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Do you know your Local Authority Search Turnaround Timescales?

Knowing how long your searches are going to take is vital to ensuring that completion timescales can be met.

Everyone that moves home has a desired moving date that likely gets agreed during negotiations. BUT, if the Local Searches are going to take far longer that expected, things can be delayed or at worst, derailed.

It is always a good idea to have all of the facts available during negotiations so that realistic and achievable dates are set and agree upon.

Our dates are indicative of the entire property market in England and Wales. We provide the data for both Official and Regulated Local Authority Searches and provide access to ordering both types.

Video Transcript:

"Hi there, it's Dan here from Property Searches Direct, I do hope this finds you well.

Today I'm going to talk about search turnaround timescales. I think it's really important that everyone knows what a search turnaround timescale is because every purchase or sale transaction comes with a timescale.

Search turnaround timescales can differ depending on whether it's an Official Local Authority Search, otherwise that which is produced by the council. If you want to know the difference between an Official Local Search and a Regulated Local Search then there's a video about that and I'll put the link up here somewhere. But they can differ significantly.

The reason for that is as I'll just explain briefly on this video, if you go to order a search from the council themselves then you're beholden to their staffing and their resources and the timescales that they can deal with searches and they will deal with searches in the order that they arrive in, so if they've got a huge backlog you can expect some of those searches to be taking longer to come back. If they're really efficient and there isn't a backlog you can expect them to turn around quite quickly. With a regulated search of course we're reliant on the search agents booking an appointment and going in to see the council. So in some instances those search agents can book appointments really quickly because the council are not limiting access and they can take all of the files they need to have answers to and they can get them all done in one visit; no problem at all.

However, some councils have imposed restrictions saying to search agents or search companies that they can only do, in one instance we had quite recently the Council turned around and said we're shutting our doors and you're limited to five searches per agent per week. Now that wasn't very helpful you can imagine, it suddenly through the timescales off massively because we needed to do things in a particular order, and of course if we have let's say in this instance 40 odd in the pipeline and we could only do five a week, then we can see that that's going to take eight weeks to get through that transaction. I'm just doing Mental Maths then panicking that that's where we were at, but that's the sort of problems that can be posed.

So let me show you on our website. Let's get me out of the way and show you on our website where you can be kept up to date with search turnaround timescales.

So this is our home page and if you click down here we have search turnaround times. At the minute, being early in November, we're doing a bit of a Christmas countdown. It's a big holiday, a lot of people want to move by Christmas, and again you need to know whether indeed that's possible. So agreeing a sale today, as I say, for some areas would be no problem, agreeing a sale today in other areas could be a massive issue altogether.

So what we do is do a bit of a countdown this time of year. However, let's just look at the information. We have all the councils listed on the left hand side. If you want to use this and want to understand the timescales and you don't know which Local Authority area a particular property is in, as ever of course, get in contact, pick up the phone, we're more than happy to answer that for you and help you understand the turnaround times.

On the left hand side here then of course we have the council and we have the working days turnaround time here, so 20 working days for a Council Sourced Search and 17 working days for a Regulated Local Authority Search.

So just to explain, working days, if you look at Ashfield Council, if we order a search on a Friday, the chances are we'll have that back the following Friday. That'll be in, submitted and then placed for booking, if they can get an appointment, on that Friday fine, if not they may do it first thing Monday morning in which case they'll get that completed within those five working days for the next Friday.

Conversely if we look at of course the Council Sourced Search, we place an order on that Friday we're looking at 23 working days, that doesn't sound very long until you appreciate it's working days, so that's over four and a half weeks. So, that obviously does represent a three week longer delay in getting that search back. So the importance of understanding.

So again, we can see here Ashford 35 working days, 16 working days for a regulated local Authority search, Barnsley Metropolitan 35 working days for a Council Sourced Search only six working days for a regulated. So in some instances it's quicker to go down the regulated route and in other instances it can be quicker to go down the direct from the local authority. So Charnwood Borough here you'll see seven working days to get an Official Local Authority Search back for whatever reason it may be down to restrictions in numbers, restrictions in access, whatever it may be, that's 30 working days to get a Regulated Search out, so 23 working days longer.

So, that's the information that's on there.

This is updated every single Tuesday and if you have the need to understand search turnaround times over above just the one transaction you're looking at then please feel free to subscribe to this in which in case you'll get that in your email inbox every Tuesday; so quite useful if you're an estate agent or a developer or an investor and you're buying properties all over the place and you just want to be kept up to date with the the turnaround timescales then this is a useful resource for you.

I do hope that was useful.

As ever we'll keep you up to date with other products and other things of use over the coming weeks.

Take care"


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