What are the Maximum Mortgage Terms?
Find out everything you need to know about maximum mortgage terms and how a broker can help secure the term you need.
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In this article, we’ll explain what the maximum mortgage term is, why this could be beneficial and how, with the help of an experienced broker, you can boost your chances of getting a longer term for your own mortgage.
What’s the longest mortgage term available in the UK?
Most mainstream lenders – including HSBC, Barclays, NatWest and Santander – now offer standard capital and interest repayment mortgages with a term of up to 40 years.
There are a handful of specialist mortgage lenders, such as LiveMore and Hodge, who offer retirement interest-only (RIO) mortgages with no maximum term at all.
The average mortgage term in the UK is 25 years and there are a few lenders who’d be reluctant to offer an agreement longer than this, but there are a growing number who consider applications for term lengths higher than this.
Why get a mortgage with a longer term?
The main reason people choose to take out a mortgage with a longer term than 25 years is to make their monthly payments smaller. If the cost is spread out over a longer period, the amount due each month is obviously less than it would be on a shorter agreement.
This can be useful for anyone who wants to keep their outgoings to a minimum to help them save or have money freed up for other financial commitments. In these cases, a mortgage term of 30-40 years could be viable, as long as you don’t mind the idea of staying in your current property or having a mortgage to pay for several or more decades.
The main caveat of a longer mortgage term is that they usually cost more in the long run. This is because you will need to make interest and capital payments for the duration of the term, and an extra 5-15 years of them is likely to add up, despite the reduced cost of those lower monthly mortgage payments.
If you’re keen to know how changing your term will affect your mortgage payments, use our mortgage repayments calculator below to compare different term lengths.
Mortgage Repayment Calculator
Our mortgage repayment calculator can tell you how much your mortgage will cost you each month and overall. Enter the amount you’re borrowing, the term length and interest rate, and our calculator will do the rest.
Total amount paid at end of term:
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How to get a mortgage with a longer term
During the mortgage application process, your mortgage lender will discuss term length with you and give you the opportunity to request an agreement longer than 25 years. But there’s no guarantee that your lender of choice offers longer mortgage terms, so this can be risky.
You’ll need to find the right lender for this, first time since being declined because a mortgage provider is unwilling to offer a longer-term agreement can leave marks on your credit report and potentially jeopardise any future applications for finance.
If you need a mortgage agreement that runs longer than 25 years, your best bet is to speak to a mortgage broker. They have access to the entire market and will know exactly which lenders offer 35-year mortgages, 40-year mortgages and longer deals for retired people.
How a mortgage broker can help you
A mortgage broker can help you get a longer-term mortgage by doing the following…
- Searching the entire market for every deal with a longer term than 25 years
- Matching your needs, age and personal circumstances to a longer-term mortgage deal and make sure you’re introduced to the right lender, first-time
- Explain the full implications of a longer-term mortgage to you and discuss potential alternatives, so you can rest assured that you’re making the right decision
- Negotiating with the lender on your behalf to make sure you get the best rates
- Guiding you through the application and giving you a hand with the paperwork
How age affects your term
The eligibility criteria for a longer-term mortgage isn’t really any different to one with a standard term, but some mortgage lenders are likely to place more scrutiny on your age if you’re looking for an agreement that runs for longer than 25 years.
This is because the mortgage provider will be mindful of the loan running into your retirement years. Most people’s income decreases at this point, so your lender will need to be confident that you can afford your mortgage payments in retirement.
A few lenders won’t offer you a mortgage if the term runs past your 70th birthday and a larger number of them draw the line at 75. There are, however, other mortgage providers who will have no issue with the term running past your 80th or even 90th birthday, and a small minority who will lend with no such age restrictions, under the right circumstances.
Moreover, there are a range of retirement mortgage options to consider for people who can’t qualify for a longer-term mortgage due to their age, such as Retirement Interest-Only Mortgages (RIO).
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Extending the length of an existing mortgage
It’s possible to extend the term of an existing mortgage by refinancing with your current mortgage lender or remortgage with a new one. Whether you’re eligible for a term extension is very much at the lender’s discretion and they will reassess your affordability and eligibility to check whether anything has changed since you took on the original debt.
