Getting A Fixed-Rate Mortgage
Considering a fixed-rate mortgage but unsure if it’s the right fit for you? Read on to find out all you need to know.
Firstly, do you know how long you'd like to fix your mortgage for?
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In this article, we’ll explain what a fixed-rate mortgage is, how long you can get one for, what happens when your offer period comes to an end and how a mortgage broker can help secure the best deal available for your circumstances.
What is a fixed-rate mortgage and how do they work?
This is when you make an arrangement with your lender to lock in the same interest rate on your mortgage for a set period of time. It differs from a variable-rate mortgage, which would see the interest rate change based on whether you have a standard, tracker or discounted variable rate.
In contrast, a fixed rate offers stability – no matter what happens your rate will stay the same, meaning so will your monthly mortgage repayments – but this can mean paying a higher rate than you may get otherwise. The rate you’ll be able to get will largely depend on the strength of your application and the number of lenders open to you.
Having a strong application with a good credit history, stable income, and no bad debt means you’ll likely qualify for better deals across a wider range of lenders. A broker would be able to help you compile a good application and offer some expert fixed-rate mortgage advice.
Speak to an expert about fixed-rate mortgages
Consult with an expert mortgage advisor to get the best rates and advice
How long can you fix the rate for?
Most lenders offer 2-year or 5-year fixed rate options. There are some that also offer 3 or 7-year terms with a select number going up to and over a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage, but only in unique cases.
It’s hard to predict how much interest rates might change in the coming months let alone the coming years but if you think you can get a low rate now it may be worth considering locking it in for longer. If you’re unsure, a shorter term may be best. How long you’d like to secure your interest rate is something to consider and discuss with an expert.
Can you get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage?
Yes, but only a very small number of UK lenders offer this arrangement, including Kensington Mortgages and new lender Perenna. With a 30-year fix, the idea is that your repayments remain the same every month until the loan is paid off at the end of the 30-year term. But, with a longer timespan like this, it’s likely that the rate will be higher to offset the uncertainty of the market.
If that feels too long, Virgin Money offers a 15-year fixed-term mortgage and multiple lenders such as Halifax, Lloyds Bank, and Barclays offer a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Whether you’d want to commit to a fixed rate that length of time would be something to discuss with an expert. While it would mean saving on fees each time your fixed rate term ends, it could end up costing you more in the long term.
Please note lenders mortgage terms and criteria (such as outlined above) can be subject to change. Speaking to a mortgage broker is the best way to keep track of the terms available at any given time.
What happens when the fixed rate ends?
Once it nears the end of your fixed rate period, you’ll usually be contacted by your lender. They’ll likely offer you a new fixed-rate deal and give you details on other options. Armed with that information, you’ll have some decisions to make. You can:
- Remortgage onto another fixed rate arrangement with the same lender.
- Remortgage onto another fixed rate arrangement but with a different lender.
- Remain on your current lender’s standard variable rate (SVR).
- Switch to another variable or tracker rate with the same lender.
- Switch to a variable or tracker rate with a different lender.
If you don’t get back to your lender with a decision, they’ll automatically switch you onto their SVR at the end of the agreement. This rate is usually higher than your fixed rate and is subject to change given the lender has the autonomy to alter it whenever they like.
Read our dedicated article on what happens at the end of a fixed-rate mortgage to find out more.
Can you break a fixed rate term early?
Yes, but leaving a fixed-rate deal early comes with significant early repayment charges and other fees. Typical reasons for breaking early include selling the property and moving elsewhere, remortgaging with another provider, or removing yourself from a joint mortgage.
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How a broker can help you compare the best fixed-rate mortgages
If you’ve decided that a fixed rate is the way you’d like to go, that’s great but the decision-making isn’t over. You need to determine how long you’d like to secure the rate and the lender you’d like to go with. Ideally, it’d be one offering the most competitive rate and likely to approve your application. This is where a broker can help. They can:
- Assess your financials, identify any red flags and factor those into a search for a lender so that you apply to one who isn’t likely to reject you have any bad credit issues or an unusual type of employment.
