Bridging Loan Solicitors: Can they speed up my bridging loan?

By Stephen Clark | Tuesday 1st November 2022 | 10 minute read

The speed of bridging loan completion is determined by the loan requirement complexity and the stakeholders' circumstance, capability, motivation, and communication effectiveness (borrower, solicitor, lender, and surveyor). Economic factors, such as Bank of England base rate changes or significant fluctuations in the property market, will also influence the speed of loan completion. However, slow valuations and legal work are the most common causes of delayed bridging loan completions.

A solicitor significantly impacts the speed of a bridging loan completion, primarily through efficient document preparation, diligent due diligence, clear communication, strict legal compliance, and smooth transaction finalisation. Their role as a mediator between the borrower, lender, and other parties ensures that legal barriers are minimised, enabling faster processing and resolution of the bridging loan. Choosing a solicitor with experience in property and finance law is crucial for a swift and successful bridging loan transaction.

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

Bridging Loan Solicitors discussing how to speed up a case

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

A solicitor plays a crucial role in 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 improve the speed of a bridging loan completion are faster document preparation and review, accurate due diligence and title checks, clear communication and proactive coordination, legal compliance, and efficient exchange and completion. Let's take a look at each of these factors.

5 Ways a solicitor can speed up a bridging loan
  1. Expediting 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 other required legal paperwork. An experienced, efficient solicitor can expedite this process by ensuring the accurate and timely preparation of the necessary documents.
  2. Accurate due diligence and title checks. A solicitor conducts thorough due diligence on the property used as security for the bridging loan. This includes checking the property's title, conducting searches, and identifying 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, as mistakes cost time.
  3. Clear communication and proactive coordination. A solicitor is a liaison between you, the lender, and other parties, such as estate agents and surveyors. Effective communication and coordination are essential for a smooth and timely process. A proactive solicitor who promptly and fully responds to inquiries will help speed up the loan process.
  4. Legal Compliance. The solicitor ensures 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 specialising in bridging finance is well-versed in these matters and can facilitate compliance to prevent unnecessary delays.
  5. Efficient exchange and completion. The solicitor plays a crucial role in facilitating the exchange of contracts and the 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 in bridging loan transactions and aren't property and finance law specialists. 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

It is important to select a solicitor 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 the 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.

Are you a Solicitor who specialises in bridging?

If you're a solicitor experienced in fast, short-term bridging finance, you can apply to join Finbri's Solicitor panel.

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

While it's not possible to predict with certainty whether a solicitor will delay the bridging loan process, there are 6 key factors that will give you an indication of their efficiency and potential impact on your bridging loan timeline.

6 Considerations when choosing a solicitor for your bridging loan

What 6 things should I consider when choosing my bridging loan solicitor?

Six factors to consider when selecting a Bridging Loan solicitor include whether they're property and finance specialists, able to provide client references, reputable and experienced, good communicators and responsive, have availability, and have a proactive approach. Let's examine these considerations in more detail.

1. Are they specialists in property and finance law?

Ensure that your solicitor has expertise and specialises in property and finance law. This indicates 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.

2. Can they provide 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.

3. What's their reputation and experience?

Research your solicitor's reputation and experience handling bridging loans and 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 will likely handle your case efficiently.

4. Are they good communicators and responsive?

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

5. What is their 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.

6. Is the solicitor proactive?

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.

Ultimately, open communication and collaboration with your solicitor are crucial. Communicate your expectations regarding timelines clearly 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.

How can I find a solicitor who specialises in bridging loans?

The quickest way to find a solicitor specialising in bridging loans is to contact a bridging loan broker, seek a referral from someone you trust who's used a bridging loan or search the internet. Let's look at these in more detail.

Ask your bridging loan broker

Your broker will have access to a network of solicitors 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 as quickly as possible, so ask them for a few recommendations. They should be able to provide you with a list of two or three solicitors they'd recommend.

Ask for a referral from someone you trust

Word-of-mouth referrals are considered one of the best methods for sourcing services. The challenge here is that bridging loan use is not widely talked about among borrowers, so it may be difficult to find someone you know and trust to vouch for a solicitor. 

