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General mortgage information and criteria.

Useful information

The mortgage lowdown.

Our mortgage service

Treating Customers Fairly (TCF).

To help us give you the most appropriate service, we will ask you to:

  • Tell us as much as possible about your income and outgoings, to enable us to properly assess how much you can afford.
  • Let us know about any foreseeable changes that might affect your ability to repay a mortgage.
  • Let us know if there is any aspect of our service, or of a product we have discussed or recommended that you don’t understand.
  • Tell us if you think there are ways we can improve our service.
  • You can be confident that you are dealing with a firm where the fair treatment of customers is central to our culture.
  • Our products and services are designed to meet the needs of our customers.
  • Customers are provided with clear information on products that perform as we have led you to expect, and that our service is of an acceptable standard that you have been led to expect by us.
  • We will provide you with clear information about the products and service we offer, including fees and charges and will keep you updated during and after the point of sale.
  • Where we provide a mortgage advice service we will ascertain your individual needs, preferences and circumstances to assist you with choosing your mortgage.
  • Where an advice service is provided our mortgage consultants will only recommend a mortgage that we consider suitable for you and that you can afford and always the most suitable from the available We will not recommend a mortgage if we can’t find one we consider suitable.
  • We will give you access to a formal complaints procedure should you become unhappy with our service.

Jargon buster

Mortgages explained.

With an advised mortgage this means a qualified mortgage adviser will discuss your needs and circumstances, to provide you with advice and a recommendation of the most appropriate mortgage for you. At Suffolk Building Society our mortgage adviser can provide this service via telephone, or in one of our branches, and there are no fees for our advice.

With an execution only mortgage the mortgage adviser will not provide any advice or make any assessment as to whether the mortgage you have chosen is suitable for your needs and circumstances. Instead you will make your own decision as to which mortgage you would like to proceed with. This may be suitable for those who are confident in choosing their own scheme.

If you proceed on an execution only basis you will be waiving any rights of protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. (This scheme does not apply to buy to let mortgages.)

At Suffolk Building Society we offer mortgages on the following methods of repayment: capital and interest; interest only; or part interest only and part capital and interest (‘part and part’).

With a capital and interest repayment mortgage your monthly payments will cover the interest due, plus a portion of the capital borrowed. This is the lowest risk mortgage type and provides security that, at the end of the mortgage term, your mortgage will be repaid in full and you will have full ownership of your home (as long as all payments have been made in full and on time).

[Interest only] mortgages provide lower monthly payments, however this mortgage type provides no guarantee of you being able to repay the mortgage at the end of the term and is therefore generally higher risk than a capital & interest repayment mortgage. You will still owe the same at the end of the mortgage term (plus any added fees or additional interest) as you did at the start and will need to have a method of repaying the balance such as a savings lump sum, or endowment policy (your repayment strategy).

[Interest only] will also cost more in interest over the life of the mortgage. This is because the balance does not reduce over the term, and therefore you will pay monthly interest on the entire balance for the full term of the mortgage. With a capital and interest repayment mortgage the balance will reduce with each monthly payment, therefore the amount of interest paid each month will also reduce.

Whether or not you are able to obtain an [interest only] or part interest only mortgage will be dependent on your loan to value ratio (how much equity you will have in your home) and your repayment strategy.

We can typically offer a term of between 5 and 40 years. However, if your mortgage runs past your anticipated age of retirement, we will also need to assess your pension income to ensure that the mortgage would remain affordable to you once you have retired.

You should be aware that the longer the term of the mortgage, the lower your monthly payments will be, however, the longer it takes you to repay your mortgage, the more interest you will pay back.

For buy to let mortgages the Society can offer a term of between 5 and 30 years.

There will usually be a range of mortgage products available, for full details of the Society’s currently available mortgage deals use our mortgage finder.

This type of mortgage product will help you budget your expenditure, as your mortgage payments will be fixed and guaranteed for a specified period of time, providing protection against interest rate rises. However, you would miss out in the event of any interest rate reductions. View our fixed rate mortgage page to find out more.

