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Ready to buy a new home? Failing to check that a lawyer is on the Bradford & Bingley list of approved solicitors can put your transaction at risk of delay or failure.

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My wife and I are first time buyers. Within the 48 hours our property lawyer has forwarded the sale agreement to sign with a detailed report in anticipation of exchanging contracts shortly. Bradford & Bingley have this morning contacted us to advise us that there is now an issue as our conveyancer is not on their approved list of lawyers. Is this a problem?
If you are buying a property with the assistance of a mortgage it is usual for the purchaser's solicitors to also act for the purchaser's lender.

In order to act for a bank or building society a law firm has to be on that lender's conveyancing panel. An application has to be made by the law firm to the lender to become a member of the lender's panel and there are increasingly strict criteria which the firm has to satisfy and indeed some lenders now require their panel members to be part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Accreditation Scheme. Your solicitors should contact Bradford & Bingley and see if they can apply for membership of the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel, but if that is not viable Bradford & Bingley will instruct their own lawyers to represent them. You are not legally obliged to appoint a law firm on the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel and you may continue to use your own solicitors, in which case it will likely add costs, and it may delay matters as you have another set of people involved.

I am buying a brand new duplex and my conveyancer is informing me that she is duty bound to disclose incentives from the builder as her practice is on the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel. I am on a tight deadline to exchange and I dont want to prolong deal. is my lawyer taking the correct approach?
You should not exchange unless you have advised to do so by your lawyer. A precondition to being on the Bradford & Bingley approved panel is to comply with the CML Handbook requirements (last updated for this lender on Bradford & Bingley). The CML Conveyancing Handbook requires that your lawyer have the appropriate Disclosure of Incentive form completed by the developer and accepted by your lender.
How up to date is your database of lawyers on the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel? Do Bradford & Bingley send you an updated list?
The firms themselves provide us confirmation that they are on the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel as opposed to being supplied with a list from Bradford & Bingley directly.
Can you clarify what the consequences are if my solicitor is removed from the Bradford & Bingley Conveyancing panel prior to the moving date as agreed at exchange of contracts?
The first thing to point out is that, this is very unlikely to happen. In most cases even where a law firm is removed off of a panel the lender would allow the completion to go ahead as the lender would appreciate the difficulties that they would place you in if you have ti instruct a new solicitor days before completion. In a worst case scenario where the lender insists that you instruct a new firm then it is possible for a very good lawyer to expedite the conveyancing albeit that you may pay a significant premium for this. The analogous situation is where a buyer instructs a lawyer, exchanges contracts and the law firm is shut down by the regulator such as the SRA. Again, in this situation you can find lawyers who can troubleshoot their way to bring the conveyancing to a satisfactory conclusion - albeit at a cost.
Is the case that all CQS (Conveyancing Quality Scheme) solicitors on the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel?
A selection of lenders now use CQS as the starting point for Panel membership such as HSBC and Santander. CQS membership however is no guarantee to lender panel acceptance. That being said,the CML have indicated that it is likely to become a pre-requisite for firms wishing to join their panels.
My offer on house has been accepted, but there is a chain. The vendors have offered on somewhere, but not been accepted yet, and have viewings of other properties in the pipeline. My conveyancing solicitor has been instructed. What do I do now? At what point should I appy for the mortgage with Bradford & Bingley?
It is usual to have concerns where there is a chain as you are unlikely to want to be too out of pocket too early (mortgage application is approx £1k, then survey/valuation, conveyancing search costs, etc). First you should check that your solicitor is on the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel. As to the next stages this very much depends on the circumstances of your case, desire for this property and on the state of the market. In a hot mortgage some buyers would pally for the mortgage with Bradford & Bingley and pay for the valuation and only if it comes back ok would they pay their solicitor to press on with searches.
My husband and I are remortgaging a terraced house in Hendon. Conveyancing solicitors in Hendon are about to beretained. My agentrecommended that we enquire that the property lawyer in Hendon is on the Bradford & Bingley solicitors panel. Is this right?
It is not that case that all Hendon conveyancing practices are on the Bradford & Bingley conveyancing panel. 7 people a month use our search tool to find a Hendon conveyancing practitioner on the on the Bradford & Bingley approved list of lawyers.