Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

In order to be accepted, you need to convince lenders that you are able to repay your mortgage. To do this, lenders typically use your credit report to check your repayment history. Your credit file will contain current and existing records on items such as credit cards, loans, overdrafts, mortgages, mobile phone/s, some utilities payments and all accounts opened in the past six years. If you have had arrears, defaults, CCJs, debt management plans or previously been made bankrupt, there are mortgage options available which we can help you with.

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 you 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.

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 advisors 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, our advisers will know which mortgage lenders to approach to ensure you get the required loan amount.

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.

When buying a home, you will need to not only have enough money saved for your mortgage deposit, but also your mortgage fees, moving costs and legal expenses. We have compiled a handy list below of all the possible purchase and moving expenses you may have to pay, to help you with your budgeting. The exact fees and amount you will pay, is dependent on the value of the property you are buying and your chosen mortgage lender.

Mortgage booking fee: Some mortgage lenders will charge this to secure a fixed-rate or tracker deal. 

Cost: £99 – £250  

Mortgage arrangement fee: Some mortgage products will incur a mortgage arrangement fee, in addition to the mortgage booking fee. This fee is either paid upfront or added to your mortgage debt. If you chose to add it to your mortgage, the cost will increase over the lifetime of your mortgage. 

Cost: £1,000 – £2,000  

Telegraphic transfer fee: Needs to be paid to the lender to transfer the amount you are borrowing for the mortgage to the seller’s solicitor.

Cost: £25 – £50 

Mortgage broker fee: If you use a mortgage advisor to arrange your mortgage for you, you will need to pay a fee or commission, depending on the value of your mortgage. 

Cost: £95 – £495 

Valuation and survey fees: Charged by the lender to value the property you are buying. The cost varies according to which survey you choose:

Home condition survey: Most basic and cheapest of all the surveys and often used for new-builds.

Cost: £250

Homebuyer’s report: More in-depth survey, assessing the inside and outside of the property, and also includes a valuation.

Cost: £400

Building survey:  A complete survey generally used for older or unconventional properties. Although they are the most expensive, they are certainly worth considering, as it could potentially save you a lot of money if any structural problems are found with the property.

Cost: £600 

Higher lending charge: Can be charged by lenders if you borrow most of the value of the property. 

Cost: Approximately 1.5% of the amount you borrow 

Searches: Your solicitor will arrange for the local authority to check whether there are any issues that could affect the property’s value. The local council can charge a fee for carrying out these searches and may also request that a drains search be done at the same time. 

Cost: £250 – £300 

Legal costs: You will need to instruct a solicitor to carry out the necessary legal work for you. 

Cost: £850 – £1,500 plus VAT 

Stamp Duty: Paid on all UK land and property purchases over £125,000. The percentage you pay is dependent on the purchase price of your property as follows:

  • £125,001 – £250,000: 2%
  • £250,001 – £925,000: 5%
  • £925,001 – £1, 500,000: 10%
  • £1,500,000+: 12% 

If you are buying a second property, the percentage you will need to pay is calculated as follows: 

  • Less than £125,000: 3%
  • £125,001 – £250,000: 5%
  • £250,001 – £925,000: 8%
  • £925,001 – £1.5 million: 13%
  • £1.5 million+: 15% 

Moving costs: Paid to the removal firm (if you choose to use one) to pack, transport and deliver your possessions to your new home.

Cost: £300 – £600

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.

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.

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.

The amount you pay each month is dependent on the total cost of your property and the type of mortgage you have. The costs you may need to pay vary but typically include:

Interest: Accrues across the lifetime of the mortgage and is charged as a percentage rate on the amount you owe.

Mortgage fees: A product fee which is charged for taking out the mortgage.

Application fees: Charged on application, regardless of whether you take out the mortgage.

Valuation fees: Can be charged by lenders for calculating how much your home is worth.

Higher lending charges: Can be applied to mortgages that have a small deposit.

Telegraphic transfer fees: Charged by the bank for arranging to transfer the money they are lending you (usually to your solicitor).

Broker fees: Often charged if you use a broker to arrange your mortgage.

