Land Registry Priority Searches

A priority search is high on the list of importance when buying a property. Once you have committed to buy the property (exchanged contracts) you wouldn't want anyone else moving the goalposts.

This is where a priority search comes in. It's a request to the Land Registry for an official copy of the title to the property you are buying and is usually done last minute before getting the keys (completion). This is because it ensures and guarantees that no changes are made to that property title while the formalities of the purchase are being wrapped up.

Moving forward to completion and registering your ownership without conducting the priority searches is risky as the priority search re-confirms that the seller has the right to sell the property to you and shows whether anyone has applied any charges to or acquired any rights on the property since the original searches were carried out, which can be weeks or sometimes months earlier.

Once the priority search comes back 'clear' (i.e. it doesn't show anything of concern or untoward) then you get the added benefit of 'priority' for 30 days, which ensures that you get exclusive rights on the title of the property and no one can make any further changes to the register before you are registered as the new owner. For this reason, we, like probably all solicitors and conveyancers, undertake this check to protect your interests.