What is a fixed rate mortgage?
With a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate and your monthly payment stay the same for a set period – most commonly two, three, five or ten years. First time buyers often go for a fixed rate mortgage as it can help with monthly budget planning.
How does a fixed rate mortgage work?
- Your monthly payments are identical as long as the deal lasts, no matter how interest rates change - either up or down.
- 5-year or 10-year fixed rate mortgages are likely to have higher rates, as the lender is taking more of a risk on interest rates not going up.
- Once the fixed rate ends you’ll normally move straight on to your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), which is usually higher than what you’ve been paying, and higher than their own tracker rates.
- It can be worth preparing three to four months before your fixed rate mortgage ends so you have time to search the market for new fixed rate deals that are better than the standard variable rate.
What are the pros and cons of fixed rate mortgages?
- You have the peace of mind of knowing how much you’re going to pay every month.
- They can help buyers, especially first time buyers, budget for a fixed number of years.
- You are protected against interest rate rises that may affect variable rate mortgages.
- Fixed rates can be higher than the best variable rates.
- You are stuck on a fixed rate if other mortgage rates go down when interest rates fall.
- If you switch to another rate before your deal ends, you’d normally have to pay an early repayment charge.
What’s the difference between fixed rate and variable rate mortgages?
With fixed rate mortgages, your interest rate stays the same, so your monthly payments do too. Whereas, with variable rate mortgages, your interest rate can go up or down, so your monthly payments can too.
How Experian can help you get a fixed rate mortgage
The better your credit score, the higher your chances of getting the fixed rate mortgage you’re after.
Checking your Experian Credit Score before you apply for a mortgage can give you an idea of how lenders may see you, based on information in your Experian Credit Report – helping you work out if you need to improve your credit history before making your mortgage application.
Lenders will look at several different things to help them make up their mind:
- information on your credit report
- information you’ve given on your application form
- information they may already hold on you
- public record information (such as CCJs)
- bank statements
They’ll also look at your income, monthly outgoings and savings to check that you can afford the monthly repayments, even if your financial situation changes or interest rates go up at the end of your fixed term.
The type of mortgage you choose will likely make a difference to the amount that you repay every month, so you need to think it through carefully.Compare mortgages with Experian