The Question ….

We are in the process of buying our first property and have just been told that our solicitor is not on the “lenders panel”. What does this mean and can it affect our purchase?
— Hatty in London

The Answer ….

Hi Hatty,

Thank you for your question. This is actually a great question and one I’m glad you have asked. It is not widely publicised or talked about when buying a property, but essentially your lender or mortgage provider also needs legal representation as part of them lending you the money to purchase your property. It is very common for your solicitor to also act for your lender as part of this process, but occasionally some lenders will insist on separate legal representation from a law firm that is approved or part of their lender conveyancing panel. This often results in additional costly legal fees.

How does my solicitor join my lender’s conveyancing panel?

To act for your lender as well, your conveyancer or solicitor must be part of your particular lender’s approved conveyancing panel. An application has to be made by your solicitor’s to join your lender’s conveyancing panel. There is often procedures, rules and requirements that your chosen legal firm must satisfy in order to act for yourself and the lender. Every lender has different requirements and criteria and do not provide a comprehensive list of firms you can use, which again is not very helpful for anyone looking to find a conveyancer that can handle their purchase, but also be sure they can work with their lender as well.

Why do lenders have conveyancing panels? Why do lender panels exist?

Lenders operate conveyancing panels to reduce the risk of fraud, but to also ensure high standards for conveyancing transactions involving their bank, building society or lender. By imposing strict guidelines and requirements to firms that they work with, clients can feel safer in the knowledge that a firm has achieved a certain standard to work with your lender. Most lenders will not insist on something call CQS (Conveyancing Quality Scheme) accreditation from the Law Society.

Can we carry on using our solicitor anyway?

You can continue to use your existing solicitor, but be mindful that you will probably have to pay for your lender’s conveyancing / legal representation as well as part of your purchase. These fees can vary from as little as £150, right up to £1000 as an extreme case. There is no regulation on these lender conveyancing fees and can often leave a big hole in your moving budget.

If you do not use an approved lender panel conveyancer, this could cost you more for them to have independent legal representation.

Lender Conveyancing Finder – Compare Quotes Online

Luckily there is a service online that allows you to find a conveyancing solicitor to help you buy your property, but also allows you to filter the results to firms that approved or can work with your specific lender. This will ensure you get a fixed fee conveyancing quote, but you will also not have any nasty surprises further down the line of having to pay for your lenders legal fees.

Some of the more popular lender panel conveyancing finders are listed below …

I hope this helps Hatty and good luck with your purchase 🙂

Previous post

How much should you haggle down the asking price of your new home?

Next post

This is the most recent story.