This type of product tracks the Standard Variable Rate (SVR) charged by the lender for an agreed period of time providing a discount to the rate payable over that period. These types of rates are generally lower than fixed rates, but come with the risk that if the SVR is to rise, then your mortgage payments will increase. However, you would benefit in the event of an SVR reduction. View our variable rate mortgage page to find out more.

This is a variable rate that is set independently by the lender. At Suffolk Building Society whilst we take into consideration external factors such as the Bank of England Base Rate, our SVR does not track any external reference points, and can change independently from these.

This type of mortgage product has a rate which moves up or down automatically in line with changes in Bank of England Base Rate (BBR), which is a rate set by the central Bank to influence the country’s economy (and control inflation). Like discount rates, rates are generally lower than fixed rates, but come with the risk that if the BBR is to rise, then your mortgage payments will increase. However, you would benefit in the event of a BBR reduction.

An offset facility allows the borrower to link their savings to their mortgage balance to reduce the overall cost of their mortgage. Instead of earning interest on your savings, you will reduce the interest paid towards your mortgage. As savings interest rates are generally lower than mortgage interest rates, this may offer a more cost-effective solution than earning interest on your savings. Currently the Society does not offer any offset mortgages.

RIO mortgages are available to those over the age of 55. These mortgages are offered on an interest only basis, with a lifetime term, and may be suitable for borrowers requiring low interest only monthly payments during their retirement, but who do not have a repayment strategy to clear the balance. The mortgage will run until the last remaining borrower dies or moves into long term care, with the mortgage debt then repaid from the sale of the property. View our Retirement Interest Only page for more information.


A remortgage is simply taking out a new mortgage on a property you already own, such as swapping one mortgage deal for another.

If you are remortgaging from another lender the products offered may vary from time to time. Sometimes remortgage schemes may offer additional benefits such as free valuations, cashback, or fee assisted legal work for the change of provider. View our remortgage page for more information.

Some of our products come with a ‘revert to rate’. This means that when the mortgage deal period expires, you will move onto a follow on discount rate for a set period of time. For example, you may have a 2-year fixed rate, followed by 3 years on the revert to rate, after which you will move onto the Society’s Standard Variable Rate. You will not be obligated to remain on the revert-to rate and can usually arrange a follow on mortgage or remortgage to a new provider.

Some lenders may have mortgage deals available exclusively to existing borrowers who have come to the end of their mortgage product period. At Suffolk Building Society we are pleased to usually be able to offer follow-on and new rate mortgages to our existing borrowers.

You may be able to make overpayments to your mortgage, and should check your European Standardised Information Sheet (ESIS) carefully for details of any Early Repayment Charges (ERCs) which may apply.

At Suffolk Building Society most of our mortgages allow overpayments to be made without an ERC, as long as you do not pay more than a set percentage of the original balance during the product period.

If your lump sum overpayment is £2,000 or above you will have the option to reduce your mortgage term or reduce your monthly mortgage payments. If you overpay by less than this amount, the balance outstanding on your account will reduce and the amount of interest due will be recalculated immediately. However, your monthly payment will not be adjusted until the next product change (this will not apply for borrowers on our Standard Variable Rate).

Using our mortgage finder you will be able to see details of our currently available products and the overpayment facilities which may be on offer.

Helpful overview

A guide to our lending criteria.

We lend on properties located across England and Wales.

We will consider:

  • All freehold properties, excluding flats and maisonettes.
  • Leasehold properties with a minimum of 85 years left on the lease at the start of the mortgage. Some property types have different lease requirements, please speak to us for more details.
  • All new build houses.
  • New build flats up to 75% Loan to Value (LTV) in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and London. No maisonettes or studio apartments considered.

We have a minimum property value of £75,000 for residential and £100,000 for buy to let.

We have a minimum term of 5 years and a maximum term of 40 years, excluding buy to let which is a maximum term of 30 years.

