While there is no doubt that surveyors and lawyers provide a valuable service for both the later life lending industry and the residential mortgage market, there is a perception amongst some advisers that they are responsible for many of the avoidable delays that people suffer as part of the application process.
Whether there is a grain of truth in this will depend on who you deal with but recent challenges with an overwhelmed Land Registry and a national shortage of skilled professionals as well as the potential for down valuations and the need to secure tricky legal documents has not helped perceptions. However, I have also found that it can also depend on the individual, their specialism and relationship you build with them.
Working collaboratively may well not remove unavoidable delays but it can help you explain what is happening to a client and ensure that the person you are dealing with realises why your completion date is so vitally important. With this in mind, more2life recently welcomed two new team members in the shape of an experience conveyancing lawyer and surveyor.
While we will continue to work with our valued partners, they will be responsible for driving efficiencies both internally as well as externally in how we approach valuations and the conveyancing process. In this type of buoyant market, it is vital that we work smarter and use the resource that we have at the right stages in the process for best impact.
Which is why as part of their role, they will focus on providing expert support for the trickier cases that due to their very nature mean they will take longer and small challenges can turn into significant delays. Having an expert on hand to help teams iron out these out before they happen and share knowledge is invaluable as is their ability to use their knowledge of the current timescales and capacity at the lender for the benefit of clients.
The words ‘technical special conditions’ understandably can strike fear in advisers hearts but with a conveyancer as a part of the team, the aim is to ensure that everyone understands the impact of these and the process is speeded up by addressing title enquiries at pre-offer stage. Likewise, surveyors can support underwriters in high value cases at both the pre-application and post-valuation stages, to supplement their referrals to funders for approval. Not only can this become almost essential when dealing with unique properties, but can speed the application process for unusual high-value properties in general, too. Moreover, surveyors provide technical expertise to underwriters in the interpretation of post valuation queries (PVQ), which allows the underwriters to word the PVQ appropriately.
Across, the board, access to a range of disciplines internally at a lender means that clients missing a crucial document will no longer trigger the expected wave of delays, as in-house experts can identify missing materials before their absence causes an issue. There are many examples of common errors, for example if a client has changed their name by deed poll so their passport no longer matches the name on their birth certificate. It is easier for all parties if these problems are spotted early in the application process.
With the industry recording a buoyant start to 2022 and the rest of the year – barring significant changes – looking positive, lenders will continue to be under pressure. However, whether it is adding experts to the team, increasing automation or considering any number of other service improvements, it is important that this happens.
As a market, we are growing and we need to build the structures that support this growth.
Stuart Wilson is corporate marketing director at more2life