Recent weeks and days have seen lenders across the board slash fixed rates, so you can now lock into five-year deals at less than 3%, or two-year deals for less than 1.5%.
But here’s some good news: you don’t have to miss out on these great offers even if the deal you’re on now doesn’t end for another few months.
You can ‘reserve’ your next fixed rate mortgage up to six months in advance. So, even if rates rise during this period, you’ll have peace of mind that your deal is already in the bag.
Here’s a run-down of some of the main lenders’ policies when it comes to securing your next fixed rate deal in advance.
New customers: If you’re remortgaging to Barclays from a different lender, you can book the fixed rate deal you want up to six months before your existing deal is due to end.
Existing customers: If your mortgage is already with Barclays, you can secure the fixed rate deal you want up to 90 days – that’s around three months – before your current deal finishes.
New customers: If you’re remortgaging from another lender, the bank says you’d need to complete by December 31 this year to secure any mortgage you apply for now.
Existing customers: If you’re already tied into a mortgage with Santander, you can apply for a fixed deal four months before your current mortgage ends.
New and existing customers: You can secure the fixed rate deal you want up to six months before you need the mortgage to start.
Nationwide Building Society
New and existing customers: You can secure a fixed rate mortgage with the building society 90 days before your current mortgage deal ends.
Halifax/ Lloyds Bank/ Bank of Scotland
New customers: If you’re remortgaging to Halifax, Lloyds Bank or Bank of Scotland from a different lender, you can book the fixed rate deal you want six months before your existing deal is due to finish. Your existing deal must end and your new mortgage complete at the same time.
Before you apply for a new fixed deal, check what your rights are if the lender cuts its rates after you've signed up for it...
Existing customers: If your mortgage is already with one of these lenders, you can secure the fixed rate deal you want up to 90 days before your current deal expires.
New customers: You can secure a fixed rate with TSB between four and seven months before you want your new mortgage to begin. If you apply now, the rate you’ve chosen will be secured until February 28, 2015.
Existing customers: You can apply for your next mortgage with TSB one month before your existing deal ends.
New and existing customers: You can secure the fixed rate deal you want up to six months before you need the mortgage to begin.
New customers: If you are remortgaging to Virgin Money from a different lender, you can apply for a fixed rate up to 29 weeks before you want the new mortgage to begin. Decisions in principle are valid for 90 days and once an offer is made it remains valid for 16 weeks.
Existing customers: You can apply for your next mortgage directly through Virgin Money three months before your existing mortgage deal ends.
The importance of starting early
Even if there’s a while to go before your current deal ends, you should start thinking sooner rather than later about what you’re going to do next.
David Hollingworth, of mortgage broker London and Country, said; “Borrowers can make the mistake of not starting their research early enough and leaving it until the point when their current deal comes to an end.
“In order to get a nice smooth switch across as soon as any current fixed or tracker rate ends they should get the ball rolling at least a couple of months before. Most lender mortgage offers will be valid for three months and it is likely to take several weeks to reach offer stage.”
Before you apply for a new fixed deal, check what your rights are if the lender cuts its rates after you’ve signed up. For example, Barclays says if its fixed rates fall further, you WILL be able to switch to a different deal, provided you do it six months before your current mortgage deal ends. There will, however, be a £150 fee to pay for switching.
If you’ve chosen a fixed deal with Halifax/ Lloyds or Bank of Scotland and its rates fall further, you will be able to switch to a different deal within the six-month period free of charge.
Get your paperwork together
The remortgage process will go much more smoothly if you get all the information you need together before you apply.
Paperwork you’ll need will include:
-Details of any existing debts, such as credit cards or personal loans
-Information on all your outgoings, including pension contributions, childcare costs and holiday spending
-Proof of your income, so payment slips from your employer, or at least three years of accounts if you are self-employed.
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Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.