What Is a Fixed Rate Mortgage?
A fixed rate mortgage is a mortgage where the interest rate you’re charged is fixed to a certain date or for a certain number of years - e.g. 2% interest for 5 years.
A fixed term is different from the overall mortgage term. The overall mortgage term is the total amount of time over which you pay back the mortgage. So for example, you’d take out a 25 year mortgage with a fixed rate of 2% for the first 5 years.
Your lender will transfer you onto their SVR (standard variable rate) when you reach the end of your fixed rate period, unless you choose to remortgage or take a new product with your current lender.
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How Long Does a Fixed Rate Last?
Residential mortgages typically have fixed terms that last between 1 and 10 years. It tends to be the case that the longer the fixed term, the more expensive the rate.
|1 Year Fix||The shortest fixed term available is 1 year. 1 year fixed rates are extremely rare and only available from specialist lenders. They’re usually based on very specific needs, therefore they typically come with more expensive rates than other fixed rate products.|
|2 Year Fix||2 year fixed rates are very popular and there are many on the market. They offer stability for people with no immediate plans to move home and are often cheaper than the other common product – a 5 year fix. Their high level of availability means that they’re typically among the lowest fixed rate mortgage products. Compare rates using our tool above.|
|3 Year Fix||Most 3 year fixed rates are needs based. They’re suitable if you want to stay in your property now – and therefore want stability - but intend on moving in the next 3 - 5 years. They tend to be more expensive than 2 year fixed rates but cheaper than most 5 year fixed rates.|
|5 Year Fix||5 year fixed mortgage rates, like 2 year fixes, are common and popular among borrowers. You may want a 5 year fix if you intend on staying in your property for the medium to long term future but are open to/expect your situation to change later on. It provides stability without asking you to think too far in advance. Use our best buys tool above to compare the best 5 year fixed rate mortgage deals currently on the market.|
|10 Year Fix||Typically, the longest fixed term most lenders will offer you is 10 years. A 10 year fix is suitable if you plan on staying in your home for the foreseeable future and/or would like to budget for the long term with a set monthly payment. To compare the best 10 year fixed rate mortgage products on the market, select the "more than 5 years" option under Initial Rate Period on our best buys above.|
|Longer than 10 Years||Sometimes lenders will offer fixed rates for more than 10 years – but this is very rare. Talk to your adviser if this is something you require.|
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Process for Buying a Home/Remortgaging
1. First Conversation with Adviser
When you phone us, you can either arrange a phone appointment with your adviser or a face-to-face meeting – whatever suits you. Your adviser will ask you some questions then go away and find you the best deal for your circumstances and future needs. They’ll organise a follow up during which they’ll present you with what they’ve found.
2. Decision in Principle
Once you’re happy with their recommendation, they’ll go about securing your DIP (Decision in Principle) - which is basically a promise from the lender that they’ll loan you money on the condition that the information you’ve provided is correct and subject to a valuation of the property.
3. Offer on Property/Remortgaging
After the lender has agreed your scenario, you’ll be in a position to make an offer on a property or move forward with the remortgaging.
4. Pre-Application and Submission
Following the acceptance of your offer, we’ll send you some information which explains all the documents we need to submit to the lender. You’ll be assigned a client relationship manager who’ll check and submit certified copies of your documents; they’ll liaise with both you and the lender. Your adviser will then submit the fully packaged mortgage application.
5. Lender Underwriting and Valuation
The lender will underwrite your application; this basically means they’ll verify that the information you’ve provided is correct and review all your documents for themselves. They’ll also instruct a valuation for their purposes on the property to make sure there are no significant problems with it.
6. Mortgage Offer
If the lender is happy with everything they’ve found, they’ll send you a mortgage offer. They’ll also send us a copy.
After you’ve accepted your mortgage offer, you’ll go through the legal part of the process, known as conveyancing. This is where the solicitors/conveyancers draw up contracts and organise the actual, legal purchase of the property/the remortgage. If you're buying, you’ll also need to arrange buildings insurance at this stage, making sure it’s in place from exchange.
8. Exchange and Completion
If you’re buying a property, your conveyancer/solicitor will exchange contracts with the seller’s conveyancer/solicitor; it’s at this point that you would put down your deposit and be legally bound to the property. The purchase will complete when the money is transferred on an agreed-upon date. If you’re remortgaging, then your conveyancer/solicitor will set a date to draw down the funds and pay off any existing lender(s) once the mortgage offer’s released.
Fixed Rate FAQs
What Happens at the End of a Fixed Rate?
After your fixed rate ends, you’ll be transferred onto your lender’s SVR (standard variable rate) for the remainder of the mortgage term. A lender’s SVR will normally be much higher than whatever introductory deal you were on – which is why many people choose to remortgage or take a new deal with their existing lender as they come to the end of the fixed period.
You can start to arrange a remortgage up to 6 months before the end of your introductory rate.
Is a Fixed Rate Better than a Variable Rate?
Fixed rates have certain benefits that variable rates don’t.
Some benefits to fixed rates include:
- You always know how much interest you’ll pay
- You can budget according to how much interest you’ll pay
- They’re stable
On the other hand, variable rates like discount or tracker rates come with benefits that fixed rates don’t.
Some benefits to variable rates include:
- If the rate falls, you could end up paying less interest and benefitting from a lower monthly payment
- They tend to offer more flexibility regarding ERCs (early repayment charges) than fixed rates
- There are generally more longer term or lifetime variable rates available which means you are less likely to need to remortgage
Find more information on the different mortgage types in our guide.
Can I Get Out of a Fixed Rate?
It is possible to get out of a fixed rate by remortgaging onto a new product or repaying your mortgage, but remortgaging before the fixed period/introductory deal ends may result in you facing ERCs (early repayment charges). These can often make leaving your current mortgage product before the fixed term ends expensive.
Can I Remortgage During a Fixed Term?
It is possible to remortgage during your fixed term or introductory deal however you’ll likely face ERCs, which can make remortgaging more money than it’s worth.
Can I Remortgage onto a Fixed Rate?
Many people will remortgage onto a new fixed rate as their current introductory deal is about to end to avoid being transferred onto their lender’s SVR.
What’s the Best Fixed Rate Mortgage Deal?
There’s no single best fixed deal. What’s best for you will depend on your situation and needs. For example, do you intend on staying in the same property for the foreseeable future or do you intend on moving after a couple of years? Asking these kinds of questions and discussing them with your adviser will help them figure out whether a shorter or longer term fix will work for you. There’s also an option to offset your savings against your mortgage, so that you pay less interest. Speak to one of our advisers on 03304 332 927 as they’ll tell you which product would best suit you.