Updated: February 16, 2022

Remortgaging To Pay Off Debts

Thinking about remortgaging to pay off your debts? It can be done! Find out the different ways to do it and what you need in our in-depth guide.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 16, 2022

Remortgaging to consolidate all of your debts into one monthly repayment can significantly reduce your overall outgoings and give you greater control over your finances.

In this article we’ll look at all the advantages of managing your finances this way, what the process involves and where to look for any guidance you might need.

Can you remortgage to pay off debt?

Yes. Although it’s better described as ‘consolidating’ debt. Effectively, you’re transferring other debts to your mortgage balance, usually to benefit from cheaper rates or make them more manageable.

In addition to a mortgage, most homeowners have additional debt by way of:

  • Loans
  • Credit cards
  • Car finance
  • Store cards
  • Secured loans

You will need to have sufficient equity in your property to allow further borrowing and demonstrate that you are eligible for a bigger loan. If you satisfy those requirements you can transfer your debts to a more affordable deal that benefits from lower interest rates and longer repayment terms.

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Ways to remortgage and pay off debts

There’s basically two ways you can do this, which are:

  • Remortgage to a cheaper deal: This will reduce your mortgage repayment and free up more of your monthly income to increase payments on other debts, allowing you to clear these balances sooner.
  • Remortgage and release equity: This will allow you to take a lump sum to pay off other debts in one go. In many cases your mortgage payment will go up, but your overall monthly outgoings will be reduced.

How to do this: step-by-step guide

If you’re interested in remortgaging in order to pay off your other short-term debt, there’s a few simple steps you can take to make the process much more straightforward: There are several steps to take before making a decision:

Step 1: Calculate your total debt and equity

Contact each of your lenders and ask for a settlement figure in writing. It should include any fees or charges for settling early and will have an expiry date. Make sure you get one for your mortgage as well

To find a guide price for your property, check sale prices for similar properties that have recently been sold in your area. This is completely free and can be done using the government website or by contacting a local estate agent.

To calculate your equity, deduct the amount of all outstanding debts secured against it from its value.

Let’s imagine your home is worth £250,000. Your outstanding mortgage debt is £135,000 and you have a secured loan of £15,000 totalling £150,000. You own £100,000 of the property outright which equates to equity of 40%. You can only borrow more money against the proportion of the property that you own.

Step 2: Work out how much you need to borrow

The amount you need to borrow will be determined by a number of factors:

  • Any outstanding secured and unsecured debt
  • Savings
  • Remortgaging costs such as legal fees and new valuation fees
  • Early settlement charges

If you can clear some debt or cover fees from your savings, that may be your best option. But if you don’t have savings or would rather keep them for emergencies without borrowing short-term again, then remortgaging could be the best option for you.

Step 4: Speak to a broker

Borrowing more to pay off debts is a big decision and should never be taken lightly. But in many cases, it is your best option. A mortgage broker will talk you through your choices and help you come to a balanced decision to minimise both your immediate outgoings and the long-term costs of borrowing.

The brokers we work with will know which lenders are most likely to approve your application so your chances of being accepted are vastly improved than if you go it alone. If you’re already beginning to feel debt getting on top of you, this can be vital as rejected applications will harm your credit rating and make future applications less likely to be approved.

If you get in touch we can arrange for a remortgage specialist to contact you directly.

Eligibility criteria

When you apply to remortgage for the specific purpose to pay off debt, all lenders will need to satisfy themselves that they are helping you and not making your debt problems worse. To do this, they will pay particular attention to how you’ve managed your finances up to now.

Credit rating

This is a key factor when remortgaging to consolidate debt. It provides a snapshot of your credit history. Arrears (even arrears on your mortgage), defaults and CCJs will not necessarily prevent you from being approved for a remortgage but will limit your options and mean you pay higher rates.

Some lenders will calculate all or some of your existing debt repayments into your monthly expenses in case you rack up debt again. Others will want to pay your creditors directly instead of transferring the money to your account.

If you are currently in an IVA, restrictions will be placed on your property while it is in place. If you want to remortgage or sell the property you will need permission from the supervisor.

Other eligibility requirements

In addition to making sure your credit rating is in good shape, you’ll need to satisfy the other eligibility requirements of the new lender.

These include:

  • Loan to value (LTV) ratio: The lower your LTV, the more chance you have of being approved for the loan and the better the rate you will be offered. Most lenders cap LTV at 90% and you will need to consider the entire amount you wish to borrow, including any fees, not just the sum of your mortgage balance and outstanding debt.
  • Age: Many lenders are uncomfortable lending to older borrowers and will limit borrowing amounts or terms for over 55s.
  • Affordability: Lenders are duty bound to make sure you can afford the repayments. Often, the best rates are reserved for those with a regular income and minimal outgoings. As a general guide, you can borrow around 4.5 times your salary. Different lenders have different ways of calculating income. If you’re self-employed or want bonuses, overtime or benefits taken into consideration, a broker can help identify lenders who will look more favourably on your application.
  • Income to debt ratio: This is your monthly outgoings compared with your monthly income. For example, if you earn £2500 per month and your outgoings are £1000 per month, your income to debt ratio is 40%. Lenders use this to help calculate your ability to keep up repayments.

The benefits of remortgaging to pay off your debts

Credit cards and store cards are one of the most expensive ways to borrow. If you only pay the minimum amount your debt continues to grow.

Spiralling debt can be hugely stressful. Remortgaging to get a grip of it may seem like the obvious answer. But it comes with risks and you should speak to a mortgage advisor if this is something you’re considering.

Before making a decision on whether it’s right for you, consider these aspects:

Advantages

  • Take advantage of the best rates available to you
  • Reduce your monthly outgoings
  • Reduce stress
  • Gain control of your finances and improve your future credit rating
  • Fixed rate options

Disadvantages

  • Your home is at risk
  • May cost you more overall
  • You may have to pay early settlement fees
  • It can backfire if your new monthly payments don’t reduce by enough and you need to borrow again

Alternative ways to clear debt

Before committing to remortgaging to clear debts, it’s worth considering other options, such as:

  • Unsecured loan: With a good credit rating and affordability you can borrow up to £25,000 with an unsecured personal loan. Rates are higher than borrowing against your property, but your home is not at risk. The maximum term is usually 7 years.
  • Secured loan: A secured loan or second charge allows you to borrow more against your property without remortgaging. Rates are higher than a standard mortgage, but you can often borrow more than the lump sum you would receive through a remortgage. If you move home while the secured loan is still active, you will usually need to pay it off.
  • Balance transfer credit card: Transferring to a lower rate or 0% credit card can reduce your monthly outgoings but if you don’t use that extra money to pay off the debt you will eventually end up in the same position. This requires financial discipline.

Get matched with an expert mortgage broker today

If your existing fixed term is coming to an end, now is the time to look at your remortgage options. If your level of debt is starting to mount and cause you concern, it’s best to act fast to ensure you have the maximum number of options on the table.

We work with mortgage brokers who have access to high street lenders and specialist mortgage providers. They can help advise you on the best course of action for now and to protect your financial future.

Call today on 0808 189 0463 or enquire online to arrange a no-obligation chat.

FAQs

Can I extend my interest only mortgage to pay off debt?

It’s unlikely but not impossible. But there are other options and, depending on eligibility, you may be able to take out a second mortgage on repayment terms without settling the interest-only element of borrowing.

How long does a remortgage application take to complete?

Most remortgages take between  six – eight weeks to complete but it can be sooner. If you have a lot of debt or if your accounts are in arrears it may take longer to gather all the information together and for a lender to reach a decision.

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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!

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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