a shocking 36 days to complete the search, closely followed by Lewes District Council who take an average of 35 days.
The national average for a search to be completed is 8 days, so those councils who are taking over 30 days should be doing much, much better. Wiltshire (33 days), Salford (33 days), Welwyn Hatfield (25 days), and Greenwich (25 days) all have a lot to do to improve.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are 11 authorities that manage a 24-hour turnaround for local searches, showing that the slowest councils have very little excuse for such tardy searches.
North Devon Council, Cardiff Council, City of York Council, and Dartford Council all boast a 24-hour turnaround. Dartford can be especially proud because they receive an average of 1,500 search requests every month and still manage a one-day completion.
Dave Sayce, founder and director at Compare My Move, the company who conducted this research, said:
“Typically, the conveyancing process can take anywhere between eight to 12 weeks from the point the sale is agreed, but it will vary for everyone, depending on whether you’re in a chain or not and as shown by this study, where you’re buying.
“It’s a crucial process to the transaction, and to ensure a stress-free process, it’s vital you take on a licensed and regulated conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to help guarantee it’s completed legally.”