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What do I need to know before getting a mortgage?

If you're thinking about taking out a mortgage, there are several different options available. You should look into all the different options carefully to make sure you choose the right one for you. The most common types of mortgage are:

Repayment mortgage

This is a mortgage in which the capital borrowed is repaid gradually over the period of the loan. The capital is paid in monthly instalments together with an amount of interest. The amount of capital which is repaid gradually increases over the years while the amount of interest goes down.

Interest-only mortgage

With this type of mortgage, you pay interest on the loan in monthly instalments to the lender. Instead of repaying the loan each month, you pay into a long-term investment or savings plan which should grow enough to clear the loan at the end of the mortgage term and, in some circumstances may even produce an additional lump sum. However, there is also a risk that it will not be worth enough to pay off the loan at the end of the mortgage term. This means you will have a shortfall and you will need to think about ways of making this up.

There are three main types of interest-only mortgages. These are:

  • an endowment mortgage
  • a pension mortgage
  • an ISA mortgage.

Islamic mortgage

With an Islamic mortgage, none of the monthly payments include interest. Instead, the lender makes a charge for lending you the capital to buy your property which can be recovered in one of a number of different ways, for example, by charging you rent.

Where to get a mortgage from

A mortgage could be available from a number of different sources. Some of the available options are:-

  • building societies
  • banks
  • insurance companies. They only provide endowment mortgages (see above)
  • large building companies might arrange mortgages on their own new-build homes
  • finance houses
  • specialised mortgage companies.

For some groups of people, such as first-time buyers and key workers, it may also be possible to borrow some of the money you need to buy a home from other, government-backed sources. You will usually need to borrow the rest of the money from a normal mortgage lender such as a bank or building society.

For more information about government-backed schemes to help you buy your own home, in England see HomeBuy in Finding accommodation and, in Wales, see HomeswithinReach in Finding accommodation.

Using a broker to get a mortgage

Instead of going directly to a lender such as a building society for a mortgage, a broker could be used. A broker may be an estate agent, or a mortgage or insurance broker. They will act as an agent to introduce people to a source of mortgage loan to help them buy a home.

You may want to use a broker if you find it difficult to get a mortgage directly from a lender.

There are rules about how much a broker can charge for their services.

For more information about mortgage brokers, go to the Money Advice Service website at:

For more information on mortgages, see Buying a home.

Can you afford a mortgage

If you're thinking about taking out a mortgage you should first make sure that you only borrow what can afford to pay back. If you do not keep up the agreed repayments, the lender can take possession of the property.

The Money Advice Service has produced a helpful guide called, 'You can afford your mortgage now, but what if…?'. You can view the guide on the Money Advice Service website at:

You can also use their mortgage calculator to help you work out how much you can afford to borrow. This is also available on their website at

If you need further advice about paying for your mortgage, you may want to consult an independent financial adviser. For help with finding a financial adviser, visit the Money Advice Service website at:

Other Housing FAQs: