Choosing the Best Solicitor for your deal
Solicitors form a fundamental part of the process in securing and completing any type of property finance deal from Bridging Loans to Development Loans and Commercial Mortgages. Even if this is your very first deal having a knowledgeable solicitor on your team can prove to be invaluable. They are the ones who are going to ensure that you are protected during the transaction.
Below are some tips for choosing the best Solicitor for your deal.
Firstly, make sure you are choosing a solicitor who is local to you. Lenders will need you to go and sign relevant documents as part of your loan. It's advisable to choose one that is easy to get to, rather than a solicitor who lives miles away and means a day's travel to get to just to spend five minutes in the office. This will just add unnecessary delay to the completion of the loan. With the current pandemic, some Lenders are allowing these meetings to take place over a video conference, but no one knows whether this practice will be allowed to remain outside of the pandemic.
Most lenders will insist that you instruct a Solicitor who is employed by a firm that has 3 SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) partners as they set a code of conduct that those regulated by them must abide by in order to provide a legal service. They also ask for a firm with multiple partners to ensure that if a Partner were to go on holiday, you are still covered through the backup of other Partners in the firm. You can visit the SRA’s website in order to search a law firm to see how many partners are SRA regulated before appointing one.
It is also advisable to pick a solicitor who is familiar with all aspects of the process involved in different kinds of property finance. Some Solicitors or Conveyancers are specialists in commercial, whereas others are specialists in residential transactions. By using a Residential Conveyancer for a commercial transaction, you may be causing yourself unnecessary delays. The longer it takes, the more it will cost you. If they are unsure what they are doing it might mean them dragging their heels a bit while they figure out what is needed from them. It is important to remember that while you are paying for their services you must also pay the lenders solicitors fees, which is a cost that could potentially increase if your solicitor is proving to be slow. Commercial Solicitors/Conveyancers are best placed to deal with Bridging and Development Finance transactions. Whereas Residential Solicitors/Conveyancers will be best placed for personal mortgages and Buy to Lets.
Don't be afraid to chase them daily if needed. At the end of the day you are paying for their service so you are entitled to ensure they are getting the job done in a timely manner. Some lenders will offer dual representation. This is where they will appoint a firm of Solicitors that will represent both you and them. This can speed up the process and bring the costs down for you. It is worth asking the lender about dual representation before you appoint your own solicitor.
Written by Rebecca Skellett & Alison Dalton