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What kind of mortgage do I need?

There are different types of mortgages available. One of the key question is whether you choose a fixed or variable rate mortgage. Variable rates may be offered with a discount for an initial period e.g. the first 2 years, but there's always a chance the rate could rise if the Bank of England base rate does, making your payments even more expensive. However, it could also fall if that’s what the market does.

A fixed rate mortgage gives buyers the security of knowing their rates won’t rise for a fixed period, usually between 2 and 5 years but sometimes for as many as 10. Generally speaking, the longer you fix for, the higher the interest rate.

If you’re comparing mortgages then don’t forget to factor in to the overall cost any application fees and penalties for paying off the mortgage early – don’t just be swayed by the headline rate.

Some first-time buyers will be accepting help from their parents and there are mortgage products that reflect that. If your parents are acting as a guarantor, then it’s essential to understand what that might mean for them if you were unable to pay the mortgage.

You may even consider a bank that offers a mortgage where your parents’ savings are used to offset your borrowing. Again, it’s essential to ask what would happen if you defaulted and to make sure everyone understands the implications.