Mortgages & Homes
Guides and tools to help you get the best deal on your mortgage
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With 1,000s of mortgage deals out there, it's important to get it right. If you know the type of mortgage you need, our best buys tool shows you what's available. If you're not sure, it's best to read more on mortgages – this page will help you find the right guide.
How to find a cheap mortgage
Interest rates are at the highest they've been for many years, so getting the right mortgage can save you £100s each month.
Our guide talks you through how to find the best deal, where to look for a good mortgage broker and other key need-to-knows.
What type of mortgage should you choose?
Fixed rate or variable? Repayment or interest-only? Flexible features? There's plenty to navigate when deciding on the type of mortgage that'll suit you best. So before you dive into interest rates and fees, our guide outlines the different types of mortgages available and how the features differ.
Why use MSE's Mortgage Best Buys tool?
Whether you're a first-time buyer, looking to remortgage or planning on moving home, we aim to bring you the strongest selection of mortgage best buys. We include all deals available to brokers and, crucially, direct-only deals too.
You can also get started with our MSE affordability calculator if you want a good idea of how much you might be able to borrow.
Struggling to pay your mortgage?
High interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis means more people are struggling to pay their mortgage.
Reassessing your finances should be the first step. But where you need extra help there might be other options available – such as lender support, benefits, state support and insurance. Our guide takes you through it.
This is the percentage of the property value you're loaned as a mortgage – in other words, the proportion you're borrowing.
To calculate this, simply subtract your deposit/equity as a percentage of the property value from 100%. So if you've a £60,000 deposit on a £300,000 home, that's a 20% deposit. This means you owe 80% – so the LTV is 80%.
Read more on how to calculate your LTV.
Your LTV has a big impact on the kind of interest rate you might be able to get on a mortgage. That's because mortgage and remortgage rates are priced in the LTV bands – and the bigger deposit/equity you have, the lower the interest rate will be.
See what the main LTV bands are in our How much can I borrow? guide.
Yes, your 'creditworthiness' is one the two big factors which dictate whether you'll be accepted for a mortgage (the other being your 'affordability') – and one of the main ways a lender judges your creditworthiness is by looking at what's on your credit report.
As a poor credit history can scupper your chances of getting a mortgage, before any application it's best to check your credit file (for free) and then read up on how to get your credit report into better shape.
In a word, no. A 'mortgage-in-principle' – or an 'agreement-in-principle' – is a conditional offer from a lender saying you may be accepted, based on a quick check of your income and, possibly, your credit file.
In a heated property market, you are likely to be asked for one by a seller before they will accept an offer. In addition, for first-time buyers, it boosts confidence they'll be accepted. But it offers no guarantees.
Do be mindful that too many of these checks in a short space of time could harm your credit rating.
When applying for a mortgage, you've got two ways of going about it: applying directly yourself, or applying via a mortgage broker. If you're mortgage-savvy, then you might consider applying directly. But for many, applying through a mortgage broker is the most sensible route.
On top of guidance for those who find sorting a mortgage tough, brokers have details of most lenders' acceptance criteria (not usually publicly available), which they can use to place your application with a lender more likely to accept you. Plus, there are some top deals that can only be accessed through brokers.
All mortgage offers last for a fixed amount of time. In the case of major mortgage lenders, an offer tends to last for six months. With smaller brokers, offers might only last as long as three months.
Interest-only mortgages still exist, though these days they are the preserve of higher earners with a large deposit who can provide proof of being able to pay off the entire mortgage balance as a lump sum in future.
For most borrowers, a capital repayment mortgage is the way to go. With this kind of mortgage, you'll be repaying both the capital you've borrowed and the interest due each month (rather than just the interest, as is the case with interest-only), meaning your debt will be cleared by the time the mortgage term ends.
For more on the difference between capital repayment and interest-only, see our What mortgage to choose? guide.
Mortgage deals typically fall into two broad categories: fixes and variables. Read up on how both work in our What mortgage to choose? guide.
Where you're looking to 'fix' your mortgage, you'll need to decide how long you'd like to fix for. For example, two, three, five, 10 years? This is a really important decision to make, and one that – if you get it wrong – could be very costly.
As there are several factors to take into account when working out how long to fix for, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Our What mortgage to choose? guide takes you through what needs considering.
Most mortgage deals allow overpayments – typically by up to 10% of the outstanding mortgage balance each year.
Overpaying could mean you save £1,000s, even £10,000s, in interest, and reduce how long it takes to pay off your mortgage. Yet while overpaying works out for some, for others it's more sensible to save instead. Our Should you overpay your mortgage? guide helps you decide.
Yes, there are various ways of improving your chances of being accepted for a mortgage. These range from quick fixes like getting on the electoral roll to gradually bolstering your credit report.
We've got 18 top tips on how to boost your mortgage chances.
Mortgage & Homes Guides
Are you a first-time buyer? Use our helpful First-Time Buyers' Guide for top tips on boosting your mortgage chances, different mortgage types, the fees you'll likely pay and much more information.
Looking to remortgage? Our free Remortgage Guide helps you weigh up whether remortgaging is the right option for you, discusses ways of getting the best deals and explains how to lock in a deal early.
We've also got other guides with a Stamp Duty Calculator and a timeline to Buying a home, but if you want to jump straight into comparing mortgages, then check out our Mortgage Best Buys tool. We also have several mortgage calculators to help you crunch the numbers.
Moving home? See our top tips in the How to sell your property guide.