Couple going through legal documents with solicitor

Do I need a solicitor to remortgage?

author: Fiona Peake

By Fiona Peake

Remortgaging may be a good option if you want to release equity from your home or are looking for a better mortgage deal, but do you need a solicitor for a remortgage?  

If you’re planning to remortgage with your current lender, it’s a straightforward process known as a product transfer, so you won’t need to instruct a solicitor. But if you want to remortgage to a new lender, they’ll want a property valuation and searches, so you may need a solicitor.

How much do solicitor’s charge for remortgaging? 

The costs involved with remortgaging should be less than arranging a purchase mortgage. Solicitor’s fees vary, so it can be helpful to shop around before making your final decision. There may be further costs on top of this to consider as well, like a property survey and any searches required by the new lender. 

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 to this is that they typically don’t use a high-paying solicitor, and 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 conveyancing solicitor on Home Owner’s Alliance , which could speed up the process. 

Other costs to consider if you’re changing lenders 

If you’re remortgaging to a new lender, you may have a penalty to pay for redeeming your current mortgage early, especially if you’re still in the fixed-rate period. Check your mortgage contract carefully as redemption fees can be thousands. If this is the case, it might be worth waiting for your fixed rate period to end. 

Some lenders will charge a fee to release the deeds and transfer them to the new lender.  This could cost up to £300, so check your original mortgage agreement. If there was no mention of a deed release fee, then you shouldn’t have to pay it. 

The new lender may charge an arrangement fee. Some 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. 

Do you need a solicitor to remortgage with the same lender? 

Remortgaging with the same lender is known as a ‘product transfer’. This isn’t a legal process, and it doesn’t require an ID check, as they already know you. Therefore, you don’t need a solicitor to remortgage with the same lender. 

Why would you need a solicitor for remortgaging? 

You’ll need a solicitor if you’re remortgaging to a new lender, as they will require a property valuation and various checks to be carried out. The solicitor will also take care of the ID checks, the transfer of funds (paying off the old mortgage once they receive the funds from the new lender) and the updating of the title deeds with the land registry.  

Remortgage conveyancing timeline and process 

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 to make sure your financial circumstances haven’t changed. 

Remortgaging to a new lender will take longer: 

  • first of all, make sure your credit report is in good shape 
  • start shopping around for the best remortgage deal 
  • check for any early redemption fees (including the deed release fee) 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 may take a little longer 
  • apply for the new mortgage - allow a few weeks for this 
  • instruct your solicitor, or use the lender’s solicitor 

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. 

If you’re remortgaging to a new lender and want to avoid early redemption fees, then don’t start the process too soon as it might complete before your fixed-rate period ends.  

Find out how much a solicitor will generally cost 

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

author: Fiona Peake

By Fiona Peake