Do my solicitor and mortgage broker need to be based either near me or near my properties, and the answer in both cases is no! But, let’s just think about this.
Firstly, let’s deal with mortgage brokers because I think that is very easy. A mortgage broker nowadays can do most of what they need to do either on the telephone or online so it is completely irrelevant where the mortgage broker is based and they don’t need to based near the properties that you are buying, simple as. I’ve dealt with mortgage brokers for many years who I’ve never met and it doesn’t matter. They can still do what they need to do, we can do it all on the phone or we can do it by email.
So, no the mortgage broker doesn’t need to be anywhere near your properties, they just need to be able to raise the finance. You want a whole of market mortgage broker and hopefully a mortgage broker who is an investor in their own right so they understand what you’re trying to do.
Now with a solicitor. In theory the solicitor does not need to be near your properties and does not need to be near you, but there can be advantages because although it’s the 21st century dragging the legal system into the 21st century is quite hard.
There may be times when you have to go to the local solicitor, or a solicitor to sign papers, for example if you’re taking out a mortgage and the mortgage company want you to give a personal guarantee. There’s a whole load of form filling and you need to have the forms witnessed in front of a solicitor.
Some solicitors are actually catching up with the fact that we have moved on and so they will do that kind of thing on facetime or on skype, but not all will. Some are horrified at the idea that some will, so I am not going to say who does it just in case the law society start contacting me saying ‘who’s doing this because we don’t approve of it’.
But it’s such a sensible way of doing it because if you’ve already got a good relationship with your solicitor and they know you then you could go on to Facetime or Skype and you could witness documents with them that way. I don’t see the problem and I’m sure that in time it’ll become an accepted thing but not all do it.
There is an argument perhaps for being able to access your solicitor to be able to sign papers should you have to. But to be honest I don’t think it makes that much of a difference. There are ways and means around it. Even if you don’t get the opportunity to go to your solicitor who is acting for you but you may be able to make an appointment with the local solicitor to get them to witness the documents, for example. There are ways and means around it.
So, in theory no, but there can be some practical reasons why it could be useful, but it wouldn’t be the thing that would make them make the decision. What would make me make the decision to use a particular solicitor would be how effective they are and that would actually come before price.
Price is good if they’re going to do it at a good price but what I want is a solicitor who is going to act quickly and a solicitor who does what I want them to do. So often I find them having a tug and war with solicitors where they want to do things their way and I’m trying to get them to do things my way and it doesn’t really meet and that can be very frustrating.
Here’s to successful property investing.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
Chartered Surveyor, author and property investor
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