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What is a remortgage?

A remortgage is when you switch your current mortgage deal to a new one. This could be to replace your existing mortgage or borrow additional money against the property.

You can either remortgage to a new lender or stay with the same one (this is known as a product transfer).

Why should I remortgage?

You might want to remortgage if:

  • Your current mortgage deal is coming to an end
  • You'd like to change to either a fixed or variable deal
  • You're not happy with your current lender
  • You want to overpay your mortgage
  • The value of your property has increased
  • You'd like to borrow more on your mortgage

Your current mortgage deal is coming to an end, after which you're moved to your lender's standard variable rate (SVR). This rate is usually higher than the other fixed and variable mortgage deals available. Remortgaging can therefore help you get a cheaper rate than the SVR.

You want to switch to either a fixed or variable rate deal. If you're currently on a variable mortgage, your rate is subject to change and you may want to switch to a fixed deal in order to know exactly what you're paying for the duration of the deal.

Alternatively, you may be on a fixed rate mortgage and want to switch to a variable deal (for example, if you think rates may fall at some point soon and you may benefit from lower payments as a result).

You're not happy with your current lender or with the level of service you're receiving. Remortgaging allows you to switch to a new lender.

You'd like to overpay your mortgage but your current deal restricts or doesn't allow you to. Most mortgages have the option to overpay your mortgage without fees up to a certain amount (usually 10%). But some deals have more flexibility and allow you to overpay by more than this – you may be able to remortgage to one of these more flexible deals.

The value of your property has increased, and you want to see if you now qualify for better interest rates. If your property has increased in value, your new lower loan-to-value (LTV) could help you access better deals when you remortgage. But bear in mind that mortgage rates are much higher than they have been in recent years. So you may find the rates available to you now are higher than when you took out your current deal.

You'd like to borrow more on your mortgage to get a lump sum to help consolidate debts, make home improvements or for something else. You can remortgage to release equity from your property. If you're over 55 years old, you may be eligible for equity release.

Bear in mind that if you choose to remortgage before your existing deal has ended for any reason, you may need to pay early repayment charges (ERCs).

What types of remortgage deals are there?

When it comes to taking out a remortgage deal, you have the choice between a fixed rate deal or a variable rate deal.

A fixed rate mortgage has a fixed interest rate for a set amount of time. So you know exactly how much your mortgage payments are every month.

With a variable rate deal, the interest rate is subject to change so your monthly payments may go up or down. The main types of variable mortgage are:

  • Tracker mortgages
  • Discount mortgages

A tracker mortgage has a variable rate that tracks the Bank of England’s base rate at a set rate above it. Your payments rise and fall depending on base rate changes.

A discounted mortgage is another type of variable mortgage, but it offers a discounted rate on the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) throughout the initial period. The interest rate is set at a percentage below the lender’s SVR, and changes alongside it.

Variable-rate mortgages sometimes come with floors, which mean the rate never falls below a certain amount. You can also get capped-rate deals (although these are more unusual) which mean the rate doesn't rise above a certain amount.

If you have some savings, you could consider an offset mortgage. This is a type of mortgage that can help reduce the interest you pay by offsetting your savings against the remaining amount of your mortgage. You can get fixed rate and variable rate offset deals.

When is a good time to remortgage?

The ideal time to remortgage is when your current deal ends. This prevents you moving on to your lender's (usually more expensive) SVR. By switching at the point your deal expires (rather than any earlier), you also avoid early repayment fees, which can be expensive.

But remember that it takes a while to process your remortgage application. So you should contact a mortgage broker or lender well in advance of your current deal ending (around 3-6 months).

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Can I remortgage early?

You can, but depending on your current mortgage, you might find it expensive to do.

Most mortgage deals have early repayment charges (ERCs). This is a fee that applies if you switch to a new mortgage before your current deal is up.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start looking around earlier for your next mortgage. Most mortgage deals are valid for 6 months so it's worth looking into remortgaging options around half a year before the end of your current deal.

You can apply and lock in a new rate. When your current deal expires, you can switch straight to your new deal, avoiding any ERCs. And if rates decrease before you switch, you can always change to a new deal.

How much can I borrow with a remortgage?

When you remortgage, lenders want to be sure you can repay the loan amount you're borrowing. When determining whether to lend to you and how much you can borrow, they look at:

  • Deposit amount
  • Income
  • Spending habits
  • Credit history

Your deposit amount is made up by the equity you have built up in your current property - although you can boost your deposit with cash savings if you want to. The larger your deposit, the lower the LTV ratio, which normally gets you access to better deals.

Your income is also crucial to finding a remortgage deal. Lenders typically lend around 4.5 times your household's annual income. If your financial circumstances have changed and you're no longer earning as much since you last took out a mortgage, you may find it harder to get a remortgage.

Your spending habits are looked at as part of the lender's assessment of whether you can afford the loan repayments. It can be worth reviewing outgoings and reducing these where possible in order to show the lender you can afford the payments.

