Couple going through legal documents with solicitor

Do I need a solicitor to remortgage?

author: Adele Kitchen

By Adele Kitchen

Remortgaging may be a good option if you want to release equity from your home, consolidate debts, or you’re looking for a better mortgage deal with lower monthly repayments. But do you need a solicitor for a remortgage? We look into it. 

What does remortgage mean?

When you remortgage, you essentially switch your existing mortgage for a new deal, without moving house.

Can you remortgage with the same lender?

Yes, this may be possible if you fit their criteria. If you’re planning to remortgage with the same lender, it’s a straightforward process known as a ‘product transfer’. You won’t need to instruct a solicitor or pay any legal fees.  

Can I change my mortgage provider?

Yes, you may be able to change your mortgage provider if you’re eligible to do so, but you’re likely to need the help of a solicitor. 

Why do you need a solicitor to remortgage?

You only need a solicitor or conveyancer to remortgage if you are changing your mortgage provider. This is because the title deeds will transfer from one lender to another. A solicitor will carry out all the remortgage legal work, such as:

  • Verifying your identity
  • Checking title deeds with the Land Registry - to confirm you’re the legal owner of the property 
  • Performing anti-money laundering checks - to confirm the source of the funds being used to clear your existing mortgage
  • Carrying out a bankruptcy search - to make sure you haven’t been declared bankrupt
  • Requesting Local Authority searches - e.g. environmental searches on the local area
  • Checking the new mortgage offer and the sum due to be paid to clear your existing mortgage
  • Receiving and distributing funds between your new and old lender

How much does it cost to remortgage?

If you’re switching mortgage lenders, you will incur remortgage costs, but they should be less than arranging a purchase mortgage.

How much do solicitors charge for remortgaging?

Solicitor fees vary, but you can typically expect to pay around £300-£1000. So, it can be helpful to shop around before making your final decision.

As part of the package to attract new customers, some lenders will offer to pay your legal fees. This will usually involve using the lender’s own choice of solicitor, which can work out more affordable for you in the long run.

The only drawback is that they typically don’t use a high-paying solicitor, so progress may be significantly slower.

If you don’t mind paying the legal fees yourself, you can use a solicitor you already know, or look for a conveyancer on Home Owner’s Alliance. This could potentially speed up the process.

Other costs involved in remortgaging

Let’s look at some other charges you need to consider. Bear in mind that the fees you’ll need to pay to remortgage will vary depending on which lender you switch to.

Early repayment charge

If you’re switching mortgage lenders before your existing mortgage term ends, you may have a penalty to pay. Not all lenders will charge a fee, but it’s worth checking your existing mortgage contract carefully to be on the safe side, as early repayment charges can be in the thousands. If this is the case, it might be worth waiting for your fixed-rate period to end.

Deed release fee

When you switch mortgage lenders, some lenders will charge a deed release fee (or exit administration fee) of around £75-£300. This covers the costs involved with releasing the title deeds and transferring them to you. This will be stated in your original mortgage agreement, if applicable. If there’s no mention of a deed release fee, then you shouldn’t have to pay it.

Arrangement fee

Your new lender may charge an arrangement fee (otherwise known as a product fee or completion fee). This can be anything from £0 to over £2,000

Some mortgages don’t have arrangement fees but instead will have higher interest rates, so weigh up which is the most cost-effective option in the long term.

Valuation fee

Your new lender may also request a valuation of your property to see what it’s worth before they agree to approve your new mortgage. Costs can vary between £250-£1,500.

Booking fee

When you submit your mortgage application, some lenders will charge a non-refundable booking fee (also known as an application or reservation fee). It usually comes to somewhere between £99-£250.

How long does it take to remortgage?

Remortgaging with your current lender can be a quick process - sometimes as quick as just a few days, although it’s best to allow a few weeks. They already have your details and an established relationship with you, so this helps to speed things up. They’ll still need to do a credit check though, to make sure your financial circumstances haven’t changed.

How long does remortgage conveyancing take?

Remortgaging to a new lender will take longer. The exact timeline will depend on the number of searches required and how long they take to complete, as well as the solicitor’s workload, which is always worth checking. You should bank on anything from a couple of weeks to two or three months.

Getting ready to remortgage

Before you go ahead, you should consider the following steps:

  • Check that your credit report is in good shape
  • Shop around for the best remortgage deal
  • Check for any early repayment charges with your current lender
  • Consider getting a mortgage in principle to check your chances of being accepted by the new lender – this can usually be done within 24 hours, but sometimes takes longer

Read on to find out how to get your house value before you remortgage

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Adele Kitchen

By Adele Kitchen

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Couple going through legal documents with solicitor Couple going through legal documents with solicitor