One of the first steps of the mortgage process is choosing the right solicitor for the job. This is very important, as your solicitor will act for you and your mortgage lender.
This article details the importance of choosing the right conveyancing solicitor for your needs and how this decision can impact your house purchase.
What is the lender’s panel, and why is it important?
There are over 100 mortgage lenders in the UK. Each mortgage lender has a list of requirements that a solicitor must comply with to be chosen to represent them. Every mortgage lender will have a list of approved solicitors they are happy to work with.
If a solicitor firm is or is not on the panel of a particular lender, it is not typically a reflection of the firm’s competence. However, each lender typically requires that a firm meet specific requirements to represent them. Panel requirements are varied but sometimes include that a firm be accredited by the Law Society’s Quality Conveyancing Scheme (CQS), of which Bookers and Bolton hold this CQS accreditation.
If your chosen solicitor is not on the lender’s panel, they will need to instruct another law firm who is, to carry out the legal enquiries on the lender’s behalf. Subsequently, this will create unnecessary extra work, be more costly and could prolong the mortgage process.
Therefore, it is vital that you choose the right solicitor at the start of your mortgage process, ensuring that your transaction is smooth and as cost-efficient as possible.
Why do lenders need their own solicitors?
Given the lenders’ role in the mortgage process, ensuring that their needs are met, and their security is maintained in the transaction is essential.
When acting on their behalf, a solicitor will investigate the property, ensuring that it is worth the loan they will provide. In addition, the acting solicitor will help the lenders check whether their mortgage is registered against the property at the end of the purchase to avoid fraud risks.
Furthermore, a solicitor representing the lender will be responsible for updating them on any change of circumstances, such as the buyer’s income changing during the purchase, information about borrowed money from friends and family and information about changes in the price of the property.
How to avoid choosing the wrong conveyancing solicitor
You must conduct thorough checks on the solicitor you plan to proceed with. DO NOT assume that a solicitor will check if they can act for your lender when taking you on as a client. If you know who your lender is at this purchase stage, it is best to ask the solicitor if they are on the lender’s panel.
Please note that some firms do not maintain a central lender panel membership list, which means that there are cases where the problem only becomes apparent once the lender makes a formal mortgage offer.
One way to avoid potential problems regarding your choice of solicitor is to speak to your lender and ask for recommendations. By doing so, you are given a choice of solicitors that are already on their list and can compare quotes and services without worrying about whether they meet the lender’s requirements.
Alternatively, you can use the LenderPanel search engine to enter your lender and the area you live in, which will point you to a list of solicitors you can choose from.
Bookers & Bolton Conveyancing Solicitors
Bookers & Bolton Solicitors is a Conveyancing Quality Scheme accredited firm listed on many of the major lenders’ panel lists. We provide residential property services to clients buying or selling a freehold or leasehold property across Alton and Hampshire.
When working with us, our team will explain the processes involved every step of the way and ensure that both you and your lender are represented fairly.