Most people who buy a house will have to get a mortgage. You can lose your home if you don't repay your mortgage. Most mortgages last for 25 years, although you can have a longer or shorter mortgage.
There are a number of different types of mortgages, so get advice when choosing a mortgage.
What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a loan, usually from a bank, building society or finance company, to help you buy your home. You have to pay back everything you borrow from your lender within an agreed length of time. You also have to pay interest on what you have borrowed. More
How mortgages work?
Few people have enough money to buy their home outright. If you want to buy a house or flat you will usually need a mortgage. A mortgage is basically a loan which is paid off over a long period, called the term of the mortgage. This is usually 25 years. More
Your first choice is between a repayment mortgage and an interest-only mortgage. After you have decided what type of mortgage you want you can check the interest rate options. Check the small print. A cheap rate or a flexible deal may have strings attached. Get advice before deciding which mortgage to buy. More
Choosing a mortgage
When shopping around for a mortgage, it's important to get good advice. Financial advisers often give this free. Check how independent they are, and make sure they're signed up to the Mortgage Code. Think about your financial situation in advance and prepare some key questions to ask the adviser. More
Applying for a mortgage
Work out how much you can afford to borrow. Apply for your mortgage early, so you can act quickly when you find a property you like. It may be difficult to get a mortgage if you are self-employed or have had debt problems in the past. Co-ownership may be able to help if you can't get a large enough mortgage. More
If you're buying a property with someone else, you'll need a joint mortgage. How much you can borrow will depend on both your incomes. You need to think carefully about what would happen to your mortgage if you break up. More
When working out how much you can afford as a deposit take into account the other moving costs. As well as the solicitor's fees and building insurance, you may have to pay premiums for mortgage indemnity guarantee, mortgage protection insurance and mortgage payment protection insurance. More
If you already have a mortgage, you may want to switch to a different mortgage or a different lender to get a better deal. This may save you money, and it may be possible to arrange temporary or long term changes. You should check your mortgage agreement to see whether you would have to pay redemption fees. More
If your endowment policy doesn't produce a large enough lump sum to pay what you owe your lender, you will need to make up the difference. However, you may be entitled to compensation if you got bad advice from the company that sold you the policy. More
Complaints about endowment policies
You may be able to make a complaint and get compensation if your endowment policy won’t cover the outstanding capital at the end of your mortgage. If this isn't successful, you can take steps to ensure your mortgage will be paid off. Check out all your options and get independent financial advice before you make any decisions. More
If you've been turned down for a mortgage you should first ask for full details of why this was and make sure the reasons are correct. If it was because of a poor credit record, for example, you should check that this is accurate. If you still feel a broker or lender has treated you unfairly you have a number of options. More
Dealing with mortgage arrears
Repaying your mortgage should be your main priority. If you are having financial problems you must act quickly, even if the problems are only temporary. If you avoid the problem it will become more difficult to control your debt. More