All loans are subject to status and valuation. Borrowers must be aged 18 years or over. Most of our schemes have no maximum age limit. Security over the property is required.

Our minimum and maximum loan sizes may vary by mortgage product. Use our mortgage finder to browse our range of mortgage deals and check the individual product information.

We offer shared ownership mortgages on an Affordable Home Loan basis only and subject to the lease meeting our shared ownership terms and conditions.

We may be able to help with new projects, renovations, conversions and knock down & rebuilds. Available on our self build products only.

Available on all products except specialist remortgage products, buy to let and shared ownership. The maximum LTV will be calculated at 80% of the property’s value on the open market, and we will consider lending up to 100% of the discounted purchase price.

Information on our buy to let mortgage criteria can be found on our buy to let page.

Interest is calculated on a daily basis. Additional payments over and above the monthly repayment immediately result in a reduction of the amount on which interest is charged.

Loans may be taken on a capital and interest, interest only or part capital/part interest only basis. For loans taken on an interest only or part interest only basis a repayment strategy will need to be evidenced.

Most mortgage products will have an Early Repayment Charge (ERC). Details about the ERC will be included in the mortgage product description when you use our mortgage finder and also in your personalised European Standardised Information Sheet (ESIS), which is issued before you take out your mortgage.

Where a loan is redeemed as a result of the death of a borrower there will be no early repayment penalty.

If a loan exceeds 80% loan to value (LTV) the Society will take out a mortgage indemnity policy. The Society may pay this charge, please see specific product details to see if this is included. The HLC is calculated at the rate shown below for each £100 of the loan in excess of 80%, subject to a minimum charge of £250. The charge can be added to the mortgage advance and will be included in the mortgage product description when you use our mortgage finder tool. Please refer to your personalised European Standardised Information Sheet (ESIS) for details of the charge (if applicable).

Loan to value:
0.01 – 85%   £4.48 per £100
85.01 – 90%   £5.21 per £100
90.01 – 95%   £7.06 per £100
95.01 – 100%   £13.44 per £100

Where a product states it offers a free valuation, we will pay for a standard mortgage valuation only, provided our nominated valuer is used. Where a product states ‘assistance with legal fees’ we will pay for standard remortgage work only, provided our nominated solicitor is used.

The below table outlines the valuation fees which may be payable. In addition we are able to offer full buildings surveys upon request, subject to coverage by our nominated valuer.

Standard mortgage valuation: this is solely for the Society to assess whether the property provides adequate security for the mortgage loan. It is not a survey and it is not based on a detailed examination of the structure, so you should not assume that there are no defects in the property besides those (if any) mentioned. It is for you to satisfy yourself as to the condition of the property and that it is good value for money. The fact that the Society grants a loan will not imply any warranty that the price you are paying is reasonable. You should consider, and discuss with your solicitors, whether to have a further inspection or survey carried out. Without advice of that nature you will be taking the risk yourself of any defect or matters adversely affecting the value of the property. Neither the Society nor the Society’s valuer will accept any liability to you for the contents or accuracy of the Valuation Report (even if the Valuer is negligent in relation to the Report).

Homebuyers report: if you require a more detailed examination of the property the Society can ask the Valuer to carry out for you the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Homebuyer’s Report. This covers an inspection of the parts of the property which are readily visible or accessible and includes the surveyor’s opinion of the open market value of the property. The Report describes the condition of the property. Any major defects are listed in general terms with recommendations. The surveyor examines the roof space if there is an easily accessible hatch. They cannot inspect flooring if it is covered by furniture, fitted carpets, etc. Whilst the surveyor looks at the electrical wiring and lifts the drain covers, they do not test either of them. If you require such a Report the Society will still need its own Valuation Report, but if the two inspections are carried out at the same time, the fee for the Homebuyer’s Report will include this.

Building survey: Neither of the Reports referred to above is a full building survey. A building survey is a very detailed inspection of the property and provides a comprehensive report on its condition, describing in detail any defects. There is no standard scale of charges and the actual cost is subject to negotiation with the surveyor. If you wish to have a building survey, the Society can put you in touch with a qualified surveyor.


Purchase Price / Estimated Value
(not exceeding)

Standard Mortgage Valuation ReportStandard Remortgage Valuation ReportHomebuyers Report (if carried out at same time as Valuation Report)
Up to £50,000£80£135


Up to £100,000£115£135£305
Up to £150,000£125£135£365
Up to £200,000£160£135£420
Up to £250,000£180£135£475
Up to £300,000£200£135£525
Up to £350,000£240£135£575
Up to £400,000£270£135£615
Up to £450,000£290£135£660
Up to £500,000£315£135£775
Up to £600,000£370£225£865
Up to £700,000£430£225£1,005
Up to £800,000£495£225£1,145
Up to £900,000£550£225£1,285
Up to £1,000,000£610£225£1,425
Up to £1,200,000£730£730£1,675
Up to £1,400,000£850£850£1,925
Up to £1,600,000£970£970£2,175
Up to £1,800,000£1,095£1,095£2,425
Up to £2,000,000£1,210£1,210£2,675
Up to £2,500,000£1,400£1,400£2,900
Up to £3,000,000£1,600£1,600£3,200
Up to £3,500,000£1,800£1,800£3,500
Up to £4,000,000£2,000£2,000£3,800
Up to £4,500,000£2,200£2,200£4,100
Up to £5,000,000£2,400£2,400£4,300


You will be required to take out buildings insurance to insure your property. The Society will be happy to provide quotations for home insurance but if you wish you can arrange your own cover. A copy of this policy and schedule must be supplied to your Solicitor before completion.

Usually considered up to a maximum 95% LTV. Estimates will be required of the work to be undertaken in order for us to assess your application.

Usually considered providing the total loan does not exceed 90% LTV. Debt consolidation is not permitted on buy to let, holiday let or shared ownership applications.

Usually considered (for example to purchase a second home, gift of funds to children etc) providing the total loan does not exceed 95% LTV.

The mortgage payments must be made by Direct Debit. The first payment will be on the 1st of the month immediately following completion. Other dates are available, please contact us for more information. If payments are not made in full and on time, your mortgage will be held in arrears and you will be required to work with us to find a solution to address the payment shortfall. Should this happen the Society reserves the right to transfer your loan to the Society’s Standard Variable Rate, among other potential remedial actions.

Portability is where a borrower can transfer an existing mortgage product on their current property to a mortgage on a new property, when moving home. For all current product options offered by the Society, existing customers moving home may either: exercise portability or can take out a new product from the Society’s full product range. The Early Repayment Charge will not be made. Applications to port will be subject to full status, affordability and loan to value checks.

In some instances, portability may not be possible, for example if the product only has 1-2 months left to run, this may not provide enough time for a new application to be processed prior to the product expiry. In this instance the new mortgage would need to be taken on one of the products from our current range.

The Society will consider taking a guarantee from close blood relatives, for example, a father for his son. Any guarantor must meet the same status requirements as the borrower(s) and there will be a maximum LTV restriction of 80%. . Guarantors may become liable to repay the full debt outstanding to the Society instead of or as well as you the borrower.

You can read how we handle, store and protect your data in our Privacy Policy.

Nobody is perfect, and we know from time to time things do go wrong. We want to know when you’re not happy so we can improve the quality of our service and identify possible training needs, and of course we’ll do all we can to resolve your problem. Visit our making a complaint page for full details.

Here to help

Find a mortgage.


We have conversations, not algorithms.

Our decisions are made by experts, not computers. We need to calculate the financials, but we understand there’s more behind a mortgage than then numbers on a page. We can’t promise to lend to everyone and anyone, but we’ll consider all applications on an individual basis.

Ready to go? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team.

Prefer to talk?
Call 0330 123 0723

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