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Majority of conveyancers regularly raise post-offer mortgage queries with lenders

  • 13/07/2022
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The majority of conveyancers are raising post-mortgage offer queries with lenders regarding the speed and outcome of the process.

According to the 2022 Lender Survey conducted by the Conveyancing Association (CA), 25 per cent of conveyancers said they usually made post-offer queries with lenders, while 57 per cent said they did this sometimes. 

When asked what factor would do the most to speed up the process after a mortgage offer has been made, 48 per cent said better communication through lender portals and 36 per cent said improving response times to queries. 

Some 11 per cent called for greater consistency within UK Finance’s Lender Handbook Part 2, while five per cent wanted a standard post-offer referral form to be introduced. 

Of those who mentioned consistency within UK Finance’s handbook, less than half said it needed to be updated. 

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery of The Conveyancing Association, said: “Post-offer queries are a major drain on all stakeholders within the process and it’s obvious from the survey results that a large number of these can be sidestepped with the greater use of upfront information at the point of marketing.  

“This is already on its way thanks to the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team (NTSELAT) project to deliver material information. By having the correct details about a property at instruction, stakeholders can reduce their liability and the resources needed in dealing with the case which will improve the home moving process for all, especially the consumer.” 

Yesterday, NTSELAT published guidance which requires people who list properties on portal sites to provide sufficient information. This includes the property or rental price, the council tax band and tenure information. 

The aim is to improve the quality of the upfront information available to potential buyers. 


Mortgage offer retractions 

The survey also asked for views on the withdrawal of mortgage offers and how often this happened. 

Half of the respondents said they rarely acted on the behalf of a client who had a mortgage offer withdrawn or amended, more than a quarter said withdrawals happened ‘sometimes’ while eight per cent said ‘usually’. 

When asked why mortgage offers had been withdrawn, half of the respondents said it had to do with problems with the property title. Some 27 per cent said the borrower failed to meet affordability requirements, 12 per cent of withdrawals were due to the terms of the lease. Some 13 per cent were for ‘other reasons’. 

Rudolf added: “The most common reason for a mortgage offer being withdrawn is because of title issues, and again if this was known at the outset, then it would be possible to mitigate against such an outcome. 

“We all want to see an efficient, more certain, conveyancing process in action. One that does not take the best part of five to six months, and in terms of the post-mortgage offer process, conveyancers feel better communication and quicker query response times will help significantly.” 


Mortgage technology 

Sentiment towards the use of lender portals was generally positive, with more than 80 per cent of respondents saying they add benefits such as helping them to deal with lenders. Just over half feel the charges to use them are reasonable, however.  

Further, nearly 80 per cent of respondents said having the ability to sign mortgage deeds and transfers using Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) which were accepted by HM Land Registry would improve the customer journey. 

Rudolf said: “It’s positive to see the enthusiasm for QES usage amongst conveyancers from the results, and we are aware 21 law firms are currently signed up to a QES pilot with HM Land Registry, utilising three signature platforms. We look forward to seeing the results of that pilot which hopefully set the foundations for greater QES usage right across the piece.” 

The CA has 200 members who conduct approximately a quarter of all property transactions and 70 per cent of remortgage transactions in England and Wales.


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