I am in the process of selling my house in Portsmouth and the estate agent has just telephoned to warn that the purchasers are changing their property lawyer. The excuse is that the mortgage company will only work with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. On what basis would a big named mortgage company only engage with specific lawyers rather the firm that they want to select for their conveyancing in Portsmouth ?
Mortgage companies have always had panels of law firms that can act for them, but in recent years big names such as Lloyds Banking Group, have considered and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have represented them for decades.
Lending institutions point to the increase in fraud by way of justification for the reduction – criteria have been tightened as a smaller panel is easier to keep an eye on. Banks tend not to reveal how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society claims that it is hearing daily from firms that have been removed from panels. Plenty of firms are unaware that they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyers' case. Your purchasers are not going to have any impact on this.
I am refinancing my property in Portsmouth, does my lawyer have to be on the Clydesdale Conveyancing panel?
In theory, you could use a solicitor that is not on the Clydesdale conveyancing panel, but Clydesdale would require one of their panel solicitors to be instructed to act in their interests, and you'd have to pay for this - so most people instruct a panel solicitor. It's also easier, as otherwise you'd have to deal with two solicitors for the same conveyancing matter.
When it comes to mortgage companies such as Aldermore, do Portsmouth solicitors have to pay a fee to be on the list of approved solicitors?
We are not aware of any lender fees to register on their list of approved firms, although some do charge an administration fee to deal with the processing of the conveyancing panel application.
It is not clear whether my bank requires a lease extension. I have called into my local Portsmouth bank branch on a couple of occasions and was advised it wasn't a problem and they will lend. My Portsmouth conveyancing solicitor - who is on the bank conveyancing panel- called to say that they refuse to lend based on their UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook minimum lease term requirements. Who do I believe?
The property lawyer must follow the CML Handbook section two provisions for your bank. Unless your lawyer obtains specific confirmation in writing that the lender will go ahead, your lawyer has no choice but to refrain from exchanging contract and committing you to the purchase. We would suggest that you ask the bank to contact your lawyer in writing confirming that they will accept the number of years remaining.
Our offer on a semi in Portsmouth has been accepted, but there is a chain. The vendors have placed an offer on a property, but it’s not yet tied up, and are looking at other apartments in the pipeline. I have instructed a bricks and mortar conveyancing solicitor in Portsmouth. What should be my next step? At what stage do I apply for the mortgage with Nationwide?
It is usual to have concerns where there is a chain as you are unlikely to want to be too out of pocket too early (home loan application is approx £1k, then valuation, Portsmouth conveyancing search charges, etc). First, you must check that your lawyer is on the Nationwide conveyancing panel. Concerning the subsequent phase this very much dictated by the uniqueness of your transaction, motivation for this property and on the state of the market. In a buoyant market the majority of buyers will apply for the mortgage with Nationwide and arrange for the valuation and only if it comes back ok would they request their solicitor to move forward with the conveyancing in Portsmouth.
Are there restrictive covenants that are commonly picked up as part of conveyancing in Portsmouth?
Restrictive covenants can be picked up when reviewing land registry title as part of the process of conveyancing in Portsmouth. An 1874 stipulation that was seen was ‘The houses to be erected on the estate are each to be of a uniform elevation in accordance with the drawings to be prepared or approved by the vendor’s surveyor…’
How does conveyancing in Portsmouth differ for new build properties?
Most buyers of new build property in Portsmouth come to us having been asked by the seller to exchange contracts and commit to the purchase even before the house is ready to move into. This is because developers in Portsmouth typically acquire the real estate, plan the estate and want to get the plots sold off as they are building the properties. Buyers, therefore, will have to exchange contracts without actually seeing the house they are buying. To reduce the chances of losing the property, buyers should instruct property lawyers as soon as the property is reserved and mortgage applications should be submitted quickly. Due to the fact that it could be several months and even years between exchange of contracts and completion, the mortgage offer may need to be extended. It would be wise to use a lawyer who specialises in new build conveyancing especially if they are used to new build conveyancing in Portsmouth or who has acted in the same development.
I have checked your search tool I can't find the lawyer I was hoping to instruct as being on the mortgage company conveyancing panel. My lawyer has said that they are on the mortgage company approved panel. How can I be sure given that they are not listed on your directory?
Not all firms are yet listed on our lender panel search tool which is still relatively new. Law firms are listing on a daily basis and it is probably the case that your lawyer is on the lender conveyancing lawyer and you should probably take them at their word. Please do feel free to suggest that they completing their listing on our site as it would only cost them £1 a month to list themselves as being on the bank solicitor panel.