Search the internet

Search Google for "bridging loan solicitor near me". Check the results for a solicitor who actively discusses the bridging loan service they offer. Click on the websites featured in the organic search results, i.e. below the ads marked Sponsored. Then, cross-reference the company's testimonials on Google Reviews. Once you've selected three companies, enquire by email and see how quickly they respond. The ones quick to respond are more reactive, which is a positive sign regarding them potentially dealing with your bridging loan.

What are the alternatives to using your solicitor for your bridging loan?

The alternative to using your solicitor for your bridging loan transaction is to seek dual representation. This is when your lender's solicitor is also your solicitor; they work on both party's behalf. Ask your bridging Loan broker whether the lender can offer dual legal representation. 

How can dual representation help you get a fast bridging loan?

Dual representation increases efficiency and familiarity with the bridging loan transaction, and conflict resolution is expedited, speeding up the bridging loan process. 

What is dual representation?

Dual representation is when the lender and the borrower use the same solicitor (legal representation) in a transaction, such as obtaining a mortgage or a bridging loan. This means that the same solicitor acts on both parties' behalf, 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:

What are the benefits of dual representation solicitors?

The 3 main benefits of dual representation are that it is more efficient, the solicitor becomes more familiar with your transaction, and conflicts can be resolved quickly. Let's review each of these benefits in more detail.

1. Dual representation is more efficient. 

With dual representation, your solicitor can facilitate quicker communication and coordination between you and your lender since they are directly involved with both parties. This leads to a smoother and faster loan process.

2. Dual representation increases familiarity with your transaction. 

By representing both you and your lender, the solicitor 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. Quicker conflict resolution. 

If conflicts or disputes arise during the loan process, a dual representation solicitor is better positioned to mediate and find a quicker resolution. This can help mitigate delays that could otherwise occur if separate solicitors were involved.

3 Top Risks/Considerations of Using Dual Representation Solicitors

Dual representation solicitors come with potential risks, such as impartiality and the loss of independent legal advice. Let's examine the three most important considerations.

1. The solicitor may not act impartially

Dual representation solicitors must act in the best interests of both the lender and the borrower. However, conflicts of interest may arise, and it is crucial to ensure that the solicitor maintains impartiality and avoids favouring one party over the other.

2. Is the advice you're getting genuinely independent?

Both lender and borrower have the right to independent legal advice to protect their interests. With dual representation, there may be limitations on how much the solicitor can provide independent advice to each party, potentially disadvantaging one.

3. It's not appropriate for every situation

Dual representation may be more suitable for straightforward bridging loan transactions with minimal complexity or conflicts. In more complex cases, where intricate legal issues or negotiations are involved, separate legal representation for the lender and the borrower may be advisable to protect each party's interests.

It is crucial to consider the circumstances of your bridging loan transaction carefully and consult with legal professionals to determine whether dual representation is appropriate. 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 my 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 the necessary 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 loan approval and funding. Choosing a lender with a reputation for efficient and timely processing is advisable and to inquire about their current workload and turnaround times before proceeding with an application.
  5. Legal and Conveyancing Process: Involving solicitors and conveyancers can impact the speed of the bridging loan process. Engaging experienced professionals 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, such as other lenders, solicitors, or surveyors, can also affect the timeline. Regular communication and follow-up with all parties can help identify and address potential bottlenecks.
  7. Loan Complexity and Amount: The complexity of the loan, such as whether it's a regulated or unregulated bridging loan or its value, 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 valuation reports, assessment, and approval. Regulated loans require additional borrower affordability checks. Larger loan amounts may involve more stringent due diligence and approval processes.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, a solicitor's expertise and efficiency are pivotal in expediting the completion of a bridging loan. Key factors include swift document handling, thorough due diligence, effective communication, stringent legal compliance, and adept management of the final transaction stages. Choosing a solicitor experienced in property and finance law, with a proven track record of responsiveness and proactive problem-solving, can significantly reduce potential delays, ensuring a smoother and quicker bridging loan process.

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

Final tip:

To help speed up the process, you must also be well-prepared, clear about your requirements and expectations, maintain open communication, and work closely with your broker, lender, and solicitor to understand their requirements and expectations. Ultimately, it would help if you also chose a reputable and efficient solicitor who will work to your timeline.

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