If you have previously had a mortgage, you may also need to pay fees on this:

Early repayment charges: Can be charged if you repay your mortgage before the end of the agreed term.

Exit fees: Lenders can charge these if you move to a new lender.

Missed payments: These can be charged by your lender if you fail to keep up your repayments, which can increase the total amount you owe.

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.

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.

The government has created the Help to Buy scheme to assist first time buyers in buying their own homes. The scheme consists of two parts; Help to Buy Shared Ownership and Help to Buy Equity Loan.

Shared Ownership gives first time buyers the opportunity to buy shares (between 25% and 75%) of a new or existing property and pay rent on the remaining portion. With Equity Loan, the government will lend a new home buyer 20% of the purchase cost, which means you will only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to buy your home. If you are looking to buy a property in the city under the London Help to Buy, the government percentage the Government will lend you increases to 40%. However, the cost of the property you can buy is capped at £600,000.

The Help to Buy initiative also includes a Help to Buy ISA, which rewards first-time buyers by boosting their savings. If you pay in £1,200 in the first month and then £200 a month thereafter, you will receive the maximum £3,000 bonus from the government when you are ready to buy your home.

The government’s latest savings initiative the Lifetime ISA, also aims to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, and is beneficial for those who are looking to buy their first home within the next few years. You can pay in up to £4,000 a year and receive a 25% boost to your savings at the end of the first year and then each month thereafter.

If you would like to find out more about the Help to Buy scheme and check your eligibility, our expert mortgage advisors are here to help you.

When buying a home your mortgage lender will likely insist that you have Buildings Insurance in place before you exchange contracts.

Whilst it is not compulsory to have any other level of cover in place to buy a property, there are insurance policies that can help you through a rough patch. For example, Income Protection can pay your mortgage repayments for a fixed period of time, should you unexpectedly find yourself out of work due to an injury or illness, whilst a Life Insurance policy could completely clear your outstanding mortgage debt, should the worst happen to you.

If you would like to know more about the various protection options that are available, we can help. Our expert mortgage and protection advisors can meet or chat at a time to suit you, and can ensure that you get the right level of cover for your personal circumstances at an affordable price.

If you need a mortgage to buy your new home, then your mortgage lender will ask that a valuation be conducted on the property, before they determine whether they will approve your mortgage offer or not.

There are three different types of home surveys available. The survey your lender will request to be made, is dependent on the type of property you are looking to buy. For peace of mind, you can however pay to have a full structural survey carried out on your property, before you commit to buying it.

  • Home condition survey: Most basic and cheapest survey, often used for new-builds
  • Homebuyer’s report: More thorough, as it evaluates the inside and outside of the property
  • Building survey:  A complete survey that assesses the full structure of the property, generally used for older or unusual properties.

Most people are able to remortgage their home to get a new mortgage deal. There are many reasons why remortgaging could be a good option for you including:

  • Getting a better mortgage rate
  • Having the option to make overpayments
  • Enjoying a more flexible mortgage
  • Freeing up cash for some long awaited home improvements
  • Purchasing additional property
  • Saving money on your monthly repayments
  • Reducing your current term

If you would like to know which remortgage options are available to you, get in touch! Our expert remortgage advisors will provide you with a free mortgage review and compare thousands of deals to find the remortgage deal that best fits your needs.

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.

If you current mortgage deal is due to expire, then you should ideally start to look for a new mortgage at least three months prior to this, to ensure that everything is in place when this happens.

If you feel that your current mortgage deal is restricting you however, and are considering switching to either get a better rate, reduce your term or simply want a more flexible mortgage, then it has never been a better time to do so, with interest rates at an all-time low.

To check whether now is the right time for you to remortgage, get in contact and see if you can take advantage of the fantastic remortgage deals available.

If you are thinking of remortgaging your home, you may find that there are some charges for doing so. The exact fees and precise amount you will pay are dependent on your current mortgage deal and the value of the property you are buying. The typical fees you could be expected to pay are as follows:

Mortgage arrangement fee: Can be paid upfront or added to your mortgage debt. Remember, if you choose to add the Mortgage Arrangement Fee to your mortgage, you will ultimately pay interest on this.

