Who are the best lenders when you want to remortgage?

·4-min read
 (Pexels)
(Pexels)

The mortgage market is offering homeowners some of the cheapest deals in history. But what happens if you’re locked into the mortgage you already have?

Unless you’re on your lender’s flexible (but expensive) standard variable rate (SVR), you will almost certainly be bound by tie-ins and face steep charges to leave your agreement early.

But you don’t have to wait for your current mortgage deal to end before booking a new one. You can lock in a deal from a different lender up to six months before you need it to start. And while the new lender is beholden to the agreement, you can back out at any time.

What are the best lenders for remortgaging?

Here at ES Money, we carried out some research into the remortgaging policies of the UK’s biggest lenders (according to trade body, UK Finance) and have set out our findings below.

Before you start however, bear in mind that being accepted for a mortgage with a new lender requires an excellent credit score. Also that fees make reference to set-up fees for the mortgage, such as arrangement, booking or product fees. Separate legal and valuation fees may still apply depending on the mortgage deal, which will not be refunded.

1. Yorkshire Building Society - 5/5 stars

Mortgage validity: 6 months (from offer)

Customer experience score*: 70%

Fees: Paid on completion, so no refund required

Our verdict

Yorkshire Building Society’s mortgage offers last a full six months from the date at which the mortgage is offered. This compares to three months with some other lenders.

The Yorkshire only charges any arrangement fees when the mortgage completes. This means you won’t need to seek to reclaim the fee should you decide to pull out of the mortgage offer before that point.

The lender also has an excellent customer experience score of 70%.

2. Nationwide Building Society - 5/5 stars

Mortgage validity: 180 days (from offer)

Customer experience score*: 70%

Fees: Refund available, if paid

Our verdict

If you remortgage to Nationwide, your offer will be valid for the equivalent of six months from the point at which the offer is made.

While you can choose to pay any product fee upfront rather than add it to the loan at the point of completion, if you opt out before then, you can get a full refund. As a mortgage lender, Nationwide comes with an excellent customer service score of 70%.

3. Leeds Building Society - 5/5 stars

Mortgage validity: 180 days (from offer)

Customer experience score*: 62%

Fees: Refund available, if paid

Our verdict

Remortgage to any one of Leeds Building Society’s deals and your offer, once agreed, will be valid for the equivalent of six months. In some exceptional circumstances, Leeds might even extend beyond this point at the rate and on the same terms originally agreed.

If you opt to pay any product fee upfront rather than add it to the loan at completion, the lender will issue a refund. Leeds’ customer service score is a healthy 62%.

4. NatWest - 5/5 stars

Mortgage validity: 6 months (from offer)

Customer experience score*: 61%

Fees: Paid on completion, so no refund required

Our verdict

At NatWest, you’ll only be charged a mortgage arrangement fee at the point of completion. This means there is no circumstance under which you’d need to seek out a refund for the fee if you chose not to proceed.

Like our other top lenders in the remortgaging stakes, the six-months starts ticking from the point of offer. The customer service score at NatWest stands at an encouraging 61%.

While the same remortgage rules apply at Royal Bank of Scotland (NatWest’s sister bank), RBS has a lower customer service score of 55%.

5. Santander - 5/5 stars

Mortgage validity: 6 months (from offer)

Customer experience score*: 58%

Fees: Refund available, if paid

Our verdict

Again, you’ll have six months to hang onto any mortgage offer from Santander. If your new mortgage deal comes with an arrangement fee, you can choose to pay it upfront or add the cost to your mortgage amount at completion.

If you choose to add it to the loan, Santander offers an interest-free 21 days to repay the cost. If you’ve already paid the fee as a one-off charge, you will be refunded in full.

What’s our methodology?

Having canvassed the country’s largest mortgage lenders, we found that all of them issued mortgage offers that last for a period of six months.

To arrive at the top five however, we only included those that count the six months from the point of offer, not from when the lender receives your remortgage application.

We also only included lenders which either didn’t charge arrangement fees until completion or, where fees could be paid upfront, offered full refunds if you choose not to proceed with the offer.

Finally, we looked at customer experience scores as provided by financial data firm, Fairer Finance and any other perk that the lender may offer to new remortgage customers.

Bear in mind the rankings are based on the process of remortgaging, not the specific remortgage deals offered by the lenders, which can change.

And, as already stated above, legal and valuation fees are charged separately and not considered in our rankings.

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