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Mortgages might seem simple at first glance but when you choose a mortgage, you'll need to think about the repayment method, interest rate deals and special features of some mortgages. The best one for you will depend on your circumstances - so it's best to speak to an Independent Mortage Advisor who will help you to understand your options.

Mortgage rates at a glance

  FIXED TRACKER VARIABLE DISCOUNTED
WHY YOU MIGHT NEED IT Fixed-rate mortgages gives you peace of mind that the rate you pay will stay the same each month until a set date, whatever happens to interest rates generally Tracker mortgages are directly linked to the Bank of England's base rate, so that you have the comfort of knowing you'll always be charged a reasonable rate. Variable rate mortgages are linked to the lenders base rate If you need to save money in the first few years of your mortgage then a discount rate could be the way to go.

Repayment methods

There are two main ways you can pay off your mortgage. These are called 'repayment' or 'interest only'.

Repayment mortgages

With a repayment-type mortgage, the monthly repayment you make to the lender each month consists of the interest you owe plus a little bit of the capital you owe. If you keep up all the repayments on your mortgage, you are guaranteed to have paid off the mortgage at the end of the term. Repayment-type mortgages are therefore the safest option, and are by far the most popular mortgage type in the UK.

Interest-only mortgages

Leicester happy couple happy with their mortgage adviceWith an interest-only mortgage, the payment you make to the mortgage lender each month comprises just the interest you owe them for that month. So you are not paying off any of the capital you owe.

 

When you take out an interest-only mortgage, you are supposed to also make a monthly payment into an Individual Savings Account, endowment or other investment. The hope is that the investment will then generate sufficient returns to pay off the capital sum you still owe at the end of the mortgage term.

However, there is no guarantee of this, so any interest-only mortgage carries an element of risk.

In the boom years of the property market, increasing numbers of first-time buyers took out interest-only mortgages, and have just paid the interest, not paying any money into an investment. With high house prices, this was the only way some people have managed to afford to buy property. When taking out an interest-only mortgage and just paying the interest, borrowers relied on their property going up in value, being able to sell it a few years down the line for a profit, and then buying a property with a repayment mortgage.

But this approach was fraught with risk. Firstly, house prices are not guaranteed to go up - in recent years they have fallen in most parts of the UK. Secondly, many people sort out their mortgage and then forget about it. If you never get around to converting your interest-only mortgage to a repayment-type, and you have no investment fund building up, there is a very real risk that you may get to the end of your 25 year mortgage term still owing all of the capital initially borrowed and with no way of repaying it.

Mortgage risks

To avoid this happening going forward, most mortgage lenders now make it very difficult for borrowers to take out interest-only mortgages. They may demand a very big deposit and/or ask for tangible proof that you have an investment plan in place to pay off the mortgage at the end of the term. And some have stopped accepting plans such as a future inheritance as backing for taking out an interest-only mortgage.

Buy-to-let investors

Buy-to-let investors are the only borrowers who are advised to take out interest-only mortgages with no investment vehicle. That is because the rent covers your interest payments, and the long term plan is generally to sell the property in the future, and pay off the capital at that point.

In general, buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

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