Your credit history shows the lender whether you can manage debt and loan repayments. If your credit rating has declined significantly since you last applied for a mortgage for any reason, you might want to take steps to improve it. But there are some lenders that offer bad credit mortgages.

What are the costs and fees of remortgaging?

When you remortgage, the cost of your monthly repayments is determined largely by the interest rate. The rate you can get is influenced by your LTV ratio and financial circumstances.

But when you're going through the remortgaging process, there are other fees that may apply, including:

  • An arrangement fee
  • A property valuation
  • Legal fees
  • ERCs

An arrangement fee, or product fee, is the fee for the mortgage product. Costs can vary depending on the deal. but it can be up to a couple of thousand pounds. Some lenders may let you add the fee to the mortgage amount but you then pay interest on it.

A property valuation is often part of the remortgaging process if you're switching to a new lender. This is so the lender can decide if your home is worth the amount you want to remortgage for. There may be a fee charged for this, but some lenders offer free valuations as part of the remortgage deal.

Legal fees also apply if you're remortgaging to a new lender, as a solicitor is involved to cover the legal paperwork. Some deals offer free legal fees, but some may charge for this.

ERCs may be charged if you choose to remortgage before the end of your current deal. These can amount to thousands of pounds.

What are the best remortgage rates?

The best remortgage rate for you depends on your individual circumstances. There are lots of different factors that affect what rates and deals you have access to, including your LTV ratio and financial situation.

When it comes to remortgaging, it's usually worth speaking to an independent broker who can compare mortgages from across the market to find a suitable one for you and your circumstances.

Even if you think you want to stay with the same lender, speaking to a broker can help you decide whether the deals available with them are better than those with other banks and building societies.

What our expert says

Interest rates are higher than they have been in a number of years, so it's important to get the right remortgage deal. Make sure to speak to a whole-of-market broker well in advance of your current mortgage ending, to avoid going on to your lender's standard variable rate, which is usually more expensive.

Need more help?

Do I need a solicitor to remortgage?

If you're moving to a new mortgage deal with your current lender, you don't normally need a solicitor as there's no additional legal work. This is called a product transfer, and should be relatively straightforward.

But if you're moving your mortgage to a new provider, you might need to involve a solicitor. This is because the transfer of the mortgage deed from one lender to another involves additional legal paperwork.

Often, lenders include this legal assistance as part of the remortgage deal, which should help minimise any hassle. Sometimes this is free, but not always. It's worth checking so you can budget appropriately.

Can I remortgage to a new lender?

Yes, you can remortgage to a new lender. You can also stay with your current lender if you prefer.

It's normally a good idea to look at deals from lots of different banks and building societies when remortgaging. This may help you find a cheaper rate than if you were just to look at options from your current lender.

Can I remortgage if I have bad credit?

You may be able to remortgage if you have bad credit. It normally depends on the severity of your credit issues.

There are specialist brokers who deal with adverse credit, and might be able to help you find a lender that can consider your application.

Can I remortgage if I'm self-employed?

You may be able to remortgage if you're self-employed. But you need to evidence that you are earning enough to cover the loan repayments, normally via providing a few years of full accounts or SA302 end-of-year tax calculations.

Certain lenders are also more flexible with self-employed applicants - a broker can help identify which banks and building societies may be best suited for your circumstances.

How does the loan-to-value rate of my home affect remortgaging?

The lower the LTV ratio, normally the better remortgage deals and rates you can access. The cheapest rates are normally available for those with a 60% LTV or lower.

The equity you have in your home will determine your LTV ratio for remortgaging. But you can also put down additional money to boost your deposit amount and reduce the LTV ratio.

Should I revalue my house before I remortgage?

You usually only need to revalue your property if you’re changing mortgage lender. If you’re staying with your current lender, a full valuation isn't generally required making it a bit more straightforward.

If you’re looking to borrow more against the value of your home, you normally do need a valuation.

Is there an age limit on remortgaging?

Different mortgage lenders have different age limits, so it’s best to check with yours first if you want to remortgage.

Some may have an age limit for starting a mortgage and others for when the mortgage term comes to an end.

There are also a few lenders who don't have any age restrictions.

How long does a remortgage take?

Remortgaging your home is usually faster than buying your first property. It could be even faster if you’re staying with your current lender and you’re not looking to borrow extra.

If you’re switching to a new deal, be sure to start the remortgaging process early enough to a new deal when your current one expires.

This means you won’t switch to your lender’s SVR – which is typically more expensive – when your current mortgage term runs out.

How can I improve my chances of being accepted for a remortgage?

To improve your chances of being accepted to remortgage with a different lender, you should:

  • Put a larger deposit down if you can afford it
  • Review your finances and reduce outgoings where possible
  • Make all credit repayments on time (including your mortgages, any loans and credit cards)
  • Check your credit report for any mistakes
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Page last reviewed: 5 June 2023

Reviewed by: Claire Flynn


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