Estimated cost: £1,000 – £2,000

Mortgage broker fee: If use a mortgage broker to help you remortgage, you will need to pay a fee for them to arrange this for you.

Estimated cost: £95 – £495

Valuation and survey fees: Your new mortgage lender may request for your home to be re-valued. The cost for this varies, depending on the survey the lender requests:

Estimated cost: £250 – £600

Legal costs: You may need to use a solicitor to take care of any required legal work for you.

Estimated cost: £850 – £1,500 plus VAT 

If you have bad credit, the mortgage options available to you are similar to standard mortgages. However, you will have to pay a higher rate of interest, and will likely need a larger deposit of around 15% or more. The more you can save however, the better your chances are of getting your mortgage application approved.

Mortgage lenders see those with poor credit as a risk, and therefore charge a higher rate of interest and request a bigger deposit to mitigate this.

If you have a history of bad credit or are worried about your finances, get in touch. Our mortgage advisors are experts in adverse mortgages and can advise you on your available options to help you get on the property ladder.

Most people have a general idea about their credit rating. But, it’s important to check your credit rating before you apply for a mortgage. In doing so, you will know whether you will need to apply for a standard or poor credit mortgage, and avoid having a rejected mortgage application appear on your report, which could affect your future credit chances. To obtain a copy of your credit report, sign up to either Experian, Noddle or Equifax.

To improve your bad credit rating, there are a few things you can do to possibly increase your chances of being approved for a bad credit mortgage:

  • Check that you are on the electoral roll
  • Always pay your bills on time and in full
  • Close any credit accounts you have for stores or catalogues and no longer use
  • Consider applying for a credit builder credit card, to help show lenders that you can manage money responsibly
  • Guarantor loans can also improve your credit score, if you keep on top of your repayments
  • Regularly check your credit report to make sure that all the information is correct. If any of the details are incorrect, contact the relevant lender and ask for these to be amended.

Making these changes should help improve your credit score, but it will not happen overnight, especially if you have a history of bad credit or have missed multiple payments.

When you move home, you should be able to transfer your current mortgage to your new property. As you will probably need to borrow more, in order to purchase your new home, your mortgage lender will want to value the new property.

Moving home is however one of the best times to get a better mortgage deal. You will firstly need to check if there are any early repayment charges or exit fees for repaying your current mortgage deal early, which your current lender should be able to tell you.

If there are penalties for leaving your current lender, then you will need to find a new mortgage deal that is sufficiently cheaper to cover these costs. Our mortgage advisors are experts in remortgages and can tell you whether a new mortgage deal would be best for you.  

When you move home, there are quite a few expenses involved which you may not have considered, especially if you change your mortgage lender. We have put together a handy list of all the associated costs when moving home below for your guidance. The precise fees you will need to pay are determined by the value of the property you are buying and your mortgage lender.

Mortgage booking fee: Some mortgage lenders will charge this to secure your mortgage deal.

Cost: £99 – £250

Mortgage arrangement fee: Some mortgages products charge a mortgage arrangement fee and a mortgage booking fee, which is either paid upfront or added to your mortgage debt. Remember, if you choose to add this cost to your mortgage, it will increase over the lifetime of your mortgage.

Cost: £1,000 – £2,000

Telegraphic transfer fee: Needs to be paid to the lender to transfer the amount you are borrowing for the mortgage to the seller’s solicitor.

Cost: £25 – £50

Mortgage broker fee: If a mortgage broker arranges your mortgage for you, you will need to pay them a fee or commission for doing this.

Cost: £95 – £495

Valuation and survey fees: Your mortgage lender will request a valuation for your new home. The cost will vary according to which survey you choose:

Home condition survey: The most simple and cheapest survey, often instructed for new-builds.

Cost: £250

Homebuyer’s report: A more thorough survey, valuating the inside and outside of the property.

Cost: £400

Building survey:  A complete survey, commonly used for older or unconventional properties. If you want peace of mind, before you commit to buying your new home, this type of survey is certainly worth considering.

