Adverse credit mortgage

A mortgage for people with a poor credit history. Also see Sub‑prime.


Annual percentage rate. The overall cost of a mortgage, including the interest and fees. It assumes you will have the mortgage for the whole term, so may not be a useful way to compare deals.

Arrangement fee

A set‑up fee for your mortgage.
Most mortgage lenders will allow you to add this fee to the loan, but you should avoid this as you will end up paying interest on it for the life of the loan.


If you go into arrears it means you have ‘defaulted’ at least once on your mortgage repayments, i.e. you have missed a month’s payment.
Contact your lender as soon as possible if you think you may go into arrears.


Accident Sickness and Unemployment cover

Base rate

A rate of interest set by the Bank of England, which tracker rates and lenders’ standard variable rates usually follow.

Booking fee

A type of mortgage set‑up fee.

Buildings insurance

Insurance which covers you for damage to the structure of your home. A lender will require you to have buildings insurance in place when you take out a mortgage.


A buy‑to‑let property is bought with the sole intention of letting it to tenants. Most mortgage lenders offer special ‘buy‑to‑let’ mortgage deals for this purpose.
As this type of lending poses a greater risk to the lender, it is usually more expensive than a residential mortgage.
Some buy‑to‑let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


The amount of money you borrow to buy a property.

Capped rate

The mortgage interest rate charged by your lender will never exceed the upper ‘capped’ limit, regardless of increases to the Bank of England base rate.

Cashback mortgage

Your lender gives you a certain amount of cash on completion, which could be useful to spend on decorating, for example. You should factor this money into the total cost of your mortgage over the initial period to decide whether it’s a good deal.


County Court Judgement. These are made against you for non‑payment of debt, and could make it harder for you to get a mortgage.


If your mortgage deal has a collar, your interest rate will not fall any lower than the specified amount. So if rates drop to 3.75% and your deal is collared at 4%, you‘ll miss out on the savings this lower rate will bring.


The legal process of buying and selling property. This can be done by a solicitor or specialist licensed conveyancer.

Current account mortgage (Cam)

Your mortgage, credit card and loan debts, and your current account and savings balances are combined into one account. Your credit balances offset your debts so you only pay interest on the difference.
These are usually more expensive than conventional mortgages, so whether they are worth it for you depends on your circumstances.


This is the amount you are required to put down yourself towards the cost of the property. Most mortgages require you to pay at least 10% of the property’s value as a deposit. The cheapest deals are available if you can pay a deposit of at least 40%.

Discounted‑rate mortgage

A discounted‑rate deal is one where the interest rate you are charged is a set amount less than your mortgage lender’s standard variable rate (SVR). For example, if the lender has an SVR of 5.5% and the discount is 1%, then you will pay 4.5%.

Early repayment charges (ERCs)

Penalty fees you have to pay if you want to leave your mortgage during a specified period, usually the period of the initial deal. They can be charged at around 1‑3% of the amount of the loan you have left to pay off.


The amount of money you would have left after subtracting the amount outstanding on your mortgage from the value of your property.

Equity release scheme

Our referral partner for Equity Release is Key Partnerships, the UK’s number one advice firm in the Equity Release sector.
This is a lifetime mortgage/ home reversion plan. To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration.

Fixed‑rate mortgage

The mortgage interest rate stays the same for the initial period of the deal, usually two to five years. This means you can be sure of exactly what you will be paying on your mortgage each month, as your rate won’t go up ‑ or down ‑ with the Bank of England base rate as it would with a variable‑rate mortgage.

Flexible mortgage

A flexible mortgage deal allows you to overpay, underpay or even take a ‘payment holiday’ from your mortgage. This can help you pay your mortgage off early and save money on interest, but flexible mortgages are usually more expensive than conventional ones.


You own the property and the land it stands on.


A third party who agrees to meet the monthly mortgage repayment if you are unable to. This is more common with first‑time buyers, with the guarantor likely to be their parent or guardian.

