Our mortgage guides can provide you with an in-depth understanding of the different mortgages available. So, whether you’re a first time buyer or looking to remortgage your house, our guides can help. Read through our mortgage FAQs and learn everything you need to know to ensure you experience a smooth process.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If your property will have multiple occupants, you must check to see whether you require a license (www. propertylicence.gov.uk). You will find that this will limit the number of lenders willing to consider your application.

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Interest only mortgage

With an interest only mortgage, your payments to the lender cover only the interest on the loan (i.e. they do not repay any of the capital). The total amount of your debt does not reduce over time and the full amount of the loan still has to be repaid to the lender at the end of the term, so you will need to ensure you have that money ready. So you can make this final payment, you can invest so that you generate enough capital to repay the loan at the end of the term. If you choose to invest, […]

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Leasehold

A leasehold building means you have permission to use the property for a certain term, as agreed with the freeholder who owns the land. Typically this applies to apartments, where the freeholder will be responsible for maintaining the common parts of the building (e.g. entrance hall, staircase, roof), for which the leaseholder pays ground rent.

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Legal fees

When you buy a property there is legal work that needs to be done. You will often hear this called conveyancing. You will probably use a solicitor to do this work for you although you can use a licenced conveyancer. Your legal bill will be the fees for the legal work plus other expenses that your solicitor has paid on your behalf, such as searches and Land Registry fees. You may see these additional expenses described as disbursements. Some remortgage deals may include free conveyancing, otherwise expect to pay around £500 + VAT for the legal work plus the cost […]

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Letting agreement

The type of tenancy agreement will influence the number of lenders who will consider lending to you. A six month assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST) is acceptable to most providers. Your choice will narrow if you are considering letting to a local authority, a company or housing association.

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Let-to-buy

A variation on a theme, where you let the home you are currently living in, so that you can facilitate the purchase of your new home. You need to obtain permission to let from your current lender, and they may not agree depending on their appetite for risk. They may also alter the interest rate you pay. You may need to review the market for other options. Your let-to-buy is then treated like a traditional buy-to-let application, and your new home purchase would be a related, but isolated, application. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Let to Buy mortgages

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Life cover

This is cover that pays out on death. Some plans pay upon earlier confirmation of a terminal illness where the prognosis is death within 12 months. It can pay out as a lump sum, or as income for a set period. Cover can last for a set term called Term Assurance, or can last throughout life, called Whole of Life. The amount of cover can remain the same or increase / decrease annually. Level term assurance stays the same throughout. Decreasing cover is sometimes used to cover a reducing debt, such as a repayment mortgage and usually assumes a given […]

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Limited company

Whether you choose to buy the property in your own name, or that of a company, will have tax implications for you. You may also find that some lenders will not lend to a company, or still require a personal guarantee. You should seek professional advice from a tax specialist.

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Loan-to-value (LTV)

Compared to residential lending, loan- to-values are typically lower (75%) to accommodate the perceived higher risk, and need budgeting for in your deposit.

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Mortgage arrangement fees

Unless you choose a lender’s standard variable rate mortgage you can expect to pay an arrangement fee for your mortgage. Arrangement fees vary wildly, and may be expressed as a fixed fee or as a percentage of the loan. This means it is difficult to give an accurate estimate but it is not unusual to pay something in the range of £500 – £2,000 or more. You will usually have the choice of paying the arrangement fee up front or adding it to the loan. Adding it to the loan may ease your cash flow but will cost you more […]

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Offer

You will make an offer for the new property and hopefully that will be accepted. Obtaining a legal mortgage offer is the next important part. This is where the lender starts their assessment (underwriting) process of you and the property. A mortgage offer is normally required by your conveyancer before moving to the next stage. Please note, that although extremely rare in reality, a lender reserves the right to withdraw your offer at any point prior to completion.

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One-off costs

When you buy a property you incur certain one-off costs that can add up to a significant amount of money. These include land taxes (stamp duty), legal fees, valuation/survey fees, and mortgage arrangement fees.

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Personal income

Most lenders will first look at the rental income, yield and property value to assess your application. They are also likely to look at your personal income and expenditure to satisfy them that mortgage payments can be met in the event of a rental void.

