Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan from a bank or building society that enables you to purchase a property. The loan is repaid with interest over a number of years, with the term for doing this depends on your personal financial circumstances.

A mortgage can be held by an individual or jointly between one or more people, but if you do not keep up your repayments, your home could be repossessed by the lender.

Will I be accepted for a mortgage?

All mortgage lenders have their own criteria. The following factors all play a part in determining their mortgage offer and how much they are willing to lend to you:

  • Amount you wish to borrow
  • Size of your deposit
  • Employment status and income
  • Credit rating
  • Outgoings
  • Existing debt
  • Your age
  • Length of the mortgage term
  • Your credit status
  • If you are applying solely or jointly

How does the mortgage process work?

To get a mortgage, you will need to save a deposit of at least 5%. However, the more you can save, the better your rate will usually be. If you already own your own home, you can use the equity in your property for this. Our expert mortgage advisors can talk you through the benefits and the difference in your monthly payments by increasing your deposit.

Once you have found the property you want to buy, our mortgage brokers will assess your personal needs and circumstances and recommend a mortgage product that is right for you. They will compare hundreds of mortgage quotes, including a number of exclusive products that cannot be found on the high street or comparison sites, and ensure that you get the right deal at a great price.

If you are happy with the mortgage product your advisor recommends, you will then receive an Agreement in Principle (AIP). This will give you an approximate sum of how much the lender is willing to let you borrow, and enable you to put an offer in on your dream home.

If your offer is accepted, you will need to appoint a solicitor to handle searches, surveys and contracts, which we can arrange for you. We handle the entire mortgage application process through to completion, liaising with your solicitor and lender to ensure that your application is a success.

If you are looking to remortgage, then we recommend looking for a new mortgage deal around 3 months before your current deal expires. Starting early will give you plenty of time to compare all the available mortgage products and submit your application. If your mortgage is approved early there’s no need to panic, as we will ensure that the completion date corresponds with your current deal’s end date.

How much can I borrow?

Most mortgage lenders will lend you up to five times your salary. However, this is dependent on a number of factors including your age, number of dependants and current financial commitments. Lenders generally work out how much they will lend you based on what you can realistically afford each month after you have paid your bills, credit cards, loans etc.

Our mortgage advisers can help you understand how much you can realistically borrow before an application or credit search is completed, by assessing your individual needs and circumstances. If you choose to proceed with an application, then our advisers will know which mortgage lenders to approach to ensure you get the required loan amount.

How much deposit will I need?

To buy a home with a mortgage, you will need to save a deposit of at least 5%. The more you can save, the better your mortgage rate will be. There are a few exceptions to this however as follows:

  • If you already own a home, you can use the equity from your property for the deposit
  • If you are a council tenant and are looking to buy your current home under the Right to Buy scheme, most mortgage lenders will now accept your Right to Buy discount as a deposit.

With property prices increasing, first time buyers are struggling to save enough money to buy a home. The government has therefore introduced ‘Help to Buy’ to enable first time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Our professional mortgage advisors are experts on all the various mortgage deals available and can help you decide which mortgage deal best fits your needs.

What type of mortgage do I need?

For the majority of mortgages, you borrow money from a lender to buy a property and pay interest on the loan until you have paid it back. The only exception are interest-only loans. Here are the different types of mortgages available:

  • Repayment
  • Interest-only
  • Fixed rate
  • Variable rate
  • Tracker
  • Discounted rate
  • Capped rate
  • Cashback
  • Offset
  • 95%
  • Flexible
  • First time buyers
  • Buy to let

Repayment mortgages: Every month you make a payment which is calculated so that you pay off some of the capital you have borrowed, as well as the interest. By the end of your mortgage term, you would have repaid the entire loan.

Interest-only mortgages: Each month you pay only the interest on your mortgage and repay the capital at the end of your mortgage term. This option will not suit everyone, as you will need to guarantee that you can find the money when the time comes. If you don’t, you risk having to sell your property to pay off the mortgage. Lenders can also insist that you provide evidence on how you intend to do this.

Fixed rate mortgages: Popular with first time buyers, as you know exactly how much you’ll be paying each month for a particular length of time.

The disadvantages are that you may have to pay a higher rate if the interest rate falls, and a repayment charge if you either switch or pay off your mortgage before the end of the fixed term.

