Think Plutus regularly receives enquiries about finding a suitable solicitor to assist with a remortgage and whether it is really necessary!
There are many reasons to remortgage, for example:
- Looking for a lower interest rate or a more competitive product.
- Consolidating short-term debts into your mortgage repayments.
- Releasing equity to finance another property purchase or rental investment.
Here we have clarified why you need a solicitor to remortgage your home, the purpose they serve, and how to make smart choices about selecting legal conveyancing services.
What Does a Conveyancing Solicitor Do?
Most remortgages require a solicitor unless it is more a case of just switching lenders, which does not require much in the way of legal work.
Product transfers – moving to a different rate with the same mortgage lender – aren’t technically a remortgage.
Otherwise, you will need a solicitor, particularly if you want to:
- Add an owner to a mortgage, perhaps a new partner or cohabitor. This remortgage constitutes an ownership change or equity transfer, so the solicitor must draw up the ownership documentation and amend the deeds.
- Remove an owner – most often in a relationship separation, when one co-owner moves out, or if you want to remortgage a rental property as a sole landlord.
Legal Requirements for a UK Remortgage
The remortgage process includes a few mandatory checks conducted by an accredited solicitor.
They include ID verifications, leasehold checks if you are remortgaging anything other than a freehold, and bankruptcy searches.
Your solicitor will also:
- Obtain details from the 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 highlight any concerns.
- Run through Land Registry priority searches, looking for anything untoward on the property deeds that have changed.
- Witness your signature.
- Receive mortgage funds, use them to repay the pre-existing loan and transfer any surplus to your designated account if you’re releasing equity.
- After completion, file the remortgage with the Land Registry, confirm that the old mortgage has been settled, and update the legal title for your property.
Remortgage lenders have a few of their own requirements, such as valuing the property, which they will normally do before they issue a formal remortgage offer.
Legal Fees To Expect During a Remortgage
Average remortgage legal fees are somewhere around £850 – £1,500, but that depends on factors such as:
- The value of the remortgage product.
- Any complications involved with ownership transfers.
- The speed at which lender documentation becomes available.
- The nature of property searches required by you or your lender.
- Whether your remortgage is to buy out an ex-partner or previous partial owner.
Conveyancing itself costs between £300 and £1,000 in most cases, plus £20 to £910 in Land Registry charges.
The other searches, including a bankruptcy search and priority search, cost £2 and £3 respectively, plus £3 to £12 to issue an official title copy.
How Long Do Remortgage Legals Usually Take?
Remortgaging usually takes about a month or two. A lot depends on the scenario – if you are remortgaging onto a different product with the same lender, it is often much quicker.
That is because they can skip over a fair few of the verification steps since they will already have ID and financial records on file, to an extent.
We would recommend leaving a good two months to complete a remortgage if you have a finite timescale or want to finalise the new agreement before a fixed-rate term expires.
The Downside of Free Legals for Remortgaging
Now, some brokers or lenders will offer a remortgage package that includes free legals – but it’s not always a freebie worth having!
The issue is that you get what you pay for in the real world, and that’s absolutely true of conveyancing work.
Unfortunately, if it is free, it is probably going to be painfully slow and as basic as it comes. You get what you pay for.
Choosing a Reputable Remortgage Solicitor
Think Plutus is not keen on low-quality legals for many reasons. Our role as a private broker is to guide you through the process and identify the optimal products and lenders for your requirements.
Decent legal support is pivotal to completing quickly.
Our approach is to look at mortgage products that offer lender cashback, which you use towards your solicitor’s fees.
That solution means the solicitor acts for you (not your lender!) and will be on your side if any delays or issues come up, which can occur more often than we would like.
If Think Plutus recommends a solicitor, we will also be on hand to steer you through, provide updates and chase for progress, all part of the service in ensuring your remortgage is a stress-free experience!
For more info about the typical costs associated with remortgaging, please visit our guide on, Remortgage Fees and Costs. This guide runs through the average prices and a breakdown of what a conveyancing solicitor will charge for, step by step.
To discuss your remortgage requirements or ask for advice about finding a quality solicitor, please get in touch, and we will arrange a good time to talk.