Why Do You Need A Solicitor To Remortgage? (2022)

There can be several reasons why you’re wanting to remortgage including releasing equity from your property, trying to reduce your monthly payments or just that your fixed rate is coming to an end. Whether you need a conveyancing solicitor to help in the process can be a valid question as does seem like an expense that can be avoided.

You need a conveyancing solicitor during a remortgage to handle everything from ID checks to registering changes with the land registry. This work needs to be done, however, you may be able to avoid paying the expense personally.

In this post, I’ll run through what a solicitor does on a remortgage, how much they usually charge in fees and potential ways to pay for the services including even avoiding the cost entirely.

What Does a Solicitor Do On A Remortgage?

A conveyancing solicitor will handle all the legal aspects of remortgaging your property as well as keeping you updated on progress and offering support by answering any questions you may have.

Here are some of the activities that a Solicitor needs to do during a remortgage.

  • ID checks
  • Anti-money laundering checks – confirm you’re the legal owner
  • Review the current mortgage terms by asking for a redemption statement from your current lender and highlight any fees that will become due
    • Exit fees
    • Early repayment charges
  • Property searches – if required by lender
  • Process valuation document carried out by lender
  • Review new mortgage document – flag any issues or concerns to you
  • Bankruptcy checks to make sure you haven’t declared bankrupty
  • Priority search at the land registry to ensure nothing has changed without you being aware
  • Manage signature process – signing the new mortgage deed
  • Completion process – they receive the mortgage funds from the new lender and transfer them to the old lender to pay off your old mortgage.
  • Registering changes with the Land Registry – provide an update that a remortgage has taken place and update the title of your property with the new mortgage.

As you can see quite a lot of tasks need to be done when remortgaging your property. However, whether you actually need a solicitor in all scenarios I’ll run through below.

why do you need a conveyancing solicitor to remortgage

Do You Have To Use A Solicitor To Remortgage?

You only need a solicitor to remortgage if you’re moving to a new mortgage deal with a different lender. If you’re remortgaging with the same lender, you won’t need a solicitor as this is known as a product transfer which significantly reduces the requirement for due diligence.

When you remortgage with a different lender, then you need a conveyancing solicitor to perform all the legal and due diligence checks. However, your new lender may offer to pay for this service as part of your overall remortgage fees which can help reduce the overall cost of the remortgage.

How Much Are Solicitors Fees When Remortgaging?

Conveyancing Solicitors fees range from around £400 to £1,200 for a residential property when remortgaging. These include costs that the Solicitor will need reimbursing for to collect various information as well as paying for their time to complete the process.

This is broken down into various searches and checks shown below.

Conveyancing Solicitor FeesCost
Conveyancing fee (time)£300 – £900
Land Registry fee£25 – £750
Official Copy of Property Title£3 – £12
Bankruptcy search£2
Priority search£3

These are the fees if you pay for your conveyancing solicitor yourself. Some lenders will cover this expense within their various charges for taking on the mortgage.

There is usually less work to do on a remortgage compared to setting up a new mortgage as a lot of the due diligence will have already been done as part of the original mortgage, which is usually why some mortgage lenders will offer to pay this themselves as an incentive to remortgage your property with them.

Can You Add Solicitors Fees To Your Remortgage?

No, you cannot add your solicitor fees to your remortgage balance as you have to pay your legal fees upfront. As the solicitors and legal fees need to be paid upfront, they’ll already be paid before any remortgage balance is agreed upon.

If you use the mortgage lenders’ solicitors, that means you won’t incur any legal fees for remortgaging so won’t have anything to pay in the first place and you avoid the costs entirely.

Even though you can’t add your solicitor’s fees to your remortgage balance initially as they need to be paid upfront, you can request a withdrawal of mortgage funds, effectively being reimbursed and increasing your total borrowing. Mortgage lenders sometimes allow you to withdraw a few thousand during a remortgage to pay for certain expenses. If this is of interest, speak to your mortgage broker or lender to see if this is possible.

Should You Use The Mortgage Lender’s Solicitor?

There are benefits to using the mortgage lender’s solicitors, mainly that they usually don’t charge anything so you can save £300 to £1,200. Also being part of the lending company will allow them to be more aware of the processes in place as well as have more visibility on the progress.

However, there can be some significant disadvantages to using your mortgage lender’s solicitor, which I’ll run through below.

  • Reduction in urgency to complete. Although the legal team will be chasing, a lot of their work may come from a that single lender so they’ll want to keep them happy. This can lead to a reduction in pressure to complete and higher likelihood of delays.
  • Under-qualified legal staff. To help reduce costs, allowing them to offer the service for free, the legal team may be using under qualified or inexpereinced staff to process your remortgage. This can lead to delays that wouldn’t have happened with a more experienced legal team.
  • Delays leading to increased costs. Even though your solicitors fees may be free, if delays cause you to move onto a higher variable rate of interest or your remortgage offer expiring, you could end up paying more than going with your own solicitors. Make sure you understand the cost you may incur if there are any delays in the process.

There’s no right answer to whether you should use the mortgage lender’s solicitor. You mainly have to balance it with how urgent you need the remortgage application to go through and whether paying for a separate company to actively apply pressure will help in your specific situation.

How Long Does Remortgage Conveyancing Take?

The conveyancing activities when remortgaging can take anywhere from a few weeks to three months. A lot of this will depend on how fast other third parties are in processing the various checks and searches. Remortgaging with the same lender will also speed this up as communication between lenders doesn’t need to happen.

As the remortgage process can potentially take up to three months to fully complete, the earlier you start the remortgage process the better. This will give you time to review all of your options so you can ensure you’re getting the right mortgage product as well as not running the risk of moving onto the higher variable rate and paying more money in interest payments unnecessarily.

I’ve written a post about how soon you can remortgage before your fixed-rate ends that you may find useful.

Other Fees Involved When Remortgaging

Unfortunately, solicitors fees aren’t the only costs you’ll incur when going through the remortgage process. Below I’ll quickly run through some other costs you need to be aware of.

Early repayment charges. If you’re remortgaging within your current fixed term agreement there could be early repayment charges of between 1% and 5% of the total amount borrowed. Make sure to check this as these costs can add up to quite a significant amount, even for an average property.

Exit fees. These exit fees are to close your old mortgage product and are usually incurred when you switch lenders.

Broker fees. If you use a mortgage broker to help you through the remortgage process, they may have fees that they’ll charge you directly. However, a lot of mortgage brokers are now offering their services for free and collecting their money through commissions.

Valuation fees. This is a valuation done by the lender to have a local expert confirm the price of the property. This can sometimes be free when remortgaging or may not need to happen if you’re remortgaging with the same lender.

Booking fee. When you submit your mortgage application, the lender can charge a booking fee usually between £100 and £250 pounds. This can also be known as an application fee or reservation fee.

Arrangement fees. This is the fee paid to your lender to take out the product which can be up to £2,000. Some mortgage products can have zero arrangement fees.

Summary

Overall, if you are remortgaging with a different lender then you need to use a conveyancing solicitor. However, if you’re remortgaging with the same lender, this is only considered to be a product transfer that doesn’t require a solicitor.

When remortgaging, a lot of lenders will provide legal services for free, however even though they’re free, make sure you’re fully aware of whether any delays could cost you more than going with your own solicitors in the first place.

Another big expense when remortgaging can be your mortgage broker fees. I’ve written a post explaining how much mortgage brokers charge, including what they receive in commissions that you may find useful. Knowing this can help you decide whether they’re worth the expense or whether the money is better off in your pocket.