Bridging is a form of specialist finance, so it’s important you work with experienced professionals throughout the whole process, including your borrower’s solicitor of course.
It is, therefore, a good idea to help your client find a solicitor who will be able to process their bridging loan smoothly, after all sometimes lenders are able to complete a bridging loan in just a couple of days, if the legal work is completed.
Here are our top 5 tips for helping your client choose the right solicitor for bridging:
Make sure they choose someone experienced.
First and foremost, make sure your client knows whether their chosen solicitor is experienced in bridging. Taking out a bridging loan is different to taking out a mortgage in a number of ways.
So, a solicitor that is experienced in standard purchase conveyancing but not bridging may not be used to what a bridging lender requires in terms of checks, searches, and client information. This can cause delays in the process as the solicitor may have to go back and forth between your client and the lender more than necessary.
Check the backlogs/lead times.
We’ve all been frustrated by an email or call from a solicitor stating that they currently have a backlog and therefore are delaying the deal. It’s therefore always worth your client asking the solicitor what their current lead time/backlog is prior to instructing them. This simple question which is sometimes overlooked can save a lot of pain down the road in form of days/weeks of delays.
Make sure their fees are fixed.
Some solicitors provide an estimate on fees because at the beginning it is not known how complex and therefore how time-consuming the purchase will be. Your client needs to beware of solicitors offering estimated or hourly rate fees as these can quickly rise and become very expensive. Ask them to try and negotiate a fixed rate from the start.
Ask them to consider local.
If your client is looking at a nationwide solicitor it is worth considering whether they have an office local to the borrower. Most solicitors have adapted to video calls post COVID but it can still be easier if signatures need to be witnessed if your borrower is able to reach the solicitor’s offices. Likewise, your client can avoid any lengthy postal delays if they are able to pop in when required.
Ask the lender for their recommendations
Finally, it’s worth asking the lender if they have a list of recommendations, these are usually comprised of solicitors that have done the job well with that lender previously, which adds a level of assurance for the borrower.
Of course, the final choice will always remain with your client. But offering your client advice with the above points in mind can help guide them through what can be a difficult and or costly decision.