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Your home is the most exciting investment you’ll make. Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions.

Author: Carl Shave-Director
Updated on February 6th, 2024

General Mortgage Questions

What is a mortgage?

Very simply, a mortgage is a loan made by a bank or a building society to help finance the purchase of a home. Interest is paid on the loan by the homeowner, and the property is used as security on the loan. So, if you can’t keep up with the mortgage repayments, you risk losing your home.

What types of mortgage are available?

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is to decide whether a fixed rate or variable rate mortgage deal is better suited to you.

  • A fixed rate of interest provides the certainty that your mortgage payments will remain the same for the duration of the fixed rate period.
  • A variable rate is designed to go up and down in line with interest rate fluctuations. The most common type of variable rate is a tracker rate which falls and rises in line with changes to the Bank of England’s base rate, although other types of variable rate are available which may fluctuate in line with a lenders or other financial institutions variable rate. This means there could be times when a variable rate will save you money, and others when it’ll cost you a bit more.

If you think a fixed rate is the right option for you, many of the lowest rates on offer are for two year deals, at which point you’ll need to renegotiate your deal. However, most banks also offer three and five year deals.

If you prefer the sound of a variable rate mortgage, make sure you factor in the additional cost of your repayments if the interest rate were to rise. Tracker mortgages move up and down with the Bank of England base rate, while discounted variable rate mortgages are instead linked to the lending bank’s standard variable rate. You should also check for exit penalties on variable rate deals, as they can often apply.

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How much can I borrow?

Most mortgage providers will be able to give you a good idea of the amount of money you’ll be able to borrow relatively quickly. Lenders tend to use an affordability calculation which takes into consideration not only your various incomes but also your level of expenditure. To find out how much you could borrow, you’ll need:

  • Your income details (i.e. salary, bonuses, overtime & pension)
  • Details on any payments you make on money you’ve borrowed (personal loans and credit card payments)
  • Information about your outgoings (monthly travel costs, council tax, insurance policies, maintenance costs)

Find out how much you may be able to borrow today by using one of our mortgage calculators below.


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How much can you expect to pay in fees?

Most mortgage products have at least one fee attached to them, if not two. Here’s how it works:

The biggest fee you’re likely to pay is the arrangement fee, although it can also be called the product fee, booking fee or application fee. Some lenders can offer low rates, but hike up the cost of their fees to make their products more attractive, so be sure to check out the arrangement fee before you agree a loan. You can expect to pay between £0 and £2,500, which can be paid on the mortgage application or can often be added to the loan.

Some lenders also charge a booking fee on fixed rate, tracker and discount deal mortgages. This could also be called the application or reservation fee. The booking fee will usually cost between £100 and £200.

Some lenders will also charge a valuation fee. This is paid to the lender to cover the cost of valuing the property to make sure the investment is sound. The valuation fee will vary according to the lender, and some lenders will not charge a valuation fee at all. As a guide, be prepared to part with £300-£400 for the most basic valuation offered. It is usually possible to upgrade to a more in-depth survey for an additional cost.

Where can I find the best mortgage deal?

There are a huge number of mortgages available at any one time, which can make it difficult to know whether you’ve found the best deal. The Mortgage Centre’s prides itself on it’s depth of knowledge to research the market on an ‘unlimited’ basis, to find you the best deal.

What is a mortgage in principle?

A mortgage in principle is an indication that a lender could offer you a specified amount, this is based on details you’ve provided about your income, spending and debts.

To find out how much you could borrow today by using one of our mortgage calculators below.

Can I get a mortgage with bad credit?

Having a bad credit history does make it more difficult to get a mortgage, but it will still be possible in the majority of cases. To help your chances of getting accepted for a mortgage with bad credit, here are a few things you can do to improve your credit score.

What is a lifetime mortgage?

A Lifetime Mortgage is open-ended and only comes to an end when you die or move into long-term care. The cash you release from the value of your home can be taken as a lump sum, or as a series of smaller payments to give you a more steady income, known as drawdown equity release. You retain ownership of your home and the right to live there until you move on.

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