The importance of specialist solicitors
Jonathan Sealey (pictured), chief executive, Hope Capital
A bridging loan is not the same as a traditional mortgage, and therefore, the expertise needed to see the process through is not the same either.
For example, if you are looking for a short-term loan, you wouldn’t go to a high street bank, you would approach a specialist lender. Just as the finance is very different with short-term lending, so too is the legal process. Therefore, from a borrower’s point of view, having a solicitor that understands bridging is absolutely vital.
For a borrower looking to obtain a bridging loan, one of their solicitors’ key roles is to ensure all searches are completed and all due diligence is carried out within the required timescales.
It may sound obvious, but it is important that the borrower’s solicitor actually reads what the lender’s solicitors require. In so many cases, solicitors just assume the documents they have – or know they can acquire – will suffice, and then the whole process can be delayed when they realise they are not able to provide the information needed.
Then when you add into the mix the fact that the timescales are so much tighter within bridging finance, if the borrower has a solicitor that is unfamiliar with the process, it can cause delays that ultimately scupper the whole deal.
A good solicitor will know that it is best to avoid a ‘drip drip’ approach. By ensuring they are aware of everything that is required by the lender, they will be more able to provide the full suite of information from the outset. By taking this approach and ensuring they have provided everything the lender has asked for as early as possible, the chances of further enquires from the lender are minimised, which will reduce the likelihood of delays down the line.
Bridging finance does not have to be stressful, but it can be if you don’t have the right people for the job, so borrowers need to make sure their solicitor is set up to deal with bridging cases.
In our experience, brokers are in the best position to offer their clients recommendations for solicitors that are able to provide the expertise, advice and understanding required to complete the loan within the timescales.
Those with expertise in bridging may be more expensive than a high street solicitor but, if you try and cut costs by using someone who is not set up to deal with more complicated cases, their lack of experience could mean costly delays.