HOMEOWNERS could chop hundreds of pounds off the cost of their mortgage by switching lenders.

If you are looking to remortgage in the new year, changing your provider could make a real difference to the money in your pocket.

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Mortgage products that come with freebies often come with higher interest rates, so they can be more expensive overall[/caption]

Here, Daniel Hegarty, founder of mortgage broker Habito, gives his tips on how to make sure you are getting the best deal:

1. Timing: Start looking roughly 14 weeks to three months before your current rate expires to save being automatically transferred to a more expensive variable rate mortgage.

If you switch too soon, some mortgage products will include an early repayment charge. If there is a charge, arrange for the remortgage to start the day after the penalty period ends on your current deal.

2. Don’t be drawn into simply choosing the better rate: The lowest interest rates and seemingly cheapest deals are used by lenders to market to customers, but they typically have larger fees, some over £1,000, increasing the overall price of the mortgage. It is better to look at the total cost.

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If you switch mortgages too soon, some products will include an early repayment charge so arrange dates carefully[/caption]

3. Look out for freebies . . . and what they really cost: Many mortgage products now come with free valuations, no legal fees, the promise of cashback and more.

But these usually come with higher interest rates, so they can work out more expensive overall.

4. Don’t be scared to secure interest rates: Two-year fixes usually offer the lowest fixed interest rates, but after the Bank of England increased its base rate, many people are now looking to lock into the current low fixed rates for longer.

Opting for a five-year fixed rate is a good strategy to keep your mortgage payments consistently low and avoid any further rate surprises until 2022.

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Remember lowest interest rates and seemingly cheap deals are used to market customers[/caption]

5. Beware of the loyalty trap: Rather than staying with your current lender, it pays to shop around. There are more than 80 lenders in the UK and many offer lower rates for new customers than for existing customers.

If you find another lender with a better deal, don’t fear the break-up admin. Your new lender will appoint solicitors and talk to the old lender to switch your mortgage for you at no extra cost.

6. Use a free broker: Brokers usually charge between £200 and £400 in fees. But some brokers, including Habito, offer their services for free — and without you needing time off work to meet face-to-face. Take up the offer of impartial online mortgage advice. It needn’t cost you a thing.


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These Aldi Christmas range candles are a perfect dupe for Jo Malone’s travel candles

ALDI has launched a Jo Malone-inspired Christmas range with prices starting from just £3.49.

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Jane’s tip

NOT knowing the difference between “best-before” and “use-by” dates could cost you £470 a year, says Sheer Luxe.

Food past its best-before date is still fine to eat. Most foods should be binned after their use-by date but dried pasta and tinned goods, may still be OK. Planning meals around use-by dates could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.

Reader tip

IRENE EMERSON, of Grimsby, says: “Keep butter wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge. Use the bag to grease baking trays or pans when baking and avoid opening up a new packet of butter.”

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The Sun is giving readers the chance to win £10,000 this Christmas with Sun Savers[/caption]

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The Sun is giving readers the chance to the ultimate Xmas bundle worth £15,000[/caption]

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The Christmas bundle includes an iPad, Xbox, a range of kitchen gadgets and much more[/caption]

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