We advise all of our clients who are purchasing properties to visit the property on the ground with the Land Registry plan provided by us in order to check that the boundaries on the ground match those on the plan.
It sounds simple enough, but it is surprising just how many discrepancies there are between what you think you are buying and what the Land Registry believe represents your house or bungalow as the case may be.
The situation was not helped by the introduction of Home Information Packs which, compiled electronically and with little input from the seller meant that often additional pieces of garden were found to be excluded in the Contract packages being sent out to the buyers solicitor. It only took a moments lapse or failure to concentrate on all of the papers supplied to see that in certain cases only part of the property was actually transferred to the buyer! Technically the remaining piece of land remains in the ownership of the original seller which can cause havoc on a future sale.
The same principle applies to smaller pieces of land where perhaps an adjoining owner has been utilising part of the garden for other purposes for many years either with or without the consent of the seller. Do check whether there have been any encroachments on the land from neighbours because if encroachments have been made as of right for a period of 12 years, the neighbours may have acquired the legal right to retain that property and this will therefore be removed from your title.
In view of the purchase price of most properties these days it is surprising that purchasers do not inspect on a more frequent basis but you should have no hesitation in asking the estate agents for a further look around once you have received the report from your Solicitor.