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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA for short) is the regulatory authority that oversees the entire financial services industry in the United Kingdom. The FCA is now responsible for the regulation of mortgage products and services. This means that every lender and mortgage intermediary must be authorised and regulated by the FCA to ensure they provide professional services. Alternatively, someone providing such services must be an appointed representative of a firm that is already authorised by the FCA.
The aim of the FCA is to ensure the financial markets work in a manner that allows consumers to receive fair services from those working in the industry. They ensure the UK financial system is run in a manner that has integrity. They also protect consumers from rogue operators and services, while encouraging competition across the marketplace. Such competition means consumers have a better chance of securing good deals in all kinds of financial areas.
The FCA has only been in force since 2013. It was created by Parliament in that year. It is responsible for regulating the services provided by over 56,000 financial services firms in the UK. When using any financial services, it is vital to make sure those services are properly regulated and authorised by the Financial Services Authority.
The FCA keeps and maintains the Financial Services Register, on which every business or individual regulated by the authority is listed. Consumers can search the register to confirm whether a company they are thinking of using has been properly registered. You can also search the register by postcode, meaning it is easier to find a local registered firm if you are looking for one.

 


 

Fixed rate mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage describes a type of home loan where the interest rate payment is fixed for a specified period. Once that period ends, the mortgage remains in place with the lender, but it typically switches to the standard variable rate offered by that lender. This is abbreviated to SVR. Fixed rate mortgages run for at least a year, but there are deals on the market that last for two, three, or five years. Some lenders offer 10-year deals.
There are several advantages of opting for a fixed rate mortgage rather than a variable rate one. Firstly, you know what the interest will be on that loan for the period it runs for. This means you’ll know exactly what your monthly payments are, allowing you to financially plan with more confidence. Secondly, it gives you peace of mind that you are protected against any potential rises in the base rate set by the Bank of England.
You will typically find fixed rate deals are available for slightly higher rates than variable rate deals. However, you are offsetting that higher percentage with the knowledge that it will not change for however long the deal lasts. If the base rate rises, banks and building societies will very likely raise their own variable rate deals to reflect this. Those whose mortgage payments are connected to such deals would then see an immediate rise in the amount they need to pay each month. In contrast, those on a fixed rate will continue to pay the same amount they always have. As such, this type of loan offers insurance against the possibility of a rate rise in future.

 



Fixtures and Fittings

The fixtures and fittings of a property cover all items that are not part of the structure of a property that are included in the purchase of that property. These can vary from one property sale to the next. Typical examples of fixtures and fittings include curtains, blinds, carpets, light fixtures, and white goods. All such items are disclosed in the fixtures and fittings list agreed prior to the property sale.
The term covers a range of items which fall into the scope of fixtures or fittings. For example, fixtures involve items that are fixed into position in some way. Fittings are items that are independent of the property, such as freestanding items. A good example would be a wardrobe left behind when the current owner moves out. If that wardrobe is a fitted wardrobe, it would be included in the fixtures list. If it was a freestanding wardrobe the owner agreed to leave behind, it would be included in the fittings list.
Oftentimes, the seller will agree with the buyer which items will be left behind and form part of the sale. The buyer must then check the list of fixtures and fittings provided before the sale goes through, to ensure all agreed items are included. This is also the point where the buyer must query anything that they are unsure of. For example, the seller may have agreed to leave the washing machine and fridge freezer behind, but they may not appear on the list.
Buyers should always check the list before signing the contract. There have been stories of sellers stripping everything out of a property before moving. Everything from lightbulbs to the lawn (yes, that has occurred) has been taken by some sellers!

 



Flexible Mortgage

A flexible mortgage is a type of home loan that allows the borrower to overpay their regular monthly payments. As their overpayments build up, they can then choose to borrow some of that money back. Other options include the chance to take payment holidays or to pay less than the usual amount in some months.
As with all types of mortgages, interest rates vary for a flexible mortgage product. However, in general, the interest rate is likely to be higher than it would be for a standard fixed or variable rate loan. As such, it is important to consider whether a flexible loan would be the best option for you. If you intend to pay the same amount every month, there may be little point in getting such a mortgage. You may be better off finding a good deal for a fixed rate mortgage instead.
However, if you want to try and pay more than the minimum amount each month, a flexible mortgage may be a good option. It might also suit those whose income tends to vary, such as freelancers and other self-employed people. The chance to take the occasional payment holiday might be attractive during certain quieter times of the year when you are earning less, for instance.
That said, there are downsides. If you did take a payment holiday, your lender would continue to charge interest on your remaining mortgage throughout that period. This could result in paying off a higher total amount at the end of the mortgage. Of course, for some, the flexibility of this loan type is worth the extra payment, but it is important to work out whether it would be the best option for you. It does make it possible to pay off your mortgage far sooner if you want to overpay on a regular basis.