Some lenders won’t approve you for a term extension if…
- You’ll be a certain age at the end of the term (70-90, depending on the lender)
- You’re more than a month in arrears on your mortgage payments
- You have an interest-only or a part-and-part mortgage
- The property is currently being let
- You have a guarantor mortgage
- It’s a leasehold property with less than 50-55 years left on the lease
- The total mortgage term doesn’t extend beyond the lender’s limit
To extend the term of your mortgage, you could simply contact your current lender to see whether you’d qualify for this, but a better alternative would be to talk to a broker first. They can search the entire market to find out whether there’s a better deal out there for you, in which case you could secure a longer agreement and a superior interest rate too.
Is it a good idea to extend?
For some people, it might be. If, for example, you’ve had to take a pay cut and are struggling to afford your mortgage payments, agreeing to a term extension could bring down the amount due each month and make the debt more manageable. It could also be beneficial if you need to make some savings or simply want more disposable income in the immediate term.
There are major caveats to keep in mind, though. Obviously, you’ll be saddled with your mortgage debt for longer, but let’s think about the full implications of this: paying interest over a longer period means paying more for your mortgage overall.
Some lenders will also allow you to change your term back to a lower term should your circumstances change or you deem it the right choice in the future.
It’s important to consider that the overall cost will be higher and ask yourself whether you’re happy with this as a consequence of having lower monthly payments.
Can you shorten an extended mortgage once you’ve taken it out?
Yes, it’s possible. However, a mortgage lender will want to conduct a thorough affordability assessment of your income and outgoings to ensure you can comfortably afford the new mortgage repayments – which will, obviously, be higher if you’re reducing the overall term.
The main benefit of reducing your term is the interest you pay overall will be lower and if you can comfortably meet your monthly repayments then this could be the right option for you.
How much will it cost?
You may need to pay remortgage fees if you’re refinancing to extend your mortgage term. They can vary from person to person and lender to lender, but you can find a complete overview of the potential charges in our article on remortgage costs and fees.
Extending an interest-only mortgage
This is sometimes possible at the lender’s discretion and some people choose this option as a stop-gap solution if their repayment vehicle has faltered and the end of the term is drawing near. See our article on extending an interest-only mortgage term for more information.
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Maximum term on a buy-to-let mortgage
Most buy-to-let mortgages come with a maximum term length of between 25 and 35 years, but there are mortgage providers who offer them with a term of 40 years, subject to the maximum age limit that borrowers can be at the end of the agreement.
Extending your term
This can be more difficult as not all mortgage lenders will allow it, especially if there’s any doubt about your investment property generating rental income for the extended period. However, with the help of a broker who specialises in buy-to-let mortgages, your chances of finding a lender who will let you remortgage onto a longer-term deal could greatly increase.
Your application to extend your term will be assessed against the standard criteria, subject to age restrictions, and you’re unlikely to be approved if the total term exceeds 40 years.
Get matched with an expert mortgage broker today
It’s a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker if you’re planning to take out a longer-term mortgage or extend your mortgage term. Not all mortgage lenders offer agreements longer than 25-30 years and some have age restrictions that you might fall afoul of.
With the help of the right mortgage broker, though, you can avoid these pitfalls and rest assured that you’ll be introduced to the ideal lender, first time.
We offer a free broker matching service that will take your needs and circumstances into account to pair you with the advisor who’s best placed to help. Call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation chat between you and them today.
It can be a simple case of calling up your current lender to request this, and if there are no issues surrounding your eligibility, your chances of approval are likely to be good.
However, this is a good opportunity to find out whether there’s a better deal out there with a different lender. Having a mortgage broker carry out a whole-of-market search to confirm this can be equally quick, and you won’t have to lift a finger while they do it.
What’s more, if they find a more suitable mortgage deal with the term length you need, they will guide you through the remortgage process from start to finish.
The maximum term on a mortgage taken out through the Help to Buy scheme is 35 years. This was increased from 25 years when the government revised the scheme in 2019.
For more information on Help to Buy, see our dedicated article on Help to Buy mortgages.
Yes, extending a fixed-rate mortgage is possible but keep in mind that there might be exit fees to foot if you’re remortgaging onto a longer deal with a new lender. It may also be possible to switch to another fixed-rate deal with a longer term with your current lender.
Yes, but your lender will need to be confident that you can continue to make your mortgage payments after this age, whether this is with your pension income or a job you’ll continue in. Lender age restrictions will also be a factor as some have a maximum age that you can be at the end of the term, with anywhere between 70 and 80 being standard.
There are, however, lenders with a higher maximum age than this and even some with no age restrictions at all, and the mortgage advisors we work with know who they are.
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