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Mortgages for over 50s: your complete guide

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Updated
March 22, 2024

In a nutshell

You’ve got a lot of options while in your 50s (and beyond), when it comes to mortgages. These days, there’s some great mortgage options to buy a home, or borrow more money on your existing home, which include standard mortgages to specialist interest-only mortgages (so low monthly repayments).

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Over 50? You might think it'll be hard to get a mortgage but don't despair – mortgages have changed a lot in the last few years, and they’re not just for the young any more.

It can get confusing with all the different types of mortgages for over 50s, as there’s things like ‘retirement interest-only’ mortgages, which are different to a bog standard mortgage. We’ll cover the details of all of those below.

For now, if you’re just looking for a mortgage, and you’re over 50, our best advice is to speak to a mortgage broker who’s happy to help those over 50 (not too common), and has the expertise to boot. We’ve done the research, and the options are below…

Mortgages for over 50s

Best mortgage brokers for over 50s

Tembo is an award-winning mortgage broker with outstanding service, who not only offers ‘normal’ mortgages, but also works with a range of ‘specialist’ mortgages – things like mortgages for the older generations and borrowing into retirement.

Over 50s mortgage advice

Check out Tembo – experts in mortgages for over 50s. They’ll find the best deal for you.

Visit Tembo¹Visit Tembo¹

Get 50% off with Nuts About Money.

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Award-winning
Tembo rated 5 stars

Tembo

Tembo is an all-round amazing mortgage broker, in fact, they're award-winning, and not just online.

They can help with pretty much every mortgage out there, from buying a home to switching deals, and on top of that, have unique options to increase your borrowing such as an Income Boost¹ and Deposit Boost¹.

They'll handle the whole mortgage for you too, and the service is great.

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Over 50s mortgage advice

Check out Tembo – experts in mortgages for over 50s. They’ll find the best deal for you.

Visit Tembo¹Visit Tembo¹

Get 50% off with Nuts About Money.

Alternative mortgage brokers

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Habito rated 5 stars

Habito

Habito will find the best mortgage for you, all for free, and with great service. But better than that, if you’re buying a home, they’ll handle the whole process for you – that’s the legal work and survey, and everything else. It’s a huge stress and time saver, and comes at a great price.

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Unbiased

Unbiased help you find the right mortgage broker for you from your local area. Their advisors are all rated 5*, fully qualified and search the whole-market (every mortgage deal).

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Over 50s mortgage advice

Check out Tembo – experts in mortgages for over 50s. They’ll find the best deal for you.

Visit Tembo¹Visit Tembo¹

Get 50% off with Nuts About Money.

Why your age can be a problem when getting a mortgage

With all that wisdom and experience, you’d think you’d easily be able to get a mortgage right? Unfortunately, who you are, and how sensible you are with your money, has little to do with being able to get a mortgage.

Mortgage providers (companies) mostly just look at one thing, and that’s how long you can keep paying your mortgage for – or more specifically, how likely you are still going to have money coming into your bank account from a job (or via self-employment).

So, that means they often put a hard stop at your retirement age – and that used to be quite low in the past, as it was fairly rare for people to be working in their mid-to-late 60s and 70s (how lucky they were).

Note: we’re talking about standard mortgages, but there’s now more options after retirement – we’ll cover those below.

These days, we typically live a bit longer on average, although not quite as wealthy, so it’s very common for people to still be working later in life, or to be at least expecting to work later in life.

And that's good news for those older borrowers looking for mortgages. ‘Normal’ mortgages come down to the year you think you’ll retire – and you can set that to up to 70 (and sometimes later), which means you can potentially get a standard mortgage until well, 70 (that’s when the mortgage should end (the final payment)).

Note: a standard mortgage is where you pay off both the mortgage and interest each month (also called a capital repayment mortgage), but you can also get standard mortgages that just pay off the interest each month, called an interest-only mortgage (often used for buy-to-let mortgages), but common in retirement too.

Interest only mortgages for over 50s

If you’re keen to get started, it’s best to speak to a mortgage broker, they’ll be able to find the best mortgage lender (company) for you and your individual circumstances, and will be able to get the best mortgage deal too (you might save £1,000s)...

Mortgage broker for over 50s

Our top pick for mortgages in later life is Tembo¹, and they’ve also got award-winning customer service (and you’ll get 50% off with Nuts About Money).

Getting a mortgage past retirement age

If you know you’re getting a reasonable pension when you retire, that can afford the mortgage payments, you might also be able to get a mortgage that finishes after your retirement age, potentially up to 85 years old.

This comes down to the individual lender, and you’ll need proof of your pension income – so again, it’s best to use a mortgage broker who knows all the ins-and-outs to make sure you have the best chance of getting the mortgage.

There’s also some alternative mortgages that are suited to those in retirement (we’ll cover them just below).