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Private medical insurance

This is insurance that pays the hospital or Doctor for your treatment. It can include treatment in a private ward, or being seen earlier in an NHS ward. Some plans also allow you to claim if you are not able to be seen by the NHS within a set period. Other plans may charge a little more and don’t have any link to NHS waiting times. You are either medically checked and underwritten at outset (so you know what you’re covered for and what you won’t be), or have no medical checking at outset (but conditions that occurred two years […]

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Property type

Some properties such as flats over commercial properties, studio flats and ex-local authority premises can be viewed as having reduced future attractiveness and as such some lenders may not operate in that market. This may restrict your lending options. Listed buildings (e.g. Grade 1, Grade 2) may have restrictions on how you can maintain or alter the property as well as buildings near to it (e.g. garage). Some unlisted properties can also be subject to similar restrictions (e.g. in an area of outstanding natural beauty).

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Regulation

Buy-to-let mortgages are not regulated. There are best practices that any reputable mortgage adviser or lender will follow and these are based on the practices and processes that apply in the residential mortgage market. The Mortgage Credit Directive (2016) has also included Consumer buy-to-lets as a regulated product. Consumer buy-to-let is defined as a contract which is not entered into by the borrower wholly or predominantly for the purposes of a business carried on, or intended to be carried on, by the borrower. The legislation sets out a series of circumstances that would constitute a buy-to-let customer acting for the […]

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Rental voids

You need to ensure you have enough personal income and resources to maintain payments if your property becomes vacant. This is because your monthly payments to the lender will continue irrespective of your rental situation.

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Rental yields

What may be a suitable return for you, may not be seen the same way by a lender. Typically minimum rental yields are formulaic and driven by two things: the rate used to calculate the mortgage payment a percentage over-ride to allow for any rental void or increases in short-term interest rates which might impact your personal finances (these range between 100 – 130%).

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Rent guarantee insurance

A tenant that falls into arrears can jeopardise your ability to meet your mortgage repayments. If you fall into arrears with your mortgage repayments you risk losing your property. Rent guarantee insurance covers you if tenants default on their rent and protects your ability to pay your mortgage. Some policies also cover any associated legal costs.

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Repayment mortgage

With a repayment mortgage your monthly repayments cover both capital and interest on the loan. As the term continues, the amount outstanding on the loan reduces so the full amount of the loan will have been repaid at the end of the term as long as you have maintained payments. No other repayment vehicle is needed and it avoids the risk of investing (e.g. in the stock market). If you remortgage, you may be tempted to extend the end repayment date in order to lower your monthly payments. However this means that the amount you repay overall increases over time.

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Risks

As with all investments, the value of a property can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a guide for the future. If your mortgage loan exceeds the property value, you will have negative equity. Also factor in the costs of selling, such as using an estate agency, into your net value. However, if you pick the right area, and are realistic about returns, you can reduce the risks. Unforeseen structural problems could prove expensive, so budgeting for regular maintenance is crucial, as is having the right level of buildings insurance. Rental income from buy-to-let properties can […]

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Self-employed mortgages

  There are over 4.9 million self-employed people (source: ONS; EMP14 August 2019*) in the UK and contrary to popular belief getting a mortgage and being self-employed are not mutually exclusive. Let us look at the requirements of a self employed mortgage. The key thing to consider is that lenders don’t just look at the numbers when approving a mortgage – there are are several other factors that influence this decision. Below are the things to consider when applying for a mortgage when you are self-employed.   Speak with a broker: It’s worth mentioning this upfront as not all lenders have […]

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Tax implications

The UK Government in 2015 announced a new way that tax relief on mortgage interest payments and expenses will be treated for buy-to-let investors. This starts in April 2017 and will be phased in. The disposal of a buy-to-let property may be subject to capital gains taxation. You should seek professional specialist tax advice about this.

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Tenants

Not all lenders will allow students or DSS tenants, so consider carefully the type of occupant you wish to attract, as it may limit the number of lenders willing to lend to you.

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Valuation and survey fees

Before a lender will grant you a mortgage it will insist on a valuation to prove the property is worth what you’re paying for it. The size of the valuation fee will vary by lender and property value but for a property costing £200,000 expect to pay around £355 (source: Halifax Building Society June 2015). The basic valuation is for the lender’s benefit so that it feels comfortable lending against the property. If your property is rented out, then a rental assessment will also be required. It may be possible to raise a larger mortgage with one lender compared to […]

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Waiver of premium

This is a feature that can be added to some insurance plans. Should you become disabled, or seriously ill and unable to pay the premiums of a plan, this cover can pay your premiums for you. There is normally a period before this benefit starts where you need to continue paying premiums (a deferred period). Once the deferred period has passed, you will have your premiums paid for you.

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