Panellists bemoaned long, drawn-out conveyancing processes, slow response times and poor service.
One new-build specialist said: “I would rather have red hot needles poked through my finger nails than recommend customers use a free legal facility.”
She said buying or selling a home was already stressful, “so why make it worse for borrowers by recommending a service that does not deliver?”
A specialist lender on the panel said he read Trustpilot reviews after borrowers have used his firm to take out a mortgage. One of the most common gripes was the conveyancing process they had to go through.
Another new-build specialist for a high street bank said the bank had improved its new-build application to offer turnaround times and was now focused on the post-offer-to-completion stage.
He said the bank was conscious that questions at this stage needed to be answered swiftly and the bank was working with its technical team to improve. It aims to respond to questions from conveyancers within two days.
The service offered by conveyancing factories or solicitors instructed through a free legals scheme has been much criticised.
Speaking on Mortgage Solutions Television at the start of the year, LSL director of mortgage services David Copland said brokers who would rather recommend their clients pay for their conveyancing, even when there is a free legal option, said they find it difficult to get the decision agreed by their compliance team.
In a recent Mortgage Solutions report, Jane King, mortgage and equity release adviser, Ash Ridge Private Finance , said she was pleased some mortgage lenders had extended the term of their mortgage offers from 90 days to 180 days because the “terrible service,” received when borrowers chose free legals caused such delays.
One of the panellists at The British New Homes Mortgage Senate said if borrowers chose to use the same solicitor recommended through a lender’s free legals scheme, but paid for the conveyancing work instead, they would received a much better service.