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Chose Your Solicitor Wisely When Buying Or Selling A Residential Property


Well we would say that wouldn’t we! But it’s not just a ruse to get you here.  Helen Hutchison explains why.

When acting for a home buyer who is taking out a mortgage, it has been usual for many years for the same solicitor to also represent the mortgage lender in the transaction.

This is because both a buyer and mortgage lender have a common interest in ensuring that there are no title issues which could prevent the future sale of the property. Such transactions are known as ‘joint representation’ transactions.

In the past, conveyancing solicitors were appointed to most lenders’ general conveyancing panels, which meant that your chosen solicitor would usually act for the lender and one overall fee would be charged.

However, some mortgage lenders have had growing concerns with levels of mortgage fraud and poor conveyancing practice so, as a result, have limited the number of firms that can act on their behalf.

This ‘separate representation’ approach means that they will appoint a solicitor to act on their behalf and the buyer can instruct their own solicitor. When a lender takes this approach, the buyer’s solicitor will advise them throughout the transaction by checking the contract documentation, organising searches and providing any other information required.  However, they would also be required to provide copies of this documentation to the lender’s solicitors, who will then check they are satisfied with the information.

Solicitors acting for a lender may raise further enquiries before confirming that they are satisfied with the information provided. A buyer’s solicitor will not be able to exchange contracts on your behalf until the lender’s solicitor has confirmed approval.  Remember, the involvement of a lender’s solicitor in the process may lead to a longer pre-exchange process and you may be asked to bear the cost of the lender’s solicitor.

At Irwin Mitchell we already have experience of acting for purchasers whose lenders instruct their own panel firm. So contact the Conveyancing team on 0114 274 4551 for more information.