What is the Remortgage Conveyancing Process?

Remortgage conveyancing process

Remortgage conveyancing is faster than the conveyancing process for buying or selling a property. Your remortgage solicitor will usually be able to complete the remortgaging process within a few weeks.

The process for remortgaging a property is similar to a house sale or purchase, with a few key differences:

  • There is no buyer or seller on the other side, and no chain, meaning fewer delays waiting for responses
  • Most lenders only require a regulated local authority search or indemnity policy, so you don’t have to wait weeks for official searches

This article sets out the remortgage conveyancing process for a standard property, and includes a few tips to help the process complete faster.

Check ID

Once you have applied for a new mortgage and instructed a remortgage solicitor, you will need to complete ID checks.

Your solicitor will usually need:

  • 1 form of photo ID (e.g. a valid passport)
  • 2 proofs of address (e.g. a utility bill or council tax letter)

Your solicitor will verify your identity using an online service that costs approximately £8 per individual.

Please note: If there is more than one person named on the mortgage and property deeds, each person named will need a separate ID check.

Check source of funds

If you are paying off part of your existing mortgage, your solicitor will also need to check the source of any funds you are using. This check is required by law, and is intended to prevent money laundering.

The documents you need to prove the source of funds will depend on the source. Your remortgage solicitor will provide you with details of the documents you will need, which could include:

  • Savings - You will need to provide bank statements
  • Pension release -  A copy of your pension statement
  • Property sale - A copy of the completion statement, and a bank statement proving  that you have received the funds from the solicitor who handled the sale
  • Inheritance - A letter from executors confirming how much you have received, and a bank statement showing the fund’s were received from the executor’s account
  • Share sales or dividends - A copy or the share release or dividend certificate and proof you have received the fund from the company

Other sources of mortgage funding can include sources as diverse as lottery winnings and injury compensation payments.

Cash, however, cannot usually be used to repay your existing mortgage as it can be hard to prove where the money came from. If you plan to use cash to settle part of your existing mortgage, your solicitor may be able to advise you further on your options.

Remortgaging with funds from outside the UK

It may be possible to use funds from outside the UK for your remortgage, but some solicitors will not accept funds from certain “high risk” countries. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regularly update their list of high risk countries. The EU also maintain a list of high risk countries.

If you are using overseas funds as part of your remortgage, get advice from a solicitor as soon as possible, and check that you have or can get the required documents to prove to source of funds.

Tip - Gather docs to speed up the remortgage process

You can collect all the documents you think you might need for ID and proof of funds even before you instruct a solicitor.

If you need to move on to a better % interest rate as soon as possible, getting docs ready ahead of time could shave a week or more off the remortgage process.

Check HM Land Registry title deeds

Your remortgage solicitor will obtain title registry documents for your property from HM Land Registry. These title deeds (sometimes called official copies) confirm that you are the legal owner of the property you are remortgaging.

The title deeds also set out any restrictions or charges registered on the property.

Restrictions and charges are recorded at the Land Registry to ensure that other parties who have a right to benefit from the sale of the property (like other mortgage lenders) receive their money. The money owed to these parties is repaid first, before you receive any funds.

If you are remortgaging a leasehold property, your solicitor will check the title deeds to confirm that the leasehold title meets your new mortgage lender’s requirements.

The leasehold title deeds may also include covenants that inform your solicitor who they must notify if the charges on the property change or are repaid. The freeholder must usually be notified.

Check mortgage offer

At this stage in the remortgage conveyancing process, your lender will issue the formal mortgage offer to your solicitor.

The mortgage offer sets out what the solicitor must do to satisfy the mortgage lender’s requirements. These requirements are set out in the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) Handbook.

Each lender has a different set of criteria, including many that apply specifically to leasehold properties:

  • Barclays, for example, require 25 years to be remaining on the lease after the mortgage term
  • Metro Bank require there to be 50 years remaining on the lease after the mortgage term

Request current mortgage certificate

Your solicitor will ask your existing mortgage lender to provide a current mortgage statement.

This statement will confirm the amount left to pay on the mortgage. This outstanding balance will be repaid when the remortgage conveyancing process completes.

Local authority searches

The CML Handbook also sets out what property searches your solicitor must carry out.

Unlike the full set of environmental, chancel and drainage and water searches required to buy a property, most lenders only require a local authority (LA) search.

Official LA searches can take weeks to process, but a regulated search will usually be faster and cheaper. Your solicitor will confirm which type of search is required.

Remortgage search indemnity policies

Depending on your new mortgage lender’s criteria, you may be able to take out indemnity insurance instead. An indemnity policy is usually cheaper and faster than even a regulated search.

OS1 priority search and bankruptcy check

Your solicitor will then take out an OS1 priority search.

The OS1 search stops any other charges being registered against the property. This ensures that the registered title cannot be changed until after the remortgage process has completed. 

Your solicitor will then carry out a bankruptcy check to confirm that none of the legal owners are bankrupt.

Send certificate of title

Once your solicitor is satisfied that you and the other registered owners of the property all meet your new lender’s criteria, and that the property itself meets the lender’s requirements, you can agree a date to complete the remortgage process.

Your solicitor will send a "certificate of title" to your new lender and will request that the lender releases the remortgage funds. 

Completion

Before completion, your remortgage solicitor will send to you a statement confirming:

  • The outstanding balance that you must pay to complete the remortgage, or,
  • The money you will be paid once the remortgage process completes

The statement will set out the mortgage advance from the new lender, but will also include an itemised list of other fees incurred during the remortgage process, such as:

  • Your remortgage solicitor’s legal fees
  • HM Land Registry fees
  • Local Authority search fees
  • ID and bankruptcy checks

Once your solicitor receives the mortgage funds from your new lender and they are ready to complete, your solicitor will use these funds to repay (redeem) your current mortgage. The funds will also be used to settle their bill for legal fees and disbursements.

If any money remains (for example, you may have taken out a larger mortgage to fund the construction of an extension), these funds will be paid to you.

Post-completion

Your solicitor must register the new mortgage at HM Land Registry.

HM Land Registry may take some time to update the title register to confirm the new mortgage. This process can take months, particularly if the property is leasehold, but it usually happens “behind the scenes”, and will not affect the date your new mortgage rate starts.

Leasehold-related delays can also be caused by late payment of ground rent and service charges, or where the freeholder is refusing to release their notice until service charges are paid.

Read more about how long remortgage conveyancing takes.

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Helen Goddard, Legal researcher

About the author

Helen is an award-winning legal researcher and author. She is an experienced court litigation report proofreader and has written extensively on legal matters.

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