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Legal panel reduces choice

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When looking to buy a home, the first thing most people will, or perhaps should do, is contact their lender to work out how much they can afford to borrow.

However, what they may not consider at the outset is what restrictions the lender may place on the buyer in terms of choosing other advisors once their dream home has been found and an offer has been accepted.

If that lender happens to be HSBC, a recent move by the bank may upset some home movers, for the bank has taken the surprising move of cutting its panel of legal advisors who are allowed to act on property transactions from thousands to just 43.

This unfortunately means if someone is arranging their mortgage with the bank, they will have use one of their selected panel members, or pay additional fees if they want to have the freedom of choice to use their own tried and trusted solicitor.

In Wigan, there are no solicitors on the newly reduced panel. For local buyers using HSBC as their lender to buy their new home, they will be forced to use a panel member who could be miles away and may not be their own choice. Unless of course they are happy to pay more out of pocket expense to have the ability to select their own solicitor to handle their transaction.

There are alternatives though. If a home buyer is not happy to use the legal provider chosen by HSBC, they could try to source alternative lenders and mortgages. We have a network of connections with various independent mortgage advisors who could find alternative lenders.