Wondering if you need a conveyancing solicitor when you remortgage?
The quick answer is, it depends.
- No: You won't need a conveyancer if you’re remortgaging with your existing lender (moving to a new deal or rate but with the same lender – otherwise known as a “product transfer”).
- Yes: If you’re switching to a new deal with a different lender, you’ll need a conveyancer to handle all of the legal ins and outs.
Next, you’ll see what a conveyancer does during a remortgage, whether or not you need to use the lender’s conveyancer, how much it can cost, and how long it takes.
Read more: What is a remortgage?
What is a conveyancer?
A conveyancer is a legal professional responsible for the transfer of property from one owner to another or making any legal changes to the title of your property. (You can also get a conveyancing solicitor to do this for you.)
When you’re buying a property, they’ll handle the contracts (the ones that legally transfer ownership), carry out important legal searches, and prepare the funds to be transferred from buyer to seller.
But when you already own your property, and you’re simply moving your mortgage from one provider to another, the conveyancer’s role is slightly different. Let’s take a closer look.
What does a conveyancer do during the remortgage process?
Remortgage conveyancing is less complicated than when you bought your home because your solicitor will be responsible for everything rather than relying on the other side’s conveyancer. But there’s still vital legal work involved and sometimes you still need information from third parties, like the freeholder of the property when switching mortgage lenders.
During the remortgage process, your conveyancer will:
1. Check your ID
If you cast your mind back to when you applied for your mortgage, you’ll remember needing to gather your important documents, including your passport or driving licence and a bank statement or utility bill to prove your identity. Well, it’s the same deal when you remortgage with a new lender – so make sure you have them handy!
2. Check the source of your funds
If you’re planning on using any of your own money rather than just your new mortgage funds to pay off part of your existing mortgage when you remortgage, your solicitor will need to check where that money is coming from (as part of Anti Money Laundering regulations).
3. Check the title deeds
Your remortgage solicitor will get the title deeds for your home from the Land Registry (the government department that registers the ownership of land and property) to check that you’re the legal owner of the property and that everything is OK with the property.
At the same time, they’ll also check that there aren’t any additional charges over your property. A charge is when you secure debt against a property. For instance, you’ll have a charge from your existing mortgage lender (which is removed once you’ve repaid your mortgage). And you may have additional charges if you’ve taken out a second mortgage or a loan secured against your home.
4. Check your current mortgage details
Your solicitor will contact your existing lender and ask for details of your current mortgage. They’ll also ask for a redemption statement, which shows how much you owe and if there are any exit fees or early repayment charges due when moving your mortgage. They will let you know if there’s an exist fee or early repayment charge, but it’s your responsibility to know this and plan your remortgage accordingly.
5. Carry out property searches
Your new lender may want property searches carried out before they lend against your property. This will include compulsory Local Authority Searches – your solicitor won’t let you avoid them, and your lender won’t release the funds for your mortgage until they come back.
Your conveyancer will order these searches and return the results to you and your new lender.
6. Review the fine print of your new mortgage offer
Your new lender will arrange to have your property valued to make sure it’s worth what you’re borrowing from them. Once that’s done, they’ll send you and your conveyancer a remortgage offer.
Your conveyancer will read this and go over it with you in detail before you sign on the dotted line. If you’re both happy with the terms, you can sign the mortgage deed, putting you one step closer to successfully remortgaging!
7. Final searches and checks
Before finalising your remortgage, your conveyancer will carry out a pre-completion search called an “Official search with priority: whole title (OS1)”. This is to make sure nothing has changed on the property deed since the remortgage process got underway.
They’ll also check to make sure you’ve never been declared bankrupt.
8. Send the “Certificate of Title”
Towards the end of the process, your conveyancer will send a “Certificate of Title” to your new lender. This document confirms with the lender that everything relating to the property is acceptable, and they’re happy to lend against it.
Following this, your conveyancer will ask that the new lender release the remortgage funds.
9. Transfer the funds from your new lender to your old lender
Your conveyancer will send you a statement confirming the outstanding balance you have to pay to complete the remortgage (in other words, the amount your new lender needs to pay your old lender).
If you’re remortgaging to release equity (borrowing more against the value of your home and using the extra cash for home improvements, for example), they’ll also confirm the amount of money you’ll receive once the remortgage process is over.
And if you’re paying for the legal fees, you’ll also get an itemised bill, which you’ll need to pay ahead of completion day.
On completion day, your conveyancer will receive the funds from your new lender and transfer them to your old lender to repay your current mortgage.
10. Register the new mortgage with HM Land Registry
Once your previous lender has confirmed receipt of the funds, they will “discharge their mortgage” (in other words, remove their claim to your property). At this point, your conveyancer will inform the Land Registry that a remortgage has been completed and update the title deeds with details of the new mortgage.
Do I need to use my new lender’s conveyancer?
Many lenders offer their own conveyancing service which is free for you. They act for you and the lender but they can notoriously be quite slow so be aware. You’re under no obligation to use the free legal service offered by the lender and are always free to appoint your own solicitor if you want to.
How much does conveyancing cost when remortgaging?
There are several fees involved in remortgage conveyancing, including:
Conveyancer fee - Approx £300 – £1,000+ (depending on solicitor and mortgage balance)
Land Registry fee - £40
Local Authority Search - Approx £250 – £300 (depending on local authority)
OS1 Priority Search - £3
Bankruptcy Search - £2
Official Copy of the Title Deeds - Approx £6
Of course, you may not have to pay the “Conveyancer fee” if your new lender is covering the costs as part of the remortgage deal.
Can I add legal fees to the remortgage?
Nope. If you need to pay the legal fees, you’ll have to pay them upfront. You can’t add them to your new mortgage.
How long does conveyancing take when remortgaging?
It will usually take around one to two months to finalise the conveyancing process when remortgaging. That’s why we always recommend giving yourself around 3 months before the end of your current mortgage deal to arrange your remortgage.
Ready to remortgage? Start by plugging your numbers into our remortgaging calculator or answer a few quick questions to chat with one of our remortgage experts.