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I am in the final stages of buying a house. My solicitor has given me bank details and requested that I send the full amount owed for the house + solicitors fees - mortgage. This totals around 120,000 so no small amount of money.

My solicitor seems to think that a direct transfer will be fine. I will go into the bank to do this and request the money be moved personally.

Does this sound acceptable, what concerns me is:

A: The solicitor could have given me anyone's bank details, is this the usual way to transfer the sum needed to cover the house minus the mortgage? (I currently have no reason to distrust them, they seem legitimate)

B: My solicitor has not told me an exchange or completion date, it seems odd to request the money before i have even exchanged contracts.

C: My solicitor wants the full amount now instead of the smaller deposit (10%?) used to tie me in to the contract once exchanged.

This is a UK property

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    B - No you would be provided with dates, before you transfer money. C - Again fishy. The bank will not release the mortgage more than a day before the completion date. I will be quite wary about your solicitor. Are they registered with any of the law body.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 15:47
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    @DumbCoder: The solicitor holds the funds. It's not unusual at all. The smaller deposit is paid much earlier during proceedings. Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 16:16
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit - No the smaller deposit need not be paid so early without even the dates being confirmed. When I bought mine, I believe I paid in around 2-3 weeks earlier(completion date) and I knew my dates. I checked with 2 of my friends also who bought their houses. I am not saying the solicitor is fishy, for sure, but he might be trying to earn some interest on the deposit. And the bank will in no way going to transfer the mortgage funds so early.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 17:38
  • But if the solicitor does ask the bank to release the mortgage amount without even the dates been clarified, I will be very wary. forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2131395
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 17:44
  • Update: The solicitor informed me that she intended to exchange and complete on the date that I would have transferred the money though she said if I preferred I could pay the smaller deposit on exchange and wait a few days for the full completion.
    – lorless
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 10:39

1 Answer 1

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A. Bank transfer is the normal way to do it. The Law Society will (eventually) make good any losses incurred on money held by solicitors acting fraudulently, so your money should not be at risk, provided you make sure to transfer the money to the account number your solicitor gave you.

B. It's not just normal but essential to transfer the money before exchanging contracts, since the deposit has to be paid by your solicitor to the vendor's solicitor as part of the exchange process. You can't wait to pay the deposit until after you've exchanged, because you haven't exchanged until you've paid the deposit.

C. If you really want to put down the 10% deposit now and pay the rest upon completion, that should be possible -- talk to your solicitor about it.

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  • A isn't entirely true. I don't think the 'Law Society` will reimburse in case of the solicitor running away with your money. I have read cases of fraud solicitors running away with client's money.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 15:45
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    @DumbCoder Here's a link to the details of the Solicitors' Compensation Fund: sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/compfund/content.page
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 16:55
  • Wow you have it rough in the U.K. Here in the U.S. you pay a minimal earnest money deposit (I've paid in the range of $500 to $1000) and nothing else gets paid until the day of closing using a wire transfer - at least in all the deals I've ever been a part of.
    – user12515
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 18:31
  • @Michael: Nothing else gets paid to the seller, no, but the money is often held in escrow from a few days beforehand. Which makes sense. Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 18:59
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    @Michael Different system. Making an offer in the US is equivalent to exchange of contracts in the UK -- it's the point at which the deal becomes binding on both parties. Offers in the UK can be extremely informal because they don't bind anyone to anything.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 7:54

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