When you make a major financial commitment like a mortgage, you'll want to explore all your options. Our table filters allow you to compare types and see rates. Then you can check if you're eligible for deals you're interested in - without hurting your credit rating.
Overall representative example If you borrow £170,000 over a 25-year term at 1.39% p.a. (fixed) for 64 months reverting to 3.59% p.a. (variable) for the remaining term, you would make 64 monthly payments of £671.14 and 236 monthly payments of £819.15. The total payable would be £237,565.36, which includes interest of £66,272, valuation fees of £248 and a product fee of £995. The overall cost for comparison is 2.8% APRC representative.
Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Whether you’re buying a house, unit or flat, most of us don’t have enough money tucked away to cover the full purchase price. In order to get the full amount needed to buy a property, we need to borrow money through a mortgage.
A mortgage is an arrangement where you borrow money from a lender to buy a property, whether as a home or investment (such as a buy-to-let). The term of a mortgage usually lasts between 25 and 35 years.
You’ll usually pay your mortgage off in instalments known as repayments. These are normally required to be made every month.
The government guarantee scheme for 95% mortgages
In the March 2021 Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new government mortgage guarantee scheme designed to help homebuyers with a 5% deposit. Under the scheme, first-time buyers, home movers and previous homeowners with a 5% deposit will now have access to 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages, which had disappeared from the market over the first 12 months of the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme works by providing mortgage lenders with a government-backed guarantee for providing such a high LTV mortgage. The scheme will run from April 2021 to December 2022, and is open to people with a deposit of 5% who are looking to buy a main residential home in the UK, worth £600,000 or less. Learn more about the scheme.
What to consider before applying for a mortgage
Make sure your credit report is in order. You can get a copy of your credit report online. It’s a good idea to make sure your address history is accurate and it also might help to be registered on the Electoral Roll at your main address.
Ensure your ID and address documents are up to date. Some mortgage lenders will ask you to provide proof of ID or address to satisfy money laundering requirements and these must be the original document, not a copy, and be current and valid.
Where is your deposit coming from? All lenders will want to see where your deposit is coming from and whether it is a gift or part of your savings. For example, if the money is coming from your savings account then you will be required to show bank statements as evidence.
Have all your income proof ready. Your lender will want to know how much you earn, so it is a good idea to have your income proof readily available for your application. You may be required to present your latest 3 months payslips/bank statements, or your latest P60. The documents you will need to supply depends on the requirements of the specific lender.
Check your solicitors are on the lender’s panel. Lenders these days are extra careful about which lawyers you are using, in order to target mortgage fraud. Ask your solicitor if they can work with most lenders, and make sure they are a reputable firm.
Are you getting a joint mortgage? Think about how strong your relationship is with the other party. Changes to your relationship could make it hard if one party wishes to sell their part of the property.
What are your plans for the property over the next few years? Match your mortgage to your future plans. For example, avoid taking out a fixed rate mortgage if you plan to sell the property shortly after buying it. Many fixed rate mortgages charge a penalty if you pay them off before the end of the set period which can be expensive.
Are you eligible for the mortgage? Borrowers generally need to be over 18 years of age. There are other requirements too, but these depend on the lender. Some will want you to have a good credit rating. Others might not allow you to buy inner city apartments. Always read these conditions before applying.
In a 2020 survey commissioned by Finder, a third of the 2,000 Brits questioned said that the size of a garden or outdoor space was the most important factor in their decision about which property to buy.
Struggling to understand mortgage jargon?
We know that sometimes it seems as though the financial world operates in a different language altogether, making it hard to understand what you’re getting into when applying for a mortgage. So to help you out, we have created a mortgage A-Z to simplify the terms you’re most likely to come across in your application.
And here, at a glance, are the terms found in our comparison table above:
Initial rate. The interest rate for the fixed-term part of your mortgage deal.
Revert rate (SVR). This is the standard variable rate that you will switch to after your initial rate ends.
Maximum LTV. This is the maximum loan-to-value ratio that the provider will lend on e.g. if you had a 10% deposit, the LTV of your mortgage would be 90%.
Overall cost for comparison. This is indicated using the APRC, which stands for annual percentage rate of charge. Assuming you kept the same mortgage for its whole term (e.g. 25 years), the APRC shows how much your mortgage would cost each year as a percentage of the overall loan, factoring in any fees and a switch to the standard variable rate.
Best mortgage lenders for customer satisfaction in the UK 2021
Customers who’d recommend
As the UK’s second largest mortgage provider, the building society offers a wide number of products, mainly with fixed rates. Founded in 1846 as a mutual financial institution, Nationwide is run for the benefit of its members, and consistently ranks highly for customer service.
Lloyds offers an extensive number of mortgages, which are predominantly fixed term deals lasting two, five or 10 years. It currently lends on loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of up to 90% and is recommended by nine out of 10 customers in our survey.
NatWest is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and has a range of mortgages available, including offset products. Its online features and levels of service were praised by some of the customers in our survey.
The UK’s biggest bank is not one of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders, with fewer specialist products in its range. But HSBC does offer fixed term mortgages at rates that are consistently among the most competitive.
Now part of Lloyds Banking Group, Halifax offers one of the largest number of mortgages from a single lender, particularly in the fixed-rate space. Not always the top ranked for competitive rates, the bank does poll well for customer service.
