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Why moving home with a mortgage will cost more and take longer

Why do some mortgage companies insist you go to one solicitor for your mortgage and a different one for your purchase?

For many years one solicitor would act for both you and the lender because in the main your respective interests would be the similar.    You both wish to purchase a property without any adverse legal consequences.   This is known as a “joint representation” transaction.

The benefit of this is that providing your solicitor was on the lender’s general panel one overall fee would be charged.

However, some mortgage lenders in response to increasing concerns with levels of mortgage fraud and poor conveyancing practice have decided to limit the number of firms that can act on their behalf.

This “separate representation” approach means the lender will appoint a solicitor to act on their behalf and you are able to instruct your own solicitor.   Generally there is no restriction on which firm you choose providing they are on the lender’s general conveyancing panel.  

However there is one lender namely HSBC which has through charging extra legal fees made it very difficult for you to exercise a free choice.  

If you are involved in a transaction where you have two firms of solicitors acting this can often cause delay because your solicitor will not be able to exchange contracts on your behalf until the lender’s solicitor has confirmed approval.

The likelihood is that separate representation is likely to figure more in the future with the consequence of  adding extra expense and time to the  already slow and stressful process of moving home.  

Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

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