What does a Mortgage conveyancer /solicitor do when a property is purchased and how does this effect my house purchase chances?
My role as a Mortgage Broker is to obtain finance to purchase a property requires me to keep you updated until the mortgage is agreed. Mine and the lenders charges are clearly specified at outset. This approach is what my customers expect however unless my recommended solicitor is used I cannot say whether these professional standards will be followed through to completion.
A conveyancer /solicitor normally takes over mortgage process once I have obtained a Mortgage Offer from the lender. It is their responsibility to see the process through to the satisfactory conclusion of the mortgages funds being released. Their role is to a degree shrouded in mystery to those have not experienced a home purchase before. How so? Well unless you are a solicitor you are probably unaware of what goes on behind the scenes to get the ownership agreed i.e. the legal process and charges, so in this article I will attempt to break this down.
Choosing the right legal firm to represent you for a mortgage
If you have not already selected a solicitor for your transaction then I can help, and all of my contacts abide but the following core principles that I would recommend:
- Conveyancing Quote – Beware don’t just look at the headline price!
First of all I would like to start off by stating the old saying: “you get what you pay for” certainly rings true when it comes to a home purchase legal service. The turnaround times are key in a market where house prices are rising. Vendors will not wait forever and demand is high. I regularly witness clients lose out on their dream property because they have decided to choose a cheap option in an attempt to save a few hundred pounds, which is not a lot in the scheme of things, bearing in mind the magnitude of the home buying transaction.
Purchases can be complex and time consuming and if your designated legal firm does not have a good process in managing cases this can get very messy. Importantly I would not rely totally on online comments about a ‘firm’ as most will have good and bad said about them, and to a degree are always subjective. The key would be to avoid certain individuals within the firm if they have personal comments about their capabilities.
- A minimum of 3 practising partners on the Law Society Register (and ideally 4).
This demonstrates the firm has a suitable size to provide comfort to the lender. In practical terms is also means they are equipped to cover holiday periods.
- On the lender’s panel.
A simple first question is to find out whether they are able to transact directly with your chosen lender? Many legal firms say they have the relevant ‘agency permissions’ however they often sub contract to another solicitor. This additional layer may elongate the process, be confusing and have you chasing multiple parties.
- Itemised quotation upfront.
If you are using our chosen solicitors we can provide a detailed legal illustration at outset along with your mortgage illustration.
- Named point of contact.
For continuity and ease.
- Accept Broker ID Verification.
As part of the mortgage agreement process your Mortgage Broker will have collected ID and proof of your address. If they have a good relationship with the Solicitor this can be passed on to them saving you the time and effort of going through the same process.
- Administer Broker Fee Collection.
To save you the trouble of arranging payment of the broker fee on completion the solicitor can be instructed to do this on your behalf.
Legal fees and disbursements
There are a number of legal fees that need to be paid to the solicitor of licenced conveyancer in respect of the legal work in purchasing a property. The keys ones include drafting and exchanging the contracts, and registering the new owners with the Land Registry.
The size of their fee will depend upon the value of the property, and the nature and complexity of the transaction. The final bill will include the searches ‘disbursements’, these are expenses incurred by the solicitor on the buyer’s behalf and these typically include the following:
- The Land Registry search – if the land is registered.
- Search of the ‘Land Charges Department’ of the Land Registry- made if land is unregistered.
- Local Land Charges Register search.
- Local authority search.
- Commons registration search.
- Environmental search.
- Company Register search.
- Water drainage search.
- Bankruptcy search.
Other fees in the legal process
- Stamp Duty Land Tax
This is a Government levy on the physical transfer of property from one person to another and is set by the Budget.
- Telegraphic Transfer Fees
On the day the mortgage completes, the proceeds are transferred from the lender to the borrower’s solicitor, and the balance in then paid to the seller’s solicitor to complete the purchase. These payments are made by telegraphic transfer, as the funds need to be cleared immediately. The fee for a telegraphic transfer is normally set at between £25 and £40.
- Title Insurance fees
For quiet some while, insurance products have been used to speed up the process of arranging finance by protecting the lenders against the loss that may incur in the event that a title is found to be defect further down the line.
To get a full and accurate conveyancing quote please click on the below link or call us on 020 7993 2044.
Author: Richard Stokes
Richard Stokes is a partner at Niche Advice who are whole of the market Independent Finance Brokers In London. His role is very much focused on on Mortgage and Insurance products.