Higher lending charge (HLC)

This is sometimes charged by your mortgage lender if you are borrowing more than 75% of the property’s value. It protects the lender against you defaulting on your mortgage.

Interest‑only mortgage

You pay just the interest on your mortgage each month. You should pay money into an investment each month too so that you can pay off the loan at the end of the term, but there is no guarantee you will end up with enough.

Land Registry

The official body responsible for maintaining details of property ownership.


A leaseholder of a property does not own it or the associated land. The lease gives him or her the right to occupy it for a set period in return for payment of a ground rent to the freeholder of the property. There is no minimum or maximum period for which a lease can run, though 99 years is common (longer terms were common on the past, and therefore still exist).
A leasehold can be used as security for a mortgage, however, lenders generally require a minimum remaining term on the lease in order to consider the proposition.

Lifetime mortgages

See Equity release schemes.

Loan‑to‑value (LTV)

The size of your mortgage as a percentage of the property’s value. The cheapest deals are currently available if you are borrowing 60% or less.

Monthly repayment

The amount you pay your lender for your mortgage each month.

Mortgage agreement in principle

A document from a mortgage lender to show you will be able to borrow a certain amount. You can use this to prove to a seller that you can afford to buy their property.

Mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI)

This covers your monthly mortgage payments if you can no longer make them as a result of sickness, accident, or involuntary redundancy. The maximum benefit period for Accident and sickness cover and combined accident, sickness & unemployment cover is 12 or 24 months and for Unemployment cover only this is 12 months.

Mortgage term

The amount of time you are taking the mortgage out for; 25 years, for example.

Mortgage deed

A formal contract between lender and borrower, outlining the legal obligations of the borrower and the rights the lender has should the borrower fail to make a repayment (see Defaulting).

Negative equity

When the value of your home falls to a level which is below the amount remaining on your mortgage.

Offset mortgage

An offset mortgage links your mortgage with your savings and, sometimes, your current account. Your credit balances are offset against your mortgage debt so you only pay interest on the difference.
These are usually more expensive than conventional mortgages so whether they are worth it for you depends on your circumstances.


A portable mortgage will allow you to transfer your borrowing from one property to another if you move, without paying any extra fees.

Rebuild cost

The cost of rebuilding your home for insurance purposes if it is destroyed.

Repayment mortgage

You pay off the mortgage interest and part of the capital of your loan each month. This is the only type of mortgage which guarantees that you will pay off the mortgage by the end of the term.

Repayment vehicle

An investment or bank account you pay money into each month, to try to build up the amount of money you need to pay off the mortgage at the end of the term.

Shared ownership

Shared ownership schemes are designed to allow people who would otherwise be unable to get a foot on the property ladder to do so.
The home buyer takes out a mortgage on a share of a property from a local housing association and pays rent to it for the rest.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a ‘purchase tax’ and is generally payable where the purchase price of the property is higher than a pre‑defined limit set by the government. We will be able to confirm the current charge, which is based on a percentage of the property purchase price. Stamp duty is not payable for remortgages.

Standard variable rate (SVR)

The default mortgage interest rate your lender will charge after your initial mortgage deal. When your ‘tie‑in’ period is up, your interest rate will move to the lender’s SVR, which could be higher or lower than your initial rate.


A sub‑prime, or non‑conforming, mortgage is geared towards people who have had credit problems. It is now much harder to get a sub‑prime mortgage than before the credit crunch.

Tie‑in period

This is the period during which you are ‘locked in’ to your mortgage deal, and would have to pay an early repayment charge to move your mortgage elsewhere.

Tracker mortgage

The interest rate on your mortgage tracks the Bank of England base rate at a set margin above or below it.


Lenders require you to carry out a valuation to verify that the property is worth the amount you want to borrow.
You should also get a survey done, such as a Homebuyer’s report, home condition report or building survey, to find out about the condition of the property.

Variable‑rate mortgage

The interest rate on your mortgage can go up or down according to your lender’s standard‑variable rate.