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Do You Need a Solicitor to Remortgage?

Professional Mortgage Advice

A young couple sat with a conveyancing solicitor

If you’re considering a remortgage, you might not realise that in most instances you will need a solicitor.

What does remortgaging mean?

Remortgaging is when you swap the existing mortgage on your current property from your current deal and existing lender to another mortgage deal with a different lender.

Switching to a different rate with your existing lender is referred to as a product transfer.

Why would you remortgage?

There are many reasons why you may look to remortgage with a new mortgage lender, including:

  • Looking for a lower interest rate to save money
  • Consolidate debts into your mortgage balance
  • Release some equity in your property to finance another property purchase or investment

Do I need a solicitor to remortgage?

In most remortgage cases, you will likely have to pay legal fees and utilise a solicitor, unless it is a simple product transfer which does not require much legal work.

It is common to use a solicitor, particularly if you want to:

  • Add another party to the mortgage, which is often a new partner. This remortgage means you will have an ownership change (a transfer of equity) so the solicitor must draw up new documentation and alter the deeds.
  • Remove an owner – this most commonly happens in the event of a relationship breakdown, where you want may want to remortgage a property as a single owner.

Legal requirements for a UK mortgage lender

The remortgage process includes some legal aspects and mandatory checks conducted by a lender and an accredited solicitor.

They often include ID verification, leasehold checks, and bankruptcy searches.

A solicitor will also:

  • Obtain details from your current mortgage lender, and secure a redemption statement, which clarifies the balance, interest due, and any exit fees.
  • Check the fine print in the mortgage offer terms and share any concerns.
  • Run Land Registry searches, looking for anything unusual on the property title deeds.
  • Check that your signature is witnessed.
  • Receive the mortgage funds to pay back the existing loan, then transfer any surplus to your account.
  • File the remortgage with the Land Registry after completion, confirm the previous mortgage has been settled, and update the legal title of the property.

Lenders often have their own requirements for mortgage applications, such as valuing the property, which they will usually do before a formal remortgage offer is issued.

Which conveyancing solicitor should I use?

Some mortgage brokers will have relationships with solicitors that they may recommend to you, and many lenders may also promote their own solicitors which in some instances may be advertised as ‘Free Legals’.

Often your existing mortgage lender will suggest using its own solicitor to for the remortgage.

This is often a good way for your current mortgage lender to say you’re saving money, but it won’t necessarily result in a quicker service.

The issue is that you get what you pay for, and unfortunately, if it is free, it is probably going to slow the process down with the most basic of services.

High-quality legal support is vital to get things completed quickly.

It’s important to remember that the solicitor acts for you, not your lender, and will side with you if any delays or issues arise.

Your broker will be able to recommend an expert conveyancing solicitor they have had good experiences with previously, but it is absolutely fine to source your own and conduct independent research into who may be best for you.

Millennium Mortgages can advise and assist you in dealing with a local conveyancing solicitor in order to streamline the remortgaging process. We have numerous established relationships with reliable and efficient professionals.

Mark Thurman, Millenium Mortgages

Remortgaging fees: What can I expect to pay?

The average remortgage legal fees vary but are usually around £300 – £1,000 depending on complexity.

All these charges can depend on a number of factors such as:

  • Local area
  • The value of the remortgage
  • Any complications involved with ownership transfers, such as a transfer of equity
  • The speed at which documentation becomes available
  • The nature of the searches required by you, your new lender or your current lender

Any other costs?

Remortgaging should come with fewer legal fees than your initial mortgage, especially if you’re taking out a product transfer with the same lender for the same mortgage amount.

Some mortgage lenders might not charge arrangement fees or a valuation fee as part of the full remortgage package they offer, but you should confirm this before committing.

You may also need to pay a deed release fee, and conveyancing fees will often to charged as a separate fee to conveyancing solicitors as part of your total bill.

Lastly, there might be fees associated with remortgaging early before any fixed term has been completed.

What does a solicitor do in the remortgage process?

Although conveyancing when remortgaging is less complicated than when you purchased your home, it does still involve some legal work.

The work involved in the remortgaging process involves:

  • ID checks to prevent money laundering and check you are the legal owner of the property
  • They will get details of your current deal from your existing lender and ask for a redemption statement. This gives details of how much you owe and if there are any exit fees or early repayment charges due.
  • Leasehold checks will be carried out to check whether a leasehold property is involved
  • Property searches
  • Your solicitor will check through the terms associated with the offer and raise any issues with you and the lender.
  • When you are happy you will sign the new mortgage deed.
  • Your conveyancing solicitor will conduct final checks and a bankruptcy search to make sure you’ve never been declared bankrupt.
  • They’ll also complete a priority search at the Land Registry to ensure nothing has changed on the property deeds since the remortgage process began.
  • On the day your conveyancing solicitor receives the mortgage funds from the new lender, they will then pay off your old mortgage and any fees and send any remaining money to you.
  • Your solicitor will inform the Land Registry that a remortgage has taken place and update the legal title deeds for your home by registering the new mortgage.

How long does remortgaging take?

The conveyancing process when remortgaging takes around 1-2 months to complete.

It’s important to start the process at least three months prior to your current deal expiring to avoid any delays.

Anything I need to do before remortgaging?

Before you go ahead, you should consider the following steps:

  • Check your credit report is in good shape
  • See if your current deal has an early repayment charge
  • Consider getting a mortgage decision in principle to check your chances of being accepted by a new lender

What to do next

If you are considering a remortgage, get in touch with a member of the Millennium Mortgages team today who will be able to offer advice and recommend reliable solicitors if necessary.

Information contained within this blog was correct at the time of publication ( 01/04/23) and is subject to change.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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