The lender said the move to accept the insurance had been made as a result of the very high demand local authorities are seeing for searches as buyers look to beat the Stamp Duty holiday deadline. The demand levels, coupled with staffing issues due to the pandemic, have resulted in local authorities taking longer to return the search results and putting those purchases at risk.
Purchases and remortgages of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) and multi-unit block (MUB) properties are excluded from this new approach however.
In addition, while Covid-19 remains a concern, Foundation has said it will accept search expiry insurance for purchase transactions where searches have reached their six-month maturity.
The lender has also made a host of process simplifications in a bid to speed up processing. These include removing the need for a limited company funding declaration for buy-to-let borrowers, removing the automatic request for bank statements on owner-occupier cases and adapting the residential portal process in a bid to make the affordability and deposit requirements easier, reducing the time needed for underwriting.
Foundation said that these changes have already meant it has doubled the rate of offers issued.
George Gee (pictured), commercial director at Foundation, said that while the lender cannot guarantee that all existing cases will complete before the Stamp Duty deadline, it can simplify its processes and redeploy resources in order to give each case the best chance of getting over the line.
He continued: “We know this is a team effort from all mortgage market stakeholders and that the pressure is on to complete cases before the deadline; we believe that streamlining the process this way will help intermediaries considerably in getting their clients’ purchases to completion within the timescale required while still allowing us to welcome new business now and as we move into 2021.
“It should mean our intermediary partners can build a strong pipeline of new business to carry them beyond March and we believe our new fee-assisted remortgage products will help them do just that.”