The lender will also automatically place you on a standard variable rate (SVR), which will probably have a higher interest rate, in which case you will need to apply for another fixed rate deal.

Variable rate mortgages: Also known as a Standard Variable Rate (SVR) and are every lender’s basic mortgage. The interest rate fluctuates, but never above the Bank of England’s base rate and is determined by your mortgage lender.

Tracker mortgages: Vary according to a nominated base rate, normally the Bank of England’s, which you will pay a set interest rate above or below.

Discount rate mortgages: Some of the cheapest mortgages around but, as they are linked to the SVR, the rate will change according to the SVR and are only available for a fixed period of time.

Capped rate mortgages: A variable rate mortgage, but there is a limit on how much your interest rate can rise. However, as mortgage rates are generally low at present, many lenders are not offering them.

Cashback mortgages: Lenders typically give you a percentage of the loan back in cash. However, you need to look at the interest rate and any additional fees, as it is very likely that you will be able to find a better deal without cashback.

Offset mortgages: Combines your savings and mortgage together, by deducting the amount you have in your savings, meaning you only pay interest on the difference between the two. Using your savings to reduce your mortgage interest means you won’t earn any interest on them, but you will also not pay tax, helping higher rate taxpayers.

95% mortgages: Generally for those with only a 5% deposit. However, as there is a risk that you may fall into negative equity if house prices go down, mortgage rates are usually high.

Flexible mortgages: Allow you to overpay when you can afford to. Other mortgages give you this option too, but you can also pay less at particular times or miss a few payments altogether if you have chosen to overpay. This does however come at a cost, as the mortgage rate will generally be higher than other mortgage deals.

First time buyers mortgages: All of the aforementioned mortgages are available to first time buyers, although some are more favourable than others. The government also offers a number of incentives for first time buyers through its help to buy scheme.

Buy to let mortgages: Enables you to purchase additional property for renting purposes only. The amount you can borrow is partially calculated on the rent payments you expect to receive.

Can I get a mortgage with bad credit?

If you have a history of bad credit including; arrears, defaults, county court judgements (CCJs), debt management plans or bankruptcy, there are still mortgage options available. Your choice of mortgage lender and type of mortgage will however be limited, and the rate of interest will be higher than someone who has a good credit rating. Our expert mortgage brokers are in regular contact with adverse mortgage lenders and are well placed to advise you on all your available options.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

Getting a mortgage application approved is dependent on you, your mortgage broker, solicitor and lender. At CLS, we handle the entire process for you through to completion, communicating with your solicitor and lender, to remove the stress and hassle from you and ensure that your application is a success. Having all the relevant mortgage documentation to hand ready for your mortgage advisor, will also help speed up the process.

How can I remortgage my home?

The first thing you will need to consider before you remortgage is how much you can afford to pay. You can do this by collating your mortgage paperwork and recent bank statements together, to see what your current interest rate is and how much your monthly outgoings are.

You will also need to check if you will need to pay any additional costs such as; an arrangement fee to your new lender for setting up the mortgage, an exit fee and/or early repayment charges for leaving your current lender, and valuation and legal fees. Some fees can be added to your mortgage.

Remember, if you choose to do this, you will have to pay interest on them. Luckily, most remortgage deals have no or low set up costs. But, it’s important to make sure you check first before committing to a new mortgage deal.

Part of our service in ensuring that you get the best remortgage deal, is to check whether a new mortgage deal would be the best option for you, based on the interest rate and any potential fees involved.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. You must have an EPC before the marketing of your property can commence, otherwise you could be fined.

How much deposit do I need to buy a house?

Generally, you need to try to save at least 5% to 20% of the cost of the home you would like.

For example, if you want to buy a home costing £150,000, you’ll need to save at least £7,500 (5%). Saving more than 5% will give you access to a wider range of cheaper mortgages available on the market.

Are there other costs involved in buying a property?

Apart from your monthly mortgage payments, there are others costs when buying a home.

These can include:

  • Survey costs
  • Solicitor’s fee
  • Removal costs
  • Agent fees
  • Buildings insurance
  • Initial furnishing and decorating costs
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees; and
  • Stamp Duty (or Land and buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland).