Updated: December 16, 2021

What are the maximum mortgage terms?

What is the longest mortgage term in the UK? Is it in your interests to get a longer deal? Our in-depth guide will tell you all you need to know about how to get one.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: December 16, 2021

The longer the mortgage term, the more time you have to repay – but the bigger the financial commitment. So, is it better to go for a longer term or shorter? The answer isn’t a straightforward one. It all comes down to your individual circumstances.

To help you make up your mind, here’s everything you need to know about maximum mortgage terms, all the benefits and disadvantages and what steps you can take to find the best lenders.

What’s the maximum term you can get for a mortgage?

The maximum mortgage term is 40 years. Most lenders now regularly offer 30 and 35-year mortgages, and some – including Barclays, Nationwide and Leeds Building Society – will stretch to 40 years, based on the strength of the application.

Traditionally, the average mortgage term in the UK is 25 years, but long term mortgages are becoming increasingly common. A 40-year mortgage is a big financial commitment and won’t suit everybody. An experienced mortgage broker will be best placed to offer the right guidance as to whether a longer term suits your particular circumstances.

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What are the pros and cons of a long-term mortgage?

To help you decide whether to max out your mortgage term, we’ve rounded up the advantages and disadvantages of lengthy mortgage agreements below…

Pros

  • Your monthly repayments will be lower. By spreading the cost of your mortgage out over more years, the amount you have to pay back each month will be lower
  • You may be able to get on the housing ladder quicker.  Lenders have put in place much stricter affordability checks in recent years to ensure monthly repayments can be met, especially if interest rates go up. Longer-term mortgages can make it more likely you’ll fit the criteria

Cons

  • It’ll cost you more in the long run. A longer-term mortgage will mean a bigger interest bill overall as you’ll be paying interest on the capital borrowed for a greater period.
  • You could be paying your mortgage off in retirement.  Given the average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is 33, you could be paying off your mortgage into your 70s if you go for a 40-year term.

Some lenders have a limit on the age you can be at the end of your mortgage term as they don’t like lending to people in retirement. This could limit your borrowing options and, ultimately, your choice of interest rate offers.

How to get a maximum term mortgage

If you want to look at a longer term for your mortgage, there’s a few simple steps you can take at the outset in order to make the whole process much more straightforward. This is how we’d recommend you do it…

Step 1. Get the right documents together

Having your paperwork ready can speed up the process and save you precious time. You’ll need three months’ of bank statements, proof of address, proof of income and a copy of your credit report, among other documents.

You may also need evidence of pensions, savings or other investments you’ll use to make repayments if your term stretches into your retirement and you’re no longer earning.

You can find a full list of the paperwork you’ll need in our complete guide to mortgage applications.

Step 2. Check your credit reports

It’s a good idea to check all of your credit reports before you get started.

If you’re applying for a longer-term loan, lenders will scrutinise your credit reports even more rigorously. They’ll want to make sure you’ve got a proven track record of paying back debt as they’re lending you money for a longer period of time.

You can download your credit reports through our dedicated credit reports hub.

Step 3. Speak to an experienced mortgage broker

One of the shrewdest decisions you can make is speaking to an independent mortgage broker who specialises in maximum-term mortgages, rather than going to lenders directly. They’ll be able to explain the full implications of a longer term and make sure it’s definitely the best fit for you.

They’ll also be able to search the whole market, compare all 25-year plus mortgages and guide you through the application process. This is important because getting turned down by a lender can leave a mark on your credit history.

Remember, brokers also get access to exclusive deals and can negotiate with lenders on your behalf.

Our free, broker-matching service will quickly assess your needs and circumstances to pair you with a mortgage advisor who’s ideally placed to help you – Make an enquiry to get started.

What eligibility criteria do you need to meet?

Whether you’re applying for a standard or longer term, the eligibility criteria is pretty much the same.

Lenders will look at the following…

  • Job status: Secure employment is generally preferred but it’s possible to get a longer-term mortgage with complex self-employed income through a broker.
  • Deposit: The more you have, the better – see below for more information about deposit requirements for longer-term mortgages
  • Credit history: Clean credit will help improve your prospects, but there are specialist lenders and brokers for customers with a history of bad credit
  • Income and outgoings: Any existing debts you may have and your spending habits will be offset against your income. Having significantly high outgoings could impact the amount you’re able to borrow.

Age restrictions

If you want a longer term mortgage, a stumbling block may be your age as some providers won’t lend to you if the term runs past your 75th birthday. Most people’s income falls around this age so the lender will be concerned you might not be able to afford your mortgage repayments.

Some lenders, however, have age limits of 85 or 90 and a few have no age restrictions at all. You’ll probably need to prove you’ll have sufficient income to meet your repayments by showing them evidence of your savings, pension pot or other investments.

Do you need a bigger deposit?

You don’t need a large deposit to qualify for a longer term, but as is the case with most mortgages, the bigger the deposit you have, the more likely you are to secure a lower rate.

A good starting point is usually around 15%-20% deposit, however, if you’re unable to go as high as this your broker will be able to scour the market for you to find a lender who can offer the best terms for smaller deposits.

Can you extend the term on your current mortgage?

Yes, mortgage lenders will typically let you extend your existing term. You’ll have to fill out an application and your lender will carry out some additional affordability checks before making their final decision to ensure nothing’s changed (credit score, for example) since you first took out the loan.

The lender will also check how old you are as they may have a maximum age limit. If you’re a certain age at the end of the term – generally between 70 and 90 depending on the lender – they may not extend your term.

Whether you can extend your mortgage term is down to your lender’s discretion, but if they decline your request, speak to a broker to find out whether it’s in your best interest to remortgage with another mortgage provider who would offer a longer agreement.

What about interest-only and buy-to-let mortgages?

Most interest-only mortgage terms range from 5 to 25 years but some lenders could let you extend to 30, 35 or even 40 years. So, the same as for standard capital repayments. Again, it’s not guaranteed and will depend on the same factors as outlined above.

Buy-to-let mortgages can also be extended up to 35 or 40 years but the approval process can be a lot trickier as a lender will want to be confident the rental yields will still cover the mortgage repayments for this extended period.

Get matched with an experienced mortgage broker

Longer-term mortgages are far more widely available than they used to be, but not all lenders offer them. That’s why it’s worth speaking with a specialist broker who can get access to exclusive deals and find the best product for you from across the whole market.

Make an enquiry and get matched with a broker who specialises in maximum-term mortgages today. We hand-pick all the brokers in our network and rigorously vet them on your behalf so you can be assured you’re getting the best advice possible.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

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FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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