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Credit will be secured by a mortgage on your property. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. Written quotations are available from individual lenders. Loans are subject to status and valuation and are not available to persons under the age of 18. All rates are subject to change without notice. Please check all rates and terms with your lender or financial adviser before undertaking any borrowing.

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Guarantor mortgages explained

At a glance

  • You could buy a home without a deposit if you have a guarantor
  • The guarantor will need to put up their property or savings as security. These could be at risk if you don't keep up your mortgage payments
  • Guarantor / no deposit mortgages are 100% LTV products and usually have higher interest rates than the lower LTV alternatives
  • If the property falls in value you could find yourself owing more than it's worth (known as negative equity)
  • Make sure to consider the additional upfront costs of buying a home, such as stamp duty and any solicitor's fees
  • The Government’s Help to Buy Scheme, which could help you buy a new home with only a 5% deposit could be an alternative to consider

What are guarantor mortgages?

A guarantor mortgage (also known as a no deposit mortgage) can help those that would otherwise be unable to buy a house by requiring someone to act as a guarantor for you. Parents and family members are common choices. Whoever agrees to be your guarantor will have to put up their property or savings as security. 

Who needs a guarantor mortgage?

Guarantor mortgages are designed to help those who either do not have a good enough credit score to obtain a mortgage on their own or lack the normal 5% minimum deposit. While this can include people who have a poor credit history, it can also be applied to those who are too young to have built up a sufficient credit score – for example, parents may want to secure a guarantor mortgage for their child who is only just 18 or has never used credit before.

Guarantor mortgages might be suitable for:

  • Individuals with a bad credit history
  • People who have little or no credit history (through not having used any credit before)
  • Those with no or less than 5% deposit
  • Those who want to buy a more expensive property than they can afford or have a deposit for

Guarantor mortgages for first-time buyers

Can first-time buyers get a 100% mortgage? Yes, there are some mortgages available for first-time buyers, which don’t require the borrower to put up a deposit. There aren’t many, but they do exist! There are certain advantages to no-deposit mortgages, most prominently the fact that you’d be able to buy your first home without having to hand over a whole lot of cash upfront. Your savings can then be used towards other costs, such as moving, renovations and furniture. 

Family offset mortgages can reduce your mortgage interest costs

This type of guarantor mortgage sees a family member place their cash savings into a savings account that is linked to your mortgage. The savings balance is deducted from your mortgage, reducing the amount of interest you pay.

The family member depositing the money will (as long as the mortgage is paid) get their money back eventually. However, usually they will not have earned any savings interest, and they may not be able to access their funds for a pre-agreed number of years or until the outstanding mortgage balance reaches a set of the property.

If the property is repossessed, the lender will sell the property to recover the value of the mortgage and, if this sold at an amount lower than the mortgage, they could recoup any difference from the guarantor’s savings. Providers offering family offset mortgages include Vernon Building Society and Family Building Society.

Negative Equity

There is a risk to borrowers that if property prices fall, they could owe more than 100% of its value. This is known as being in negative equity. This is a problem, but only if you are considering remortgaging or moving home (assuming you can keep up the regular monthly repayments). As most lenders will be reluctant to let anyone with negative equity switch to a new deal, you will likely end up on your lender’s standard variable rate. One way to get out of this is to overpay your mortgage. However, not everyone can afford to do this.

What happens if you can’t make the repayments on a guarantor mortgage?

  • Initially, the mortgage lender may give you more time to make your repayments and agree a repayment plan to get you back on track.
  • There may be fees as a result of late or no payment.
  • You could ask your guarantor to make the payments until your finances improve.

If you still remain in financial difficulty, then a lender might choose to:

  • Approach the guarantor to pay (if they haven’t been already).
  • Take money from the guarantor’s savings account (if this was used for the guarantor mortgage).
  • Extend the time the guarantor cannot withdraw their savings.
  • Repossess the property and, if this does not pay back the mortgage balance in full, use the guarantor’s savings or repossess their property held as security.

As you can see, failing to meet your guarantor mortgage repayments not only has serious ramifications for you, but also those acting as your guarantors.

Does the guarantor of my mortgage own part of my house?

  • Being named as guarantor does not mean that they own a portion of the property. The name on the deeds will be that of the borrower only.
  • In addition, being a guarantor does not mean that you have any right of access to the property the mortgage is secured against.

Other considerations

If you’re considering taking out a mortgage without using a deposit, you may not have much in the way of savings, so it’s important to understand all the costs associated with buying a home, making sure you can meet them. It is impossible to list all the costs you may have to meet as these are likely to vary, but there are some general things to keep in mind.

Given their status as mortgages for those who don’t have any other option, it’s not surprising to find that 100% mortgage products tend to come with higher interest rates and fees than other mortgage types. Those with a lack of savings should also remember that there will still be other costs to pay upfront, such as stamp duty and conveyancing fees for those moving. There may also be early repayment charges to pay for those remortgaging.


While it’s important to compare the few 100% mortgages available to make sure you are getting the best possible deal, it may be a good idea to also look at alternatives. If you are a homeowner who’s lost some of the value in their home, you may be able to remortgage to a higher-LTV mortgage that is still below 100%. Likewise, first-time buyers without someone to act as their guarantor will have to stump up a 5% deposit but will also be able to get much better deals as a result. 

For those with family members that are willing to help their loved ones get on the property ladder in any way possible, there’s another option. That savings pot they are happy to put up as collateral may also be used as a gifted deposit to help get a more competitive deal. Some may even use equity release to help their children get together a decent deposit.

There are a few things to watch out for when gifting a deposit, however. You will need to follow the correct procedure and be able to show that the help is a gift, not a loan. This will likely require the help of a solicitor, so don’t wait too long to ask for advice and arrange things, or your property purchase might get delayed or even entirely derailed.

For those without generous benefactors, there’s always the Lifetime ISA schemes to consider. This can allow you to save up for that deposit a bit faster thanks to a Government bonus of 25%. They do come with restrictions, though, so remember to read up on them before committing.

What are the risks of being a guarantor?

To be a guarantor you must:

  • Be a homeowner with at least 30% equity in your home.
  • Have an income high enough to cover the mortgage payments in the event that the borrower cannot or does not pay, while also covering your own outgoings (e.g. your own mortgage, bills and other living costs).
  • Be able to demonstrate your ability to meet credit agreements by having a strong credit record that shows lenders you are a ‘safe bet’.
  • Be willing to show proof that you have taken legal advice, as many lenders require this as part of the application process.
  • Beware that there may also be an age restriction on those willing to act as guarantor.

As the guarantor’s home or savings are put up as collateral against the loan, the biggest risk for a guarantor would be losing their home or savings if the main borrower does not meet their obligations. This is why it’s really important that you weigh up your options before agreeing to become a guarantor for someone, whether you're a parent, a family friend or similar.  

Property as security

  • If you are considering acting as guarantor, you do not need to put the entire value of your home up as security, but will be required to put up a percentage of the loan amount, usually around 25%.
  • A legal charge will be registered on your property, usually until a certain percentage of the mortgage has been paid off.
  • If you have a mortgage on your own home, the 100% LTV mortgage lender may impose a maximum combined LTV on your original mortgage and the new charge amount – this is likely to be around 65%.

Savings as security

  • If you are considering acting as guarantor by offering up your savings as collateral, you will likely need to put a certain percentage of the value of the property into a specialist savings account for a set number of years.
  • The savings account is unlikely to offer much or any interest on the amount held in it (though some products do allow it to be used to offset the interest on the borrower’s mortgage).
  • You will be unlikely to be allowed to withdraw your savings during the term of the mortgage.
  • The lender has a legal charge over your savings and could use some or all of the money if the property is repossessed and sells for a loss.

Pros and cons of guarantor LTV mortgage

  • Buy a home without a deposit. If you don't have savings, a guarantor mortgage could get you on the property ladder.
  • Potential savings. If you currently pay rent, you'll be able to stop paying this sum, which can be higher than mortgage repayments, and instead invest it into homeownership.
  • You need a guarantor. They'll have to put up their property or savings as security for you to take out this type of mortgage.
  • Higher interest rates and fees. Guarantor mortgages are 100% LTV products and often have higher interest rates than the lower LTV alternatives.
  • Potential for negative equity. If the value of your property falls, you could end up owing more than it's worth.

Moneyfacts tip

Moneyfacts tip Leanne Macardle

If you're still not sure what kind of mortgage is right for you, you could consider using a mortgage broker. Not only can they provide valuable advice, but they may also have access to 100% LTV mortgage deals that are not available directly on the Moneyfacts charts. 

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