I am in the process of selling my apartment in Bristol and the EA has just text me to warn that the buyers are changing their property lawyer. The reason given is that the bank will only work with property lawyers on their approved list. Why would a major lender only work with specific law firms rather the firm that they want to select to handle their conveyancing in Bristol ?
Lenders have always had an approved set of law firms they are willing to work with, but in recent years big names such as Nationwide, have considered and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for many years.
Lending institutions point to the increase in fraud as the reason for the reduction – criteria have been tightened as a smaller panel is easier to oversee. Banks tend not to disclose how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society says it is hearing daily from firms that have been removed from panels. Plenty of firms do not even realise they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyers' case. The purchasers are not going to have any impact on this.
Some advice if I may. My Bristol conveyancer is assuring me that he is legally obliged toconduct Bristol conveyancing searches becausethe firm are on the Santanderapproved lawyer panel. Is this really necessary?
Unfortunately both you and your lawyer have little choice here. As you are obtaining a home loan with a mortgage company your conveyancer has to comply with their conditions as set out in their version of the CML Conveyancing Handbook. Your conveyancer would have previously signed the Terms and Conditions of your lender’s conveyancing panel appointment which obliges them to follow the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ Handbook provisions . Even if you were a cash buyer you would be ill advised not to carry out Bristol conveyancing searches.
Forgive me if this question is silly but I am unseasoned as a first time buyer of a ground floor flat in Bristol. Do I pick up the keys to the premises on completion from my solicitor? If so, I will use a High Street conveyancing solicitor in Bristol?
On the day of completion you do not need to go to the conveyancers office in Bristol. Conveyancing lawyers for you will transfer the completion advance to the vendor’s lawyers, and once they have received this, you will be invited to pick up the keys from the Estate Agents and start moving into the property. Usually this occurs between 1 and 3pm.
I had an offer accepted on a property in Bristol on 27/10/2023, valuation was booked 3 days after, all came back fine. Property lawyer instructed, so the only thing outstanding was my mortgage offer. Having made daily calls to Leeds Building Society and chasing them on my offer, I have now been told that my offer will not be issued unless the lawyer is on the Leeds Building Society conveyancing panel. Can the lender hold off the offer?
Mortgage companies tend not to not issue an offer until they have details of a lawyer on their panel. It can take a few weeks for Leeds Building Society to deal with your lawyer's application to be on the Leeds Building Society conveyancing panel. There's no guarantee that your solicitor will be accepted.
HSBC have agreed my home loan in principle, my offer on a house in Bristol has been agreed to, now what?
Your property agent will need to be advised as to your property lawyer's details (make sure the conveyancing practitioners are on the bank’s panel). Call up HSBC or your broker and finalise any appropriate documentation. HSBC will instruct a valuer who will get in contact with the estate agent or owners to book a slot for the valuation to occur. Once conducted (assuming no problems) it takes on average a week to receive the mortgage offer. HSBC will issue the offer to you and your solicitors. The transaction will then take it’s course according the nature and complexity of the conveyancing in Bristol.
How does conveyancing in Bristol differ for new build properties?
Most buyers of new build or newly converted property in Bristol come to us having been asked by the housebuilder to exchange contracts and commit to the purchase even before the premises is ready to move into. This is because developers in Bristol tend to purchase the site, plan the estate and want to get the plots sold off as they are building the properties. Buyers, therefore, will have to exchange contracts without actually seeing the house they are buying. To reduce the chances of losing the property, buyers should instruct property lawyers as soon as the property is reserved and mortgage applications should be submitted quickly. Due to the fact that it could be several months and even years between exchange of contracts and completion, the mortgage offer may need to be extended. It would be wise to use a lawyer who specialises in new build conveyancing especially if they are used to new build conveyancing in Bristol or who has acted in the same development.
What tools are available to identify a Bristol law firm on the Alliance & Leicester conveyancing panel? I have wheels and am willing to travel upto 20miles to meet the lawyer.
Feel free to make use of the search on this page. Please pick a lender and your location and you will see a number of Bristol conveyancing lawyers locally. We have listed some Bristol conveyancing firms towards the end of this page and you can contact them to see whether they are on the Alliance & Leicester member panel