Couple checking the legal title of a property they intend to buy. SAM Conveyancing's guide on getting a Title Check Search
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The Title Check Report examines your property title and flags any risks, such as covenants or charges.
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Title Check Search

(Last Updated: 26/10/2023)
5 min read
Before purchasing a house, you should always get a property checker carried out. Inspecting the legal title is an essential step in the conveyancing process, as it ensures your purchase is risk free and your investment is protected.

What is a title check on property?

A title check, also known as a title checker conveyancing search allows for a buyer to get a snapshot of a property before they commit to making an offer. It offers information about the ownership, a check if property is freehold or leasehold as well as detailed information about its use and any potential risks.

It leaves you to interpret the information yourself and then decide whether the property is worth buying, or if you might put in a lower offer. It can be used for properties in England and Wales.

Key findings in a title checker search

  • Names of the legal owners
  • Check freehold or leasehold
  • Grade of Title - absolute, possessory, etc.
  • First registration date
  • Ownership details including cautions, existing charges, multiple titles, notices, restrictions, (if leasehold) lease term and leasehold information
  • Use of property including easements, provisions, restrictive covenants, rent charges, third party interests
  • Flood risk
  • ChancelCheck risk (liability for the upkeep of the local church)
  • Guidance on effects to the mortgage from the CML Lender's Handbook
  • Draft indemnity policies for defects in the title
  • Land Registry Office Copy (online title deeds)

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How long does a title check take?

The turnaround time for a title check is 2 working hours. This makes it extremely useful, especially if you're buying at auction, as you can get information about the legal on the same day.

The TitleChecker inspects the Mortgage Lenders Handbook Parts 1 and 2 so if there is a mortgage lender's charge registered over the title it can confirm what issues will be flagged in the title that'll impact a specific mortgage lender.

TitleChecker offers a summarised result for each of the above sections, itemised clearly at the top of the report. The overview analysis of each component is listed below. Where the report requires attention or is critical, a more detailed analysis with actions to consider are provided.

Title Checker Conveyancing Search by SAM Conveyancing: Validated/No entry on Title - There are no adverse matters on the title. Attention Required - There is a discrepancy between the instructed information compared to the file OR there is an element of the title that is deemed adverse. Critical - There is an element of the title that has fundamental issues with it

What are the Pros and Cons of Title Checker?

  • Speed - you can get a quick snapshot of a property's title on the same day (often within minutes).
  • Save time with defective titles - find out if the property has a defect today, instead of weeks down the line after you have instructed solicitors and paid for property searches.
  • Budget for the indemnities - with the draft indemnity policies you can budget for these costs if you proceed with the purchase - you may even be able to get the seller to pay for them.
  • Reduce your purchase price -armed with the knowledge of what the seller bought for and the issues with the legal title you can negotiate the best price with the seller.
  • Highlights mortgage lender issues - find out what parts of the legal title are going to be a sticking point for your mortgage lender.
  • Misinterpretation - you might not understand the information in the report.
    This might lead to you deciding  to buy a property which has a defect or deciding not to and missing out on what could prove to be a worthwhile purchase.
  • Can't ask questions - the report presents information, however, you might still need a solicitor to provide answers to questions arising.
  • It doesn't include everything - you are still advised to buy conveyancing searches (such as the local authority and drainage) and a structural survey.

Does TitleChecker replace the conveyancing solicitor?

While a Title Check Report can provide a snapshot of the legal title, highlighting issues and offering indemnity solutions, it won't replace a conveyancing solicitor during the transaction. A conveyancing solicitor will review the Land Registry Title (often called the title deeds) and not only tell you about the defects but also work toward fixing any issues they find.

In the case of a mortgage purchase, you'll also need a conveyancing lawyer to act on behalf of your mortgage lender and to receive and send the money to the seller's solicitor.

What is clear though, is that if you quickly want some great inside knowledge about the property you are buying, should you be buying at auction, for example, then a Title Checker Search can help.

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  • Flags restrictive covenants
  • Easy to read
  • Shows charges (mortgages)
  • Cheap so can get for multiple properties
  • Delivered within 24 hours (normally within the hour)
£66 INC VAT Sent normally within hours of instruction

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Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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Couple checking the legal title of a property they intend to buy. SAM Conveyancing's guide on getting a Title Check Search

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