Shorter mortgage terms

As we mentioned, most mortgage providers will only give you a regular mortgage (often called a standard mortgage) until the age that you retire, or up to 70, and that means, as you’re in your 50s, you’ll have to opt for a shorter mortgage term – that’s the amount of time the whole mortgage is for…

Typically mortgage terms for new mortgages were 25 years, and these days, as house prices are pretty crazy, younger people are able to borrow for up to 40 years.

Mortgage term for over 50s

The longer the term, the lower the monthly payments are. So, with a shorter mortgage term, the higher the monthly payments will be – which can cause some problems if you’re taking out a new mortgage in your 50s.

If you’re just 50, you might be able to get a 20 year mortgage term with some lenders. And if you’re nearing 60, you might only be able to get a mortgage for 10 more years – which can be far bigger monthly payments.

However, your monthly mortgage payments all depend on how much you’d like to borrow…

Note: you’ll likely need a good credit score to prove you are able to make mortgage repayments (and other payments) on time (your credit history).

Credit score for over 50s

How much can you borrow in your 50s

Right, the important question right? How much can you actually borrow with a mortgage? 

It all comes down to your income, and that’s things like your salary, and any other money you might have coming in regularly. For most people, it’s just their salary.

As a general rule, you can borrow around 4.5x your income. So, with a £50,000 salary, you can borrow up to £225,000.

How much can you borrow in your 50s

However, the actual amount will vary depending on your personal circumstances. The mortgage lender will look at how much you’re paying out each month on things like bills, loans and rent (your total outgoings) – which is to make sure you can afford the monthly repayments.

The monthly repayments themselves can change depending on how long the mortgage will be for, so there is some flexibility in your 50s, for instance, you might be able to opt for a 20 year mortgage and get lower monthly repayments.

Over 50s mortgage calculator

To find out how much your monthly payments are likely to be, and how much you can borrow, it’s best to use a mortgage broker, such as Tembo¹, who’ve got friendly experts to run through your options, or for a rough guide, use a mortgage calculator.

Over 50s mortgage calculator

Over 50 and self-employed?

If you’re self-employed, don’t fret. You can you still use your self-employed income to get a mortgage – it’s a bit different to a salary from a full-time job, but you should be able to use the last 2 years income as evidence you have a stable income.

Over 50 and self-employed

If you’re just newly self-employed, you might struggle, so it can be best to wait a bit longer, but you never know – speak to a mortgage broker to see what they can do.

Mortgage lenders will also need to know your income is going to continue into the future, which could be from a pension in the future (called a pension forecast).

Alternative mortgages for over 50s

If you think you likely won’t get a regular mortgage, or won’t be able to afford it (perhaps you are nearing 60, or in your 60s and planning to retire soon), there are still options available. Let’s run through some of the more common options.

Nuts About Money tip: there’s lots to know when it comes to mortgages in retirement, so it’s best to speak to a mortgage broker who can cover all of your options, for instance Tembo¹, who are experts in mortgages for over 50s (and have award-winning service).

Long-term fixed rate mortgage

A long-term fixed rate mortgage is where the interest rate on your mortgage is set for the whole mortgage, which can be for as much as 40 years – and you can borrow up to 6x your income.

With these, there’s no maximum age limit, so you can often borrow into retirement, and you can even apply for a mortgage up to 80 years old.

Typically, you’ll be able to change your mortgage deal after 5 years if you’d like to (for instance if interest rates are lower). And, you can even move out and rent the property (after 1 year), and there often won’t be any fees to repay the mortgage off once you’d had it for 5 years (called early repayment charges (ERCs)).

Early repayment charge

Note: you can’t currently use these mortgages in Scotland or Northern Ireland, or if the building is over 5 storeys (e.g. a large block of flats).

Retirement interest-only mortgage

Retirement interest-only mortgages (RIO mortgages), are designed for people who want to borrow money after retirement, and who already own a home (often without a mortgage currently, but not necessarily).

You can borrow money for a whole range of things, such as travelling, home extensions and improvements, and even helping your family get on the property ladder themselves.

You’ll get the mortgage amount (the loan), and pay interest each month, and traditionally you won’t pay back any of the actual loan – which means lower monthly payments, so much more affordable for those living on a pension income.

Retirement interest-only mortgage

The downside is, of course, that you’ll be paying interest each month when you otherwise wouldn’t be (without a mortgage), and it doesn’t go towards the mortgage itself – the mortgage amount doesn’t reduce (normally). The interest rates are often higher than other interest-only options too.

The loan will then be repaid if the home is sold, or if you move into long-term care, or pass away.

There is some flexibility however, and if you want to, you can repay some of the loan in order to reduce it, and possibly even pay it off – so your home doesn’t need to be sold to repay the loan later on.

You’ll often only be able to get an RIO mortgage if you’re over 55, although some lenders have a much higher minimum age.

Enhanced interest-only mortgage

An enhanced interest-only mortgage is where you borrow up to 7x your income (e.g. your pension), as you’ll only pay back the interest each month (so low monthly repayments).

