Bridging Loan Solicitors: Choosing the right one will speed up your bridging loan

By Stephen Clark | Tuesday 1st November 2022 | 9 minute read

The 3 most common delays with bridging loan completions are due to slow valuations, ineffective communication between stakeholders and solicitors.

There are a number of factors that influence how quickly your bridging loan application will take to complete. Your choice of solicitors is absolutely one of them. 

To avoid delays, this useful guide will help you determine whether you've got the right solicitor to help you achieve a fast bridging finance completion. 

A solicitor and 2 business people discussing a bridging loan

How does a solicitor affect the speed of a bridging loan?

A solicitor plays a crucial role in the process of obtaining a bridging loan, and their efficiency can significantly impact the speed at which the loan is completed.

The top 5 ways a solicitor can affect the speed of a bridging loan are:

  1. Document Preparation and Review: A solicitor is responsible for preparing and reviewing the legal documents involved in the bridging loan transaction. This includes the loan agreement, security documents, and any other legal paperwork required. An experienced, efficient solicitor can expedite this process by ensuring accurate and timely preparation of the necessary documents.
  2. Due Diligence and Title Checks: A solicitor conducts thorough due diligence on the property being used as security for the bridging loan. This includes checking the property's title, conducting searches, and identifying any potential legal issues or encumbrances. The speed and diligence with which a solicitor performs these checks will impact the overall timeline of the loan completion.
  3. Communication and Coordination: A solicitor acts as a liaison between the borrower, the lender, and other parties involved in the transaction, such as estate agents and valuers. Effective communication and coordination are essential for a smooth and timely process. A proactive solicitor who promptly responds to inquiries and keeps all parties informed will help speed up the loan process.
  4. Legal Compliance: It is the solicitor's responsibility to ensure that all legal requirements and regulations are met during the bridging loan process. This includes verifying the borrower's identity, complying with anti-money laundering regulations, and ensuring adherence to all relevant legal and regulatory guidelines. A solicitor who specialises in bridging finance is well-versed in these matters and can facilitate compliance to prevent unnecessary delays.
  5. Exchange and Completion: The solicitor plays a crucial role in facilitating the exchange of contracts and completion of the bridging loan transaction. They handle the transfer of funds, ensure all legal formalities are completed, and register any necessary legal charges or documentation. A solicitor who's an expert in bridging finance transactions will confidently manage these tasks.

Should I use my family solicitor to handle my bridging loan transaction?

No, if they do not have experience of bridging loan transactions and aren't specialists in property and finance law. Yes, if they do.

Solicitors with appropriate bridging experience can increase the likelihood of a successful loan application, whether for personal or business needs. Seeking legal expertise often guarantees swift and effective handling of related issues.

How to choose the right solicitor for dealing with my bridging loan transaction

When you're choosing a solicitor it's important to select one with experience in bridging loans, property and financial transactions.

Choosing a solicitor with a good reputation for professionalism and efficiency can help minimise delays and ensure a timely completion of the bridging loan process.

Regular communication and collaboration with the solicitor throughout the process can also help identify and address any issues promptly, contributing to a smoother and faster loan process.

How can I tell if my solicitor will delay the bridging finance process?

While it's not possible to predict with absolute certainty whether a solicitor will delay the bridging loan process, there are some factors to consider that can give you an indication of their efficiency and potential impact on the timeline.

6 Considerations when choosing your bridging loan solicitor:

Reputation and Experience: Research your solicitor's reputation and experience in handling bridging loans, property and finance transactions. Look for client testimonials such as Google reviews, testimonials, or recommendations from trusted sources. A solicitor with a solid track record and positive feedback is more likely to handle your case efficiently.

Communication and Responsiveness: Pay attention to your solicitor's communication style and responsiveness during the initial stages of your engagement. Prompt and clear communication is crucial for an efficient loan completion. If your solicitor is slow in responding to your initial inquiries or fails to provide updates in a timely manner, it may indicate a potential for delays further down the line.

Workload and Availability: Inquire about your solicitor's current workload and availability. If they are handling multiple cases or have limited availability, it could affect their ability to prioritise your bridging loan transaction. Ask about their capacity to handle your case within the desired timeframe and discuss any potential conflicts or scheduling concerns upfront.

Specialisation in Property and Finance Law: Ensure that your solicitor has expertise and specialisation in property and finance law. This indicates that they have the necessary knowledge and experience to handle the legal aspects of your bridging loan transaction efficiently. A specialist solicitor is more likely to be familiar with the intricacies of bridging loans and can navigate the process effectively.

Proactive Approach: Assess whether your solicitor takes a proactive approach to the loan process and general problem-solving. An efficient solicitor will anticipate potential issues, communicate any required actions or documents in advance, and work diligently to resolve any legal matters promptly. A proactive solicitor is more likely to keep the process on track and minimise delays.

Client References: Request references from past clients who have worked with the solicitor on similar bridging loan transactions, including bridging loans. Contacting these references can provide valuable insights into the solicitor's efficiency, professionalism, and ability to meet deadlines.

Ultimately, open communication and collaboration with your solicitor are crucial. Clearly communicate your expectations regarding timelines and discuss any concerns or potential delays upfront. By maintaining regular contact and monitoring the progress of the loan process, you can stay informed and take necessary actions if any delays arise.

It's important to note that some factors impacting the speed of the bridging loan process may be beyond the solicitor's control, such as third-party delays from surveyors or unforeseen legal issues. However, choosing a reputable solicitor with a proven track record can minimise the risk of unnecessary delays and increase the likelihood of a smooth and timely bridging loan process.

3 Ways to find a solicitor who specialises in bridging loans

Google it.

