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The weakest link

bridging finance Oct 30, 2018

If you’re using bridging finance to give you more flexibility (and bigger profits) the weakest link is often the solicitor you choose to carry out conveyancing of your bridging loan.

I’m not about to denigrate solicitors as a profession, they are highly qualified individuals who perform an essential function.  They all have their specialisms and solicitors who are experienced in property conveyancing are not necessarily equally geared up to processing bridging conveyancing at the speed required by the participants in the deal, i.e:

  • The Buyer
  • The Lender
  • The Broker
  • The Agent
  • The Seller

You may be thinking ‘Should I use my usual solicitor for a bridging deal’, but before you decide it’s important to recognise the fundamental differences between mortgage and bridging conveyancing.

  • Mortgages take several weeks (sometimes months) to complete, especially if they’re part of a chain.
  • Bridging can take a few days when all parties are working in unison.

In our experience normal mortgage conveyancing solicitors are rarely experienced with bridging finance and are unable to complete to a deadline.  It may not be an unwillingness, but just that their procedures and model are not geared to work at the speed needed to complete a bridging loan in the restricted time frame that the other parties require.

This means that appointing a solicitor who specialises in bridging conveyancing to get the deal over the line in the required time-frame would be a prudent decision.  However, if you have a solicitor that has provided great service in mortgage conveyancing previously you may want to maintain that relationship.

Often a commercial solicitor is more used to the complexities of bridging conveyancing.  If your normal solicitor is part of a larger practice, it may be worth asking if there is a commercial solicitor in the practice.

Before you consider engaging them to act for you in the matter of bridging conveyancing, or if you are sounding out a solicitor you have not used before, you should ask them these two questions

  1. How regularly do you deal with bridging finance conveyancing?
  2. I need to complete this deal in four weeks (or less), are you prepared to commit to that timescale?

You can base your decision on how comfortable you feel with the answers you get and, if you feel they’re not sufficiently experienced, by all means retain them for your normal BTL mortgage arrangements.  You can always have a different solicitor who is an expert in completing to meet bridging finance arrangements – just for these deals alone.

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