Real Estate

Types of mortgages

Here is a useful guide to the different types of mortgages that are available.

A mortgage is a loan you take out to buy property. You can get a mortgage direct from the lender such as banks, building societies and specialist mortgage lenders.

Your mortgage is probably the biggest loan you will ever take out, so it is important to get a mortgage that suits you. This will depend on your personal circumstances and your plans for the future. Many mortgages have hidden drawbacks. Get independent advice before you choose a mortgage.

There are two basic types of mortgage, interest-only and repayment. The option you choose is determined by the way you want to repay your loan. There is no hard and fast rule about which is better. It is a matter of individual preference.

Interest only

An interest-only mortgage allows you to repay just the interest on your loan, but you have to take out an investment that will mature to pay off the outstanding amount. If your investment performs well then you may have some money left over after paying back your mortgage. But there is also a risk that the investment will under-perform leaving you to make up any shortfall.


A repayment mortgage requires you to pay back both interest and loan capital, so at the end of your mortgage period there is no money owing. Early on you pay mostly interest, so it might seem that the outstanding balance never gets lower. But later on you will repay more capital, and the total will decrease more quickly.

Here is a selection of the different mortgages that are available:

Discount mortgages

This is where lenders offer a reduction on the standard variable rate for a fixed period. This type of mortgage is good for someone wanting to make savings in the early days of owning a property. But be aware that the rate can change as it is fixed to the standard variable rate.

Fixed mortgages

With a fixed rate, your payments stay the same no matter what happens to the base rate. This is a sensible option for people who want to know exactly what they will be paying for a certain period. There is always a risk that, if interest rates fall, you might be left paying an uncompetitive rate. On the other hand, a rise in rates will leave you paying less than people on other schemes.

Tracker mortgages

This type of mortgage follows the Bank of England base rate. It will usually stay a set margin above the base rate for the duration of the loan. They are suitable for people who think base rates might be on a downward trend.

Capped mortgages

These schemes are similar to fixed rate mortgages, but give you a get-out if rates fall sharply. They allow you to pay either the capped rate or the lender’s standard variable rate, whichever is lower. They can initially be slightly more expensive than other deals, but if rates fall they can pay off.

Offset mortgages

They will link your current account and your mortgage. You pay your salary into an account and your mortgage payment is taken out as per usual. But any extra cash in the account is also used to offset against the amount you owe on the mortgage, so you pay less interest.

Flexible mortgages

Another way of managing your mortgage is through a flexible arrangement. This allows you to pay more money off your mortgage when you have it, or take a payment holiday if things are a bit tight. Some lenders will allow you to overpay each month and withdraw the extra cash if you need it later. And if you have the money, you can pay off your mortgage early. Any money you can pay off early will save you interest payments.

About the author
John Mussi is the founder of Direct Online Loans who help UK homeowners find the best available loans via the website.