Enter "bridging loan solicitor near me" into Google. Check the results for a solicitor that actively talks about the bridging loan service they offer. Choose to click on the websites that are featured in the organic search results ie. below the ads marked Sponsored. Then cross-reference the company's testimonials on Google Reviews. Once you've selected 3 companies, enquire by email and see how quickly they respond. The ones quick to respond are more reactive, which is a positive sign when it comes to them potentially dealing with your bridging loan.

Seek 'Dual Representation'.

Dual representation is where your lenders solicitor is also your solicitor, they work on both party's behalf. Ask your bridging Loan broker whether the lender can offer dual representation for legals. 

Ask your broker.

Your broker will have access to a network of solicitors that are frequently used to complete bridging loans. They'll also know which ones to avoid through experience. Leverage their experience. Your broker should want to help you complete your bridging loan in as quick a time-frame as possible - so ask them for a few recommendations.

What does dual representation solicitors mean and how can it help getting a fast bridging loan?

Dual representation in the context of solicitors refers to a situation where a solicitor represents both the lender and the borrower in a legal transaction, such as obtaining a bridging loan. It means that the same solicitor acts on behalf of both parties, handling the legal aspects of the loan transaction.

While dual representation can potentially expedite the loan process by streamlining communication and coordination, it is important to consider both the benefits and risks associated with this approach:

3 Top Benefits of using Dual Representation Solicitors

  1. Efficiency: With dual representation, the solicitor can facilitate quicker communication and coordination between the lender and the borrower since they are directly involved with both parties. This can potentially lead to a smoother and faster loan process.
  2. Familiarity with the Transaction: The solicitor, by representing both the lender and the borrower, can have a comprehensive understanding of the transaction and the interests of both parties. This familiarity can help streamline the legal process, reducing the need for additional communication or clarification between separate solicitors.
  3. Conflict Resolution: In the event of any conflicts or disputes arising during the loan process, a dual representation solicitor may be better positioned to mediate and find a resolution. This can help mitigate delays that could otherwise occur if separate solicitors were involved.

3 Top Risks/Considerations of using Dual Representation Solicitors

  1. Impartiality: Dual representation solicitors have a duty to act in the best interests of both the lender and the borrower. However, conflicts of interest may arise, and it is important to ensure that the solicitor maintains impartiality and avoids favouring one party over the other.
  2. Independent Legal Advice: Both the lender and the borrower have the right to independent legal advice to protect their respective interests. With dual representation, there may be limitations on the extent to which the solicitor can provide independent advice to each party, potentially leaving one party at a disadvantage.
  3. Limited Scope: Dual representation may be more suitable for straightforward bridging loan transactions with minimal complexity or conflicts. In more complex cases, where there are intricate legal issues or negotiations involved, separate legal representation for the lender and the borrower may be advisable to ensure each party's interests are fully protected.

It is crucial to carefully consider the specific circumstances of your bridging loan transaction and consult with legal professionals to determine whether dual representation is appropriate for your situation. If you decide to proceed with dual representation, ensure that the solicitor has experience and expertise in bridging loan transactions and is committed to upholding their professional duties and obligations to act in the best interests of both parties.

What else can impact the speed of me getting bridging finance?

Several factors impact the speed at which you'll be able to obtain bridging finance.

7 key factors that influence the speed of getting a bridging loan:

  1. Documentation Preparation: The speed at which you can gather and provide the necessary documentation plays a significant role. Lenders typically require various documents such as identification, proof of income, property details, valuation reports, and legal documents. Being organised and promptly providing all required documentation can help expedite the process.
  2. Property Valuation: Property valuation is an essential step in the bridging loan process. The lender needs to assess the value of the property being used as collateral. The speed of the valuation process can depend on factors such as the availability of qualified valuers, property location, and complexity of the valuation. Opting for a reputable valuer and providing all relevant property information can help speed up this step.
  3. Credit Checks and Due Diligence: Lenders typically conduct credit checks and due diligence on borrowers to assess their creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. The speed of these checks can vary depending on the lender's processes and the complexity of the borrower's financial situation. Maintaining a good credit history and providing accurate and complete financial information can facilitate a smoother and faster credit assessment.
  4. Lender's Processes and Workload: Different lenders have varying processes, procedures, and internal workloads, which can impact the speed of the loan approval and funding. It's advisable to choose a lender with a reputation for efficient and timely processing, and to inquire about their current workload and turnaround times before proceeding with an application.
  5. Legal and Conveyancing Process: The involvement of solicitors and conveyancers can impact the speed of the bridging loan process. Engaging experienced professionals who are familiar with bridging loans can help streamline the legal and conveyancing aspects. Efficient communication and coordination with the legal team can also help avoid delays.
  6. Property Chain and Third Parties: If your bridging loan is linked to a property transaction involving a chain of buyers and sellers, delays in the chain can impact the speed of your loan. Any issues or delays with third parties involved, such as other lenders, solicitors, or surveyors, can also affect the overall timeline. Regular communication and follow-up with all parties involved can help identify and address any potential bottlenecks.
  7. Loan Complexity and Amount: The complexity of the bridging loan such as whether its an regulated bridging or unregulated bridging loan or the value of the bridging loan can influence how long the loan takes to complete. More complex loans, such as those involving multiple properties or unique circumstances, may require additional time for multiple valuations reports, assessment and approval. Regulated loans require additional borrower affordability checks. Additionally, larger loan amounts may involve more stringent due diligence and approval processes.

Final thoughts

It's important to note that the speed of obtaining bridging finance can vary depending on individual circumstances and the specific lender you choose.

To speed up the process be well-prepared, choose reputable and efficient solicitors, maintain open communication, and work closely with your broker and lender to understand their requirements and expectations.

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