Cost: £600

Searches: Charged by your local council for checking whether there are any problems that could affect the value of the property you are looking to purchase.

Cost: £250 – £300

Legal costs: A solicitor will be needed to carry out any necessary legal work for you.

Cost: £850 – £1,500 plus VAT

Stamp Duty: Paid on all UK land and property purchases over £125,000. The amount you pay is dependent on the purchase price of your property as follows:

£125,001 – £250,000: 2%

£250,001 – £925,000: 5%

£925,001 – £1, 500,000: 10%

£1,500,000+: 12%

If you are buying an additional property, the percentage you will need to pay is calculated as follows:

Less than £125,000: 3%

£125,001 – £250,000: 5%

£250,001 – £925,000: 8%

£925,001 – £1.5 million: 13%

£1.5 million+: 15%

Moving costs: If you need help to pack, transport and deliver your belongings to your new home, you will need to instruct a removal firm.

Cost: £300 – £600

In order to buy a new home with a mortgage, you will need to sell your existing home first. However, if you are struggling to sell your home, you could consider renting your property temporarily, until you are able to sell it.

A Let to Buy mortgage would enable you to lease your current property and buy a new home. To secure a Let to Buy mortgage, Let to Buy mortgage lenders will need to see that your rental income will comfortably cover your mortgage repayments. If you choose to continue letting your existing property instead of selling it, you will need a Buy to Let mortgage.

If you think a Let to Buy mortgage will help you secure the property of your dreams, you will need to apply for both a Let to Buy and residential mortgage, and ensure that both applications complete at the same time, which we can arrange for you.

If you buy a second property that is not your main residence, you will have to pay Stamp Duty on it. The amount you will pay is dependent on the purchase price of the property as detailed below:

Less than £125,000: 3%

£125,001 – £250,000: 5%

£250,001 – £925,000: 8%

£925,001 – £1.5 million: 13%

£1.5 million+: 15%

If you have been a tenant in a council property for 3 years or more, then you may be able to purchase your home at a reduced price through the Government’s Right to Buy scheme.

Your eligibility will need to be confirmed by your landlord, and Right to Buy mortgage lenders will need to ensure that you can afford to keep up the monthly repayments, before they approve your mortgage application. But, if you decide that becoming a homeowner is the right path for you, then we are here to help you.

If you are looking to purchase your home under the Right to Buy scheme, you are in safe hands with us. As expert Right to Buy mortgage brokers, we can help advise you on your eligibility, the level of discount you will receive on your property, the amount you can afford to borrow, and the right mortgage product to suit your individual needs and circumstances.

When you are ready to process your Right to Buy mortgage application, we will manage the entire process for you; completing all the necessary paperwork, liaising with your lender and solicitors and keeping your regularly informed on the status of your application, so that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.

If you have a history of bad credit including; missing a few credit card payments or County Court Judgements (CCJs), there are still mortgage options available, even if you have previously been turned down by a high street bank or building society.

There are mortgage lenders who specialise in providing mortgages to individuals with a poor credit history. Interest rates for bad credit mortgages are usually slightly higher than standard mortgages, as you are seen to be a higher risk. However, if you keep up your repayments, your credit rating should improve and allow you to move to a standard mortgage within a few years.

Our mortgage advisors regularly deal with bad credit mortgage lenders, and are well placed to find you the perfect Right to Buy mortgage to suit your individual needs.

The Right to Buy discount varies according to how long you have been a tenant. If you have been a tenant in a council property for 3 years or more, you will receive 35% off the market value of your home. After 5 years, the discount increases by 1% for every additional year you have been living in your council property. The maximum discount you can receive is £77,900 or £103,900 if you live in London.

One of the main advantages of the Right to Buy scheme is that most mortgage lenders will accept your Right to Buy discount as your mortgage deposit. As expert mortgage advisors, we can help find you the perfect mortgage deal, which will accept your discount as your deposit, at a great price.

It’s important to remember however, that although you may not need to save for a mortgage deposit to buy your council home, you may have to pay mortgage fees to pay as well as survey and conveyancing costs, so you should save and budget at least a few thousand pounds for these expenses.