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approved by FirstDirect

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

Find an Approved Solicitor on the First Direct Conveyancing Panel

Frequently asked questions relating to the First Direct Conveyancing Panel

For what reasons could a firm of solicitors be removed from the First Direct solicitor panel?
A survey recently commissioned by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority found that three quarters of law firms had been removed from a lender panel. The most common reasons in order are :
  1. Low volume of transactions
  2. the lawyer is a sole practitioner
  3. as part of the HSBC panel reduction
  4. regulatory contact by SRA
  5. accidental removal. We are not aware of the specific or common criteria for removal by First Direct
Can you help?. For no fault of my lawyer but, my purchase conveyancing has been going on for months. The Local Authority Search from First Direct was date stamped random date and we have agreed a date for me to move into the property on 6 months + 3. My solicitor has advised that as she is on the First Direct conveyancing panel she needs to redo the searches as they are now out of date.
A precondition to being on the First Direct approved panel is to comply with the CML Handbook requirements (last updated for this lender on First Direct)which states that a local authority search be not more than half a year old. You should nevertheless ask your lawyer to check whether something called ‘search validation’ indemnity insurance is acceptable to First Direct.
I am planning to acquire a property and need a conveyancing solicitor in Liverpool who is on the First Direct approved. Could you point me in the right direction as regards a firm?
Our service is a directory service for firms who wish to be listed as being on the approved conveyancing panel for First Direct . We don’t recommend any particular firm.
I was expecting to complete on my flat last Thursday. My solicitor is on the First Direct conveyancing panel but has changed address in the past couple of months and had not informed First Direct of their new address. First Direct is now refusing to release my funds until such time as their systems are up to date with the correct details.
This is as unusual as it is unlucky. Most lender Terms of Conveyancing Panel Appointment specifically oblige the solicitor to inform the lender of an address change. Your solicitor needs to treat this with the utmost urgency. Do speak with or register your concern with the senior partner (assuming he or she is not your direct lawyer). Most lenders would be reasonable in this situation and expedite the resolution of this issue. It may be prudent to enlist the help of your local First Direct branch or your mortgage broker to see if they can assist.
I am buying a property where the roof has a solar panel. Solicitors conducting should look into this right? Will my lender First Direct be concerned
As your lender is First Direct your lawyer must to check the First Direct conveyancing instructions contained in the Part of CML Handbook for First Direct . The CML Handbook contains minimum requirements for solar panel roof-space leases, and solicitors are required to report to First Direct where a lease does not meet these requirements. The requirements relate to the installation of panels on properties in England and Wales. The CML are developing guidance for Northern Ireland and Scotland.
It is not clear whether my mortgage offer requires a lease extension . I have telephoned First Direct on various occasions and was told they are content with the situation and they would lend. My solicitor - who is on the First Direct conveyancing panel- telephoned and was told not they would not lend in accordance with their CML Handbook minimum lease term requirements. Who do I believe?
Your lawyer has to follow the CML Handbook Part 2 requirements for First Direct. Unless your lawyer obtains specific confirmation in writing that First Direct will go ahead your lawyer has no choice but to refrain from exchanging contract and committing you to the purchase. We would suggest that you ask First Direct to contact your lawyer in writing confirming that they will accept the remaining number of years left on the lease.
After shopping around on the internet I have found a solicitor having made sure that they are on the First Direct conveyancing panel. Does my lawyer arrange the survey of the property? Or I've digested plenty of mortgage guides,I note that they all recommend that you should get your house surveyed prior to buying it. When I asked my solicitor - who is on the First Direct conveyancing panel - on this she said they don't do this and I need to contract an independent surveyor. Is that normal?
First Direct will need an independent valuation of the property. Your lawyer will not arrange this. Usually First Direct will appoint their own surveyor to do this, and you will have to pay for it. Remember that this is a valuation for mortgage purposes and not a survey. You may wish to consider appointing your own surveyor to carry out a survey or prepare a home buyers report on the property. It is up to you to satisfy yourself that the property is structurally sound before you buy it. If the survey or report reveals that building work is needed, you should tell your solicitor. You may wish to renegotiate with the seller. or Your lawyer will not organise the survey but they may be able to put you in touch with a local one that they recommend. RICS offers a find a surveyor service (just google it) where you can search for a qualified surveyor by postcode. As you are getting a mortgage with First Direct you could contact your them to see if they have a list of approved surveyors.