 



Flying Freehold

A ‘flying freehold’ is deemed to have occurred when accommodation on the first floor qualifying as part of one freehold is situated directly above another freehold property offering ground floor accommodation. This unusual scenario means the owner of the first-floor accommodation does not own the land beneath their property. This would be owned by the person occupying the ground floor accommodation. The first-floor freeholder would therefore have ownership of a ‘flying freehold’. The term is used because their property is not at ground level and is therefore flying above the one below it.
Modern properties do not tend to exhibit such unusual circumstances. They tend to crop up more commonly in older properties where the original layout has been changed to provide a series of flats offered on a freehold basis. That layout could create the circumstances required to create a flying freehold.
This can create problems when buying a property that qualifies as a flying freehold or has such a property above it. Since problems with one of the two properties could reasonably create problems for the other, it is important to ensure the appropriate legal rights are in place to protect you in such circumstances.
If you are interested in buying a flying freehold property, you may well find the lender you seek to get a mortgage from will require you to take out indemnity insurance. This insurance would protect against any potential issues that could occur if the neighbour was unwilling to take on any necessary repairs to their property that might affect the state of your property. Always take proper legal advice before purchasing – or selling – a property with flying freehold status.

 



Freehold

Freehold is the term given to a method of ownership whereby the owner has complete ownership over both the property and the land it sits on. This should apply to both the main property and to any outbuildings on the parcel of land that comes with it.
Freehold ownership is different to leasehold ownership. The latter gives the property owner the right to own the property for the term length specified. However, their rights do not extend to the land on which the building was constructed. A common example concerns a block of flats, where each flat would be on a leasehold basis.
While leaseholds are set for a specific period, freehold ownership has no limit to its length. Therefore, a freehold property and its applicable land would be owned outright, with no end date in sight for the term. In this scenario, a freehold ownership can be passed down through generations of the same family.
In some cases, other parties may potentially have certain rights of access even when a property and its land are subject to a freehold agreement. For example, bylaws may state that a public footpath crosses a portion of the land held by the owner. In this case, ramblers and walkers would legally have the right to use that footpath, although they could not stray off it onto other parts of the land covered by the freehold. Such elements should be highlighted in the details covering the land if the property is up for sale, so the potential new owners are aware of any such laws or restrictions.

 



Full Structural Survey

A full structural survey is sometimes referred to as a building survey. It takes an in-depth look at all aspects of a property’s condition. It can take anything up to about four hours to fully inspect all areas of a property, with several days required to produce a detailed report on it.
All the main features of a property are covered by a full survey. This means the condition of the roof, the walls, and the foundations are all covered. Other important features such as the plumbing, wiring, drains, and the garden are covered too.
Further Advance
A further advance is an additional loan agreed with your lender that is tacked onto your existing mortgage. It is a loan taken out by the borrower after the main loan has been completed. The loan is secured against the property just as the mortgage is.
A loan of this kind can be taken out at any stage following the completion of the original mortgage. There are several reasons why this might be a good option:
Your existing lender is offering a competitive interest rate for a further loan You are happy with your existing mortgage and do not wish to remortgage your property You are happy with your existing lender and have no desire to change
Some people think remortgaging and further advances are identical. They are not. With a further advance, you are retaining your current mortgage and obtaining a further loan from the same provider. Typically, you’ll get a different interest rate for the new loan, which could be higher or lower than the one connected to your mortgage.
Such a loan is still secured against your property, however. This means you should always think carefully about why you need the loan and the importance of diligently paying it back. Some people seek an advance to find the deposit to purchase a second property, perhaps a holiday home or a rental property for example. Others use the advance to fund home improvements that may end up increasing the value of the property. A further advance is also sometimes termed a mortgage advance, but both mean the same thing.

 


Further Advance

A further advance is an additional loan agreed with your lender that is tacked onto your existing mortgage. It is a loan taken out by the borrower after the main loan has been completed. The loan is secured against the property just as the mortgage is.

A loan of this kind can be taken out at any stage following the completion of the original mortgage. There are several reasons why this might be a good option:

Your existing lender is offering a competitive interest rate for a further loan You are happy with your existing mortgage and do not wish to remortgage your property You are happy with your existing lender and have no desire to change
Some people think remortgaging and further advances are identical. They are not. With a further advance, you are retaining your current mortgage and obtaining a further loan from the same provider. Typically, you’ll get a different interest rate for the new loan, which could be higher or lower than the one connected to your mortgage.

Such a loan is still secured against your property, however. This means you should always think carefully about why you need the loan and the importance of diligently paying it back. Some people seek an advance to find the deposit to purchase a second property, perhaps a holiday home or a rental property for example. Others use the advance to fund home improvements that may end up increasing the value of the property. A further advance is also sometimes termed a mortgage advance, but both mean the same thing.

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