Conveyancing when remortgaging

Conveyancing is the legal process involved in remortgaging a property. Knowing what to expect can help to give you peace of mind.

We’ve enlisted the help of industry experts and compiled everything you need to know about remortgaging in this definitive, practical guide.

Deciding to remortgage

Before making the decision to remortgage, it’s important to have a full understanding of the fees you may be charged for leaving your current deal and setting up the new one. These will vary depending on the terms of your mortgage, so it’s important that you speak to your existing lender and your new provider (if you’re changing) for a complete view of all the fees you’ll have to pay.

  • For expert, independent advice on the best mortgage for your personal circumstances, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0808 252 7987.

Initial checks and searches

Once you’ve found a mortgage deal you’re happy with, your solicitor will get to work conducting all the standard checks and searches needed to remortgage the property. These include:

  • Proof of identity – your solicitor will request a form of identification from you as a standard precaution against money laundering.

  • Checking the title deed – this is a document that proves ownership of a property, usually held by your existing mortgage lender.

  • Property searches – some mortgage lenders will ask for searches to be carried out on the property before agreeing to lend you the money. The searches will check for issues such as planning permission affecting the property, building control and environmental factors.

    The searches required for remortgaging are not usually as detailed as they are when you're purchasing a property, and your lender may not require any at all.

    Some lenders will accept search indemnity insurance in place of searches. This is a policy provided by specialist insurers to protect the mortgage lender if no searches are being carried out for the remortgage.

    Usually, search indemnity insurance will only cover the lender, not you, and you will need to confirm that you have no knowledge of any changes to the property or title that might adversely affect its value.

Setting up your new mortgage

Your solicitor will ask your existing mortgage lender for details of your current mortgage. They will also ask for a redemption statement, which gives notice that you wish to pay off the outstanding amount. The statement includes details of what you owe, plus any associated penalties, exit fees or costs.

Your new mortgage lender will then carry out a valuation of the property and make a formal remortgage offer. A copy of the offer will be sent to you and your solicitor, who will discuss the terms with you.

Once you’ve reviewed the offer and are happy to proceed, you’ll need to sign the new mortgage deed.

Final checks

Before requesting the mortgage funds and completing, your solicitor will need to carry out some final checks.

These include a bankruptcy search to check whether you’ve ever been declared bankrupt, and a priority search, which checks that no changes have been made to the property title since the remortgaging process started.

Completion

On the completion date, your solicitor will receive the mortgage funds from your new lender and use these to pay off your old mortgage and any administrative fees. They will then deposit any remaining money in your account.

Once your old lender has confirmed that they’ve received their money, your solicitor will inform the Land Registry of your remortgage and update the title deed with details of your new lender.

The Land Registry will then send a new title deed to your solicitor, who will pass it on to you.

Which? Conveyancing explained

Dos and don'ts

Do:

  • Choose a conveyancer or solicitor offering fixed fees - this will help to keep costs under control.

  • Be clear about costs from the start - use our conveyancing fees guide to help you.

Don't:

  • Assume you need to use a local firm - someone who is efficient and keeps in touch will do the job just as well.

  • Just choose the cheapest option - paying a little extra for an experienced conveyancer is money well spent.

  • Be fooled by extremely low quotes - there are likely to be hidden fees that will cost you more in the long run.

Related FAQs View all FAQS >

Conveyancing is the legal process you have to go through if you’re buying, selling, remortgaging or extending a lease.

Typically, a sale or purchase in England or Wales will take around 8-12 weeks from the moment an offer is accepted to the point of completion.

However, the conveyancing process varies from case to case and it can take longer depending on the complexity of the transaction, the number of people in the chain (if applicable), and how quickly you can respond to queries from your conveyancer.

Typically, a sale and/or purchase in Scotland will take around 4-8 weeks from the moment an offer is accepted to the point of completion.

However, the conveyancing process varies from case to case and it can take longer depending on the complexity of the transaction, the number of people in the chain (if applicable), and how quickly you can respond to queries from your solicitor.

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  • Early-repayment fee

    This is a penalty charged by your mortgage lender if you pay off the mortgage early. It compensates the lender for lost interest.

  • Land Registry

    The Land Registry is the government body that keeps all records to registered land and property in England and Wales. It is divided into regional offices, each with its own Chief Land Registrar.

  • Lender

    A lender is an individual, bank or building society that provides a mortgage loan to a borrower. The borrower will repay the mortgage in regular instalments, usually over a period of five to 30 years.

  • Property title

    The property title will provide ownership details and an accurate description of its location and boundaries.

  • Redemption statement

    This shows the current mortgage balance, outstanding interest, daily rate of interest, and any early repayment fees if applicable. It confirms the exact amount due to fully repay your mortgage on the date the statement is created.

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