Far more… site visits

Far more… site visits image

As an agricultural property solicitor, I am privileged to live and work in a beautiful part of Dorset.

One of the many benefits of my work is the opportunity to visit some lovely parts of the English countryside acting on sales and purchases and other land related matters.

Recently, I visited a local dairy farm and I was lucky to be shown around by the seller, whose family have been at the property for a number of generations. They had a wealth of experience and knowledge about the farm which I found invaluable.

During my farm visit, it got me thinking about the importance of a site visit when you are buying and selling any type of property, whether it is a farm, a parade of shops, a large house with land, or a potential development site.

Clients are accustomed to their appointed land agent/surveyor attending the Property in order to advise them properly in relation to matters relating to its value/condition but they should also encourage their Solicitor to meet them on site too.

There are so many legal elements to a transaction involving the sale or purchase of a property, but carrying out a site visit allows us to ascertain so much additional information that is not readily apparent from looking at plans, title deeds, replies to standard enquiry forms and search results. Examples of information that can be apparent from site visits can include;

    • Access – what is the access like? Is it private or off the public highway and are there any gaps, which might be/become ransom strips.
    • If the access is private then it is also important to know who owns, maintains and uses the access and what the state of repair is like to see whether there may be a big repair bill coming and whether the deeds reflect what is actually happening on the ground.
    • Electricity Pylons/Telegraph poles/water troughs on the land may mean that wayleaves are in place which are not shown on the deeds and for which payments may be made. They also may give some indication as to services that might be available should parties intend any form of development and will also indicate the possible presence of underground services that may affect what can be done to/and or on the surface of the land.
    • Signs of 3rd party occupiers/encroachment onto the land i.e. caravans, animals grazing, fly tipping/waste dumping or a well- trodden path that the owner does not believe to be a public footpath but which might indicate rights are in the process of being obtained.
    • Neighbouring property – are there any signs of issues for example overgrown/poor boundary maintenance, gates/fire escapes leading onto the property being bought/sold where rights of access are not obvious from the title deeds.
    • Checking Boundaries – are there any obvious boundary issues e.g. a moved fence, which does not match the boundary plan or gaps or discrepancies between what you see on the ground and the agents plan.
    • What buildings are on the Property in addition to any main house? Are there any extensions/outbuildings for which planning may have been required? Is there any business use, which may need planning?
    • Is there any visible flooding?
    • Are there any trees, which may have tree preservation orders on them?

Site meetings can often speed up a property transaction and the help the parties really focus on those important matters.

At Farnfields, we encourage clients to meet us on site so that we can provide them with a truly rounded legal service. Please do get in touch if we can help.

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