You’ll choose how long the mortgage is for, and will have to have a plan to pay back the mortgage when the mortgage term ends (e.g. from savings, investments or a pension) – so different to retirement interest-only mortgages, which don’t have a repayment date, they last until the home is sold (e.g. when you pass away).

The maximum age the mortgage terms can go up to is 80 years old.

You can use these mortgages for a variety of reasons, such as travelling, and helping family members, but you can also use them to buy a home too (as long as it’s over £30,000). And even remortgage (which is switching your current mortgage for another one).

Remortgaging

If you’ve already got a mortgage, you can typically switch to another mortgage, which is called remortgaging – well, you simply pay off your current mortgage and take out a new mortgage technically, but it all happens in one go.

Remortgage when over 50

So, if you’ve got a standard mortgage (where you’re paying it off each month), but you’re planning ahead and want to borrow money into retirement, or for a bit longer than you are now, or maybe want lower monthly repayments – you might be able to switch to a mortgage designed for the over 50s, such as all of those options above (and even more).

To find the best deal, we recommend using a mortgage broker – and we’ll cover why just below.

It’s best to use a mortgage broker

We’ve banged on about it a bit, but let’s just highlight the point again – it’s often best to use a mortgage broker to find the best mortgage for you, and there’s a lot of options that are all quite complicated.

Mortgage brokers and advisors

And, for each different type of mortgage, there’s lots of different mortgage lenders, charging different fees and interest rates – meaning the difference between a good deal and a bad deal can potentially be £100s per month.

A mortgage broker will get to know your individual circumstances and what mortgage would be best for you, and then go off and search all the different mortgage lenders to find the best deal for you. And, they’ll even handle all the paperwork (mortgage application) for you too.

You can simply put the kettle on and put your feet up, knowing an expert is sorting everything, and that you’ll be getting the best deal out there.

Trying to do it yourself and not paying the mortgage broker fee could end up costing you a lot more in the long run by ending up on the wrong mortgage – it’s not often worth it.

Our top recommendation for mortgages when you’re over 50 is Tembo¹ – they’re experts in borrowing into retirement (or before), and are able to search every mortgage out there (called the whole market) to find the best mortgage for you. Plus, they’ve got award-winning service.

Whole-of-market mortgage broker

And top it off, they’re giving our readers 50% off their fee too – all you need to do is get started on the Tembo website¹.

Is equity release the same?

You might have heard of equity release, and they are similar to retirement mortgages, or mortgages for over 50s, however they’re suited to people who own their own home already, often outright without a mortgage, and want to borrow fairly large sums of money – which can represent a large part of the property value.

You’ll still be able to live in the property of course – but will lose the home when you pass away or move into long-term care, and which point the home will be sold to recover the loan amount.

There’s 2 types of equity release options, lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans…

Lifetime mortgages

A lifetime mortgage is where you’ll borrow money while still owning the property, and can either make repayments each month, or none at all, and let the interest be added to the loan amount.

Home reversion plans

A home reversion plan is where you sell part of your home in return for a lump sum or even regular payments. You’ll still own the portion you don’t sell, which can go up in value.

Equity release is very complicated, and there are lots of finer details to assess, with not all in your benefit (for instance not getting the current value of your home if using a home version plan) – so it’s a great idea to speak to a financial advisor to run through your options.

Let’s recap

Surprisingly, there's lots of great options when you're over 50 – you can still get a mortgage and borrow money, and for a variety of reasons, such as going on a grand travel adventure, or helping your kids or family with their finances, or buying their first home.

There’s lots of mortgage options for over 50s, and even 60s, 70s and even at 80. We’ve outlined the main ones, which are:

  • Standard mortgage
  • Long-term fixed rate mortgage
  • Enhanced interest-only mortgage
  • Retirement interest-only mortgage (RIO)

It’s a great idea to speak to a mortgage broker (an expert in mortgages), who can determine the right type of mortgage for you, and the right mortgage lender to get the best deal – the difference really can be large, and the advice can potentially save you £1,000s per year.

Our top recommendation is Tembo¹, who are experts in mortgages for over 50s, and have award-winning service. They’ll be able to search every mortgage out there to find the best deal for you (and you’ll get 50% of their fee with Nuts About Money).

If you think you only want a standard mortgage, you could also check out Habito¹, a free online mortgage broker with excellent service.

And that’s all there is to over 50s mortgages. All the best for a happy retirement.

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Over 50s mortgage advice

Check out Tembo – experts in mortgages for over 50s. They’ll find the best deal for you.

Visit Tembo¹Visit Tembo¹

Get 50% off with Nuts About Money.

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This article has been fact checked.

This article was written by the team at Nuts About Money, and fact-checked by 2 independent reviewers. You’re in safe hands.

Over 50s mortgage advice

Check out Tembo – experts in mortgages for over 50s. They’ll find the best deal for you.

Visit Tembo¹Visit Tembo¹

Get 50% off with Nuts About Money.

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