Santander is another provider offering mostly fixed rate mortgages, and often it ranks highly in best-rates tables. The bank’s customer service performance also generally polls well, reflected in the 84% ‘would recommend’ score in our survey.
Virgin Money first began operating as a bank in 2010, developing its mortgage and saving products before its current account. Predominantly online-based, in 2019 the lender was the first in the UK to launch a 15-year fixed term mortgage.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is part of the same banking group as NatWest. It has a decent number of mortgage products available, which are mainly fixed terms products, although it doesn’t often have the most competitive rates.
Relative newcomer Habito launched in 2015. It’s a digital-only, whole of the market mortgage broker, which means not only does it have access to mortgages from all different UK lenders, the application process can be carried out online.
We asked mortgage holders to rate their satisfaction with the service they had received from their lender, and also whether they would recommend their mortgage provider to a friend. Our independent survey of 893 mortgage customers was carried out in December 2020 – read full details of our methodology here.
We have shown all the star ratings and recommendation scores for the brands listed in the table above, and used these results to decide the winners of our awards (if there was a draw on the star ratings score, we used the “would recommend” percentage as a tie-breaker).
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
Our customer satisfaction scores (“Customers say”) are based on a survey of 893 customers carried out in December 2020.
How to compare mortgages
The introductory rate is one of the most important factors to consider when comparing mortgages, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Here are some other elements to take into account.
1. Term length. Fixed-rate mortgages with longer terms have higher rates, but you’ll be protected against potential rate rises for longer. It’s often recommended to apply for short-term mortgages and remortgage once the introductory term ends, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be in a financial position to be approved for a remortgage at that time, which is another reason why some people prefer the security of long-term mortgages. 2. Extra fees. Most mortgage products will have one-off fees attached to them. These should be considered as well as the interest rate. The best way to compare mortgages is to calculate the total amount you’ll spend during the introductory term. The main fee to look out for is an “arrangement fee”. This often adds up to several hundred pounds, even though some mortgage products don’t include this at all. Some lenders will give you the option to add any fees onto the mortgage, but this should be avoided whenever possible, as it will mean paying interest on them for the entirety of your mortgage term. 3. SVR (standard variable rate). This is the rate you’ll be switched onto after the introductory rate ends. It’s best to remortgage before you’re moved on to this significantly higher rate, but that’s not always possible, so it’s worth bearing this rate in mind. 4. Total repayable. This is the total amount you’ll owe over the length of your mortgage. This won’t be too important if you’re planning to remortgage after the introductory term ends, but it’s still a useful figure to help you compare products. The easiest way to reduce your total repayable is to cut the length of your mortgage. Your monthly repayments will be higher, but the amount of interest paid will drop significantly. 5. LTV (loan-to-value). This is the amount of money you’re borrowing from your lender, expressed as a percentage of your property value. With a higher deposit, you’ll be able to access mortgages with a lower LTV ratio. These mortgages have lower rates, plus you’ll pay less interest in total.
To illustrate this point, our box below shows two scenarios for a property costing £250,000. In the case where the property is purchased using a 20% deposit, the LTV on the mortgage would be 80%. The buyer secures a better interest rate (2.20% in this theoretical example), resulting in a monthly repayment of £867. They are paying £366 less per month than in the second scenario, where the property is bought with a 5% deposit, meaning a LTV ratio of 95%.
Property cost: £250,000
20% deposit = £50,000 (loan amount of £200,000)
Interest rate: 2.20%
Loan term: 25 years
Monthly repayments: £867
Property cost: £250,000
5% deposit = £12,500 (loan amount of £237,500)
Interest rate: 3.84%
Loan term: 25 years
Monthly repayments: £1,233
Largest lenders by market share
Lloyds Banking Group
Nationwide Building Society
Royal Bank of Scotland
Coventry Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
These figures are taken from UK Finance (formerly the Council of Mortgage Lenders) and are based on gross lending amounts.
Best mortgage lenders in the UK by customer satisfaction: A summary
Customers who’d recommend
Royal Bank of Scotland
Frequently asked questions
The amount of money you can borrow for a mortgage depends on your choice of mortgage provider and your personal circumstances. If you have a large deposit and are deemed a responsible borrower, you’ll often be approved to borrow more. However, most mortgage lenders will allow you to borrow no more than 4 to 5 times your annual income.
You can apply for a mortgage by contacting a mortgage lender. This can be done directly, perhaps by visiting a local branch, calling or finding a lender online. Alternatively, you can use a mortgage broker to apply on your behalf.
Your interest rate determines the monthly interest you’ll pay on your mortgage balance. Typically, your mortgage will include an introductory rate for the first few years, which converts to a higher standard-variable rate thereafter.
A mortgage in principle is a guarantee issued by a mortgage lender, stating that it will lend a specific amount of money once you find a property. However, this agreement typically only lasts 90 days and your property will have to pass your lender’s checks.
If you’re planning to move house, you’ll need to notify your mortgage provider. It may be able to port your mortgage onto the new property. If not, you’ll need to remortgage before you move.
From February 2020 to May 2020, mortgage approval rates fell by 87%.
For more property-related statistics, download the PDF below.
Matthew Boyle is a banking and mortgages publisher at Finder. He has a 7-year history of publishing helpful guides to assist consumers in making better decisions. In his spare time, you will find him walking in the Norfolk countryside admiring the local wildlife.
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