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Fixed rate mortgage term ending: What to do

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Millions of people are coming to the end of their fixed rate mortgages. If this is happening to you, you may feel you cannot afford the new variable rate. Or you may have fallen behind with payments already. Find out what you need to do next.

Your lender should contact you before the term ends. They will share details about the options available to you. It is important to act as early as possible before your mortgage deal ends.

Read our homeowners guides.

Equity release and mortgage advice is provided by StepChange Financial Solutions, a subsidiary of StepChange Debt Charity. It is not a lender but works on behalf of our clients to search the market for a range of mortgage and equity release products that will best suit their needs.

What happens if I do nothing?

You will usually be moved by your lender on to their ‘standard variable rate’ (SVR) mortgage. This means if the interest rate changes your mortgage payments can go up or down each month. The interest rates are often higher for SVRs than for fixed rate mortgages.

How do SVRs work?

These rates do not always follow the Bank of England base rates. Lenders set their own rates. But they are often influenced by Bank of England changes.

Lenders look at other factors too, such as how much borrowing costs them.

Five steps to remember when your fixed rate mortgage is coming to an end

When your fixed-rate mortgage is coming to an end, your lender will present new deals. It could be another fixed rate, but watch out for the 'standard variable rate' (SVR) – it might not suit you.

Here are five steps to remember:  

  • Explore your options early. Look at a new mortgage deal as early as you can with your lender, or explore other options
  • Check you can afford it. If you are already behind with your mortgage payments, and a new mortgage deal is too pricey, talk to your lender
  • Budget wisely. Make a budget to manage your money in a way that works for you
  • Protect your home. Make sure you can pay 'priority bills' like council tax to protect your home
  • We are here to help. Get in touch if you need support

Getting your finances on track

Are you worried about the change to your mortgage is causing you financial difficulties? Don’t wait to get help. Answer a few simple questions to find out what help you need.

Budget to cover mortgage payments

This is the first way to deal with money worries. Make a budget that lists your regular income, spending and any debts.

You can use your budget to:

  • See if there are any areas where you can cut back on spending
  • Make sure you are keeping up to date with your most important bills, like your mortgage
  • Show the people you owe money to you that you are paying them what you can afford

Find out more about how to make a budget.

Watch our video budgeting guide

What is an Individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)

Get free debt help online

When we help you, we will make your budget with you. You can do this through our online debt tool at any time that suits you.

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"I thought all hope had gone for me finding a replacement mortgage, I thought I was going to lose my home.

"You have found me a perfect mortgage with all my requirements. I cannot thank you enough."

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Pay your most important bills first

Avoid problems down the line by keeping up with your ‘priority payments’. These are the bills or debts that could lead to serious consequences if you do not pay.

Find out which bills to pay first

Speak to your lender if you are in, or at risk of arrears

It can be scary, but you must speak to your lender as soon as you can. Many will understand and find ways to help you. They will look into different options with you.

Some lenders will offer a 'payment holiday'. This is when you stop paying for a short time. It can give you some time to get back on track. If they will not offer you a payment holiday, they may agree you pay less for a while, while you cannot afford to pay more.

If you pay less or have a break from making payments, this may be marked on your credit file.

When you get in touch with your lender:

  • Share your budget
  • Explain why you are unable to pay
  • Show how much you can afford
  • Ask them to agree that you will repay what you owe at a rate you can afford
  • Carry on making these payments as agreed

Read our guide to dealing with mortgage arrears

Mortgage options

Some of the options that may be available to you are described below. Not all will be available or suitable for you depending on your circumstances. It is important you get appropriate advice to understand each option, including the risks of each, before making any decisions.

Get a new deal

Ask your lender what they can offer you.

Finding out what options there are can help you to decide what to do next. You need to look into this as early as possible. Don't wait for your deal to end.

It may be possible to do this by remortgaging your home with another lender. This may mean your mortgage will be:

  • Better suited to what you need right now
  • A better fit for your future plans

Before you go ahead with a deal with another lender, you need to be aware of the extra costs involved. Make sure you can afford:

  • Application feeds
  • Conveyancing
  • Legal fees
  • Any other costs that you may need to cover

Our mortgage and equity release experts can help you

You need unbiased advice you can trust. There are no hidden fees for our service. Contact StepChange Financial Solutions today

Take your mortgage over a longer term

  • Ask your lender what they can offer you
  • You may need to have an additional credit and affordability check to make sure this is right for you
  • Don’t wait for your deal to end. Looking at your options early gives you chance to shop around.

This will increase the overall cost of your mortgage repayments. This is called the “total amount payable”.

Retirement mortgages

These are designed for people who:

  • Have retired already
  • Are planning to retire

This type of mortgage will last until your home is sold.

Some people like this type of mortgage because:

  • There can be a more competitive interest rate than with equity release
  • There is no need to move
  • The interest rate is usually fixed for five years
  • There is flexibility to repay the mortgage without paying a penalty
  • There are different rates and products to suit different circumstances

Risks of retirement mortgages

  • Releasing equity might affect your tax position and entitlement to means-tested benefits
  • Future property prices might be higher or lower than they are today
  • Releasing equity from your home will reduce the value of your estate, affecting the amount of inheritance you might leave
  • There are implications of securing other debts against your home
  • Consolidating debts over a longer period may mean you pay more overall

Find out about retirement mortgages

Equity release

With equity release, you could access funds from your property, without having to sell your home. You may be able to do this if:

  • You are 55 or older
  • And you have at least 50% equity in your home

You can get this money as a lump sum or in regular payments.

The offer is based on your age and value of your home.

Work out how much equity you have with our equity release calculator.

We can talk you through your options so you are able to make an informed choice. Contact us.

Risks of equity release

  • You don’t pay tax by releasing equity, but the way it’s released might affect your tax position and entitlement to means-tested benefits
  • There may be more suitable alternatives, such as downsizing to a smaller property or remortgaging
  • Future property prices might be higher or lower than they are today
  • Releasing equity from your home will reduce the value of your estate, affecting the amount of inheritance you might leave
  • There are implications to securing other debts against your home
  • Consolidating debts over a longer period may mean you pay more overall
  • If you're planning home improvements, a government grant may be a better option for you

Find out more about equity release

I have a bad credit score. Can I get a new mortgage?

Lenders will see you as more of a risk to lend to if your credit file includes:

This doesn’t mean that you cannot get a mortgage. But you may have to pay more in interest and fees.

Find out more about how credit scores are worked out.

I’m on a debt solution. Can I change my mortgage?

This depends on the debt solution.

If you are bankrupt: Lenders are very unlikely to lend to you, during your bankruptcy and while it is on your credit file.

If you are on a repayment solution, such as a debt management plan (DMP): Lenders will see you are making reduced payments through your DMP which can mean it will be harder to take out credit. But, as this shows you dealing with your money worries and paying what you owe, they may lend to you.

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We have helped millions of people since 1993.

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