- Quickly recommend a lender based on their experience and knowledge of current rates. That could include ones you may not typically find alone because of their more specialist and exclusive nature.
- Compile a mortgage application that positions you in a way that’s more likely to see you offered a fixed rate over a term you’re happy with.
Advantages and disadvantages of a fixed-rate mortgage
Before making a final decision, it’s always recommended to consider both the pros and cons of a fixed-rate mortgage. You can then make a more informed choice as to whether this is the best option for you. The key factors to consider would be:
- Peace of mind: Having the same rate consistently means you can budget and plan for the same amount to leave your bank account each month.
- Opportunity to secure a good deal: If you can lock in a low rate for the long term, there are significant savings to be had. Alternatively, you can get a short-term fixed rate for just 2 years to avoid overpaying if rates come down in the meantime.
- Protection from interest rate rises: If interest rates rise but you’re on a fixed rate, your payments won’t be affected, avoiding any increases that can put pressure on your monthly budget.
- Hard to change deals or move homes: There could be significant early repayment charges applied if you want to move home or switch to another deal during the term.
- Miss out if interest rates fall: If you tie yourself down to a fixed-rate deal for too long a term you could end up overpaying overall if interest rates come down during this period.
- Hard to overpay: A lot of lenders cap how much you can overpay on your fixed-rate mortgage by 10% so if you did want to pay back a higher amount, you’d struggle to do so.
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Today’s best fixed-rate mortgage deals
See our rates table below to get an idea of the current fixed-rate mortgage deals on the market.
Last updated September 2023
Please note that the above rates were accurate at the time of writing but are always subject to change at the provider’s discretion. Speaking to a mortgage broker is the best way to find the most up-to-date deals.
What are the alternatives?
If you’re not sure a fixed rate is right for you, some other options you could explore include:
- A variable rate: Here, the rate would be based on your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), which is known to be higher and open to change at the whim of the lender.
- A discount variable mortgage: This is a variable mortgage but the lender’s SVR has a discount applied, usually for a set period of around two to three years. It will change in line with the SVR.
- A tracker mortgage: In this arrangement, the rate you pay would fluctuate, typically in line with the Bank of England’s base rate.
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Fixed rates for first-time buyers
As a first-time buyer, a fixed rate can seem particularly appealing because it offers some certainty as to how much you’ll be paying and can help as you navigate budgeting in your new home. As someone likely to stay put for a while, it also makes sense but if you haven’t owned a property before, lenders may see you as a higher risk and impose a higher interest rate.
Take a look at the rates table below to see what interest rates are currently available for first-time buyers.
Last updated October 2023
Speak to a broker experienced in fixed-rate mortgages
Is a fixed-rate mortgage the best decision for you and your circumstances? Is it likely to save you money in the long term or cost you more? Is the security something you need or more of a preference? These are questions a specialist broker who has secured thousands of fixed-rate mortgages for others will be able to help you with.
With expertise on the current interest rates, fixed or otherwise, and an assessment of your situation, they can share tailored advice that ensures you’re paying your interest in a way that works for you. To start that conversation, call 0808 189 2301 or fill out this form, and you’ll quickly be matched to a specialist fixed rate broker for a free consultation.
Speak to an expert about fixed-rate mortgages
Consult with an expert mortgage advisor to get the best rates and advice
Yes, but it’s likely, depending on your lender, that you won’t be able to pay more than 10% of your outstanding mortgage balance each year without incurring any charges.
Yes. In general, the rates on buy-to-let mortgages are higher than those on residential mortgages but you’re still able to secure a continuous rate for a set period of time.
There isn’t necessarily a good or a bad time as it all depends on your own personal circumstances and whether you feel more comfortable with a set repayment each month or happy to take a more risky approach with a variable rate.
The best advice is to speak with an experienced mortgage broker about your concerns and they will be able to guide you towards making the right decision for you.
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