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[Top»] Mortgage Help & Advice

A mortgage is a loan which is secured against your home. When you take out a mortgage you agree to pay the loan back with interest over a period of time agreed with your lender. If for any reason you cannot repay the loan, the mortgage lender can sell the house to recover the debt. That is why it is very important that you always seek the best advice and as much information as you possibly can before you commit to a mortgage.

There are numerous mortgages available to suit your own personal requirements and situations and all options must be individually investigated so see which one will suit you best. You will find basic first time mortgages, offering fixed, capped and cash back deals opportunities, interest only mortgages, buy to let and self build mortgages. Interest only mortgages allow you to only pay the interest charges on you loan and not the actual loan itself. If you take out this form of loan, you must clearly understand that you will not be reducing the amount you initially borrowed and you will need to make arrangements to repay the loan at the end of the agreed term. Because you are only repaying interest charges, many homeowners opt to take advantage of a repayment mortgage, whereby each payment made to your lender will reduce the actual loan and also the interest that you borrowed.

As with mortgages, there are also many forms of interest rates available. A fixed rate of interest is fixed for a set period of time. The rate of interest will revert back to another rate once the term has expired. A standard variable rate will vary and fluctuate alongside your lender’s mortgage rate. A tracker rate will move up or down depending on the rate of the Bank of England.

One major point to remember is to keep track of any fixed rate mortgages and in particular when the fixed rate expires. Keep a note of this date as the interest rate will more than likely increase once the tem has expired and you may find yourself in a insecure position. Contact your mortgage lender and see what other offers they have.

If you are having trouble keeping up repayments on your mortgage, seek professional advice immediately. Always speak to your mortgage provider, do not think your problems will disappear if you simply ignore them because they won’t. They will only get worse. There are many organisations that can advise you and help you manage your money. We have listed a few options to help you.

The Financial Services Authority (www.fsa.co.uk) is an independent body that regulates the financial industry in the UK and aims to protect customers like us. They will be able to offer advice.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau (www.citizensadvice.org.uk) provides free, confidential and independent advice from over 3,000 locations. Their advice helps people resolve their debt, employment, consumer and many other problems, regardless of their race, gender nationality or religion.

You can also contact the National Debtline, (www.nationaldebtline.co.uk) who will offer free confidential and independent advice to all consumers.

[Top»] Equity in your home – what is it?

Equity is the difference between any mortgage you may already have and the current value of your home. Equity release is a way of unlocking the value of your property, without having to move home. It is sometimes used by older homeowners who either have paid off their mortgage altogether or have only a small amount left to pay, but younger people are also taking advantage of the equity in their home, to extend their property. They may love where they live and have no desire to move away, but they really do need that extra bedroom or that new garage. Equity release is an attractive option in this case.

You can release some of, or all of the value, of your home to give yourself a lump sum or a regular income (or both). There are a few ways in which you can do this and here are a few ideas. As with all the advice offered on decision2day, we always suggest that you contact your own personal mortgage advisor to discuss your personal requirements with them. If you do not know a good, professional mortgage broker, or don’t where to start, why not take advantage of our independent mortgage advisor.

There are special types of loans, usually designed to run for the rest of your life, called ‘lifetime mortgages’. Here you borrow money secured against the value of your home to receive a lump sum or a regular income. The loan is then paid to the lender when your property is sold and you continue to own your home.

You can also always re-mortgage your home, which works very similar to the above concept and you may remain with your existing mortgage provider or seek better rates with another loan or mortgage provider. This extra cash is available for you to use in any way you planned, usually for home improvements, holidays or to help with your general income.

There will be costs associated to this process and these must be clarified before you go ahead with any loan agreements. You may encounter charges for solicitors and valuation fees, along with any application or arrangement fees. You may need to extend any insurance policies to cover the extended amount and always check for any early repayment charges.

[Top»] Are there any grants available?

If you are carrying out any home improvements and in particular, any work in connection with energy and efficiency, why not take advantage of the government grants that are available for all homeowners, whatever your level of income? If you have the time, why not browse the internet and see what is available?

To assist in locating an appropriate grant, why not take a look at www.government-grants.co.uk – here you will find a variety of grants which may be beneficial to you. Current grants that are available are free loft and cavity wall insulation grants, gas central heating grants and solar heating grants. If you are a home owner and you are on benefits or tax credits, or if you are over 70, you are very likely to qualify for most of these grants free.Solar heating grants are available of up to £400 towards the cost of installing solar panels.

If you are not on qualifying benefit, don’t despair, grants can be available from around 50% for most of the above grants, therefore savings can still be made.

With so much focus in the news on energy efficiency, the government has agreed a package of £910m of measures aimed at helping people with soaring bills, including half price insulation for many households. The government’s aim is to insulate every home in Britain by 2010.