NatWest mortgage review: does it have the best mortgages for borrowers?

10 min Read Published: 21 Dec 2021

NatWest mortgage review What is a NatWest mortgage?

NatWest is a well-known high street bank and mortgage lender. It offers fixed and tracker rate mortgages to residential and buy-to-let borrowers who are either first-time buyers, movers or are remortgaging.

NatWest mortgage key features

  • Fixed and tracker-rate mortgages for residential and buy-to-let borrowers
  • Lending up to 5 times annual income, depending on circumstances
  • Fee-free options or, alternatively, a £995 product fee for most mortgages
  • Capacity to repay up to 10% of the mortgage balance each year without having to pay an early repayment charge

NatWest mortgage pros and cons

Pros Cons
tick A variety of mortgage products, including green mortgages and cashback options

tick Fee-free products, albeit at a slightly higher interest rate

tick Lending up to 5 times income for some borrowers, depending on personal circumstances

cross The £995 product fee for a large number of its mortgages is relatively high compared to some rival lenders

cross You are unlikely to be approved for a mortgage if you have a poor credit history

cross Although the set fee of £102 for a standard valuation is competitive, there is an additional £75 admin fee payable

What types of mortgage does NatWest offer?

NatWest has mainly fixed-rate mortgages, typically with a 2 or 5-year introductory period, although it does have several tracker products in its range too, as you would expect from a mainstream lender. In addition to its standard residential and buy-to-let mortgages, it also offers a number of more specialist options, including:

  • Green mortgage - a discounted rate is offered on energy-efficient houses with an EPC rating of A or B. There is also the potential to earn cashback on these products
  • 95% LTV mortgage - with this range, borrowers only have to put forward 5% deposit, which makes it easier for people to get on the property ladder. The interest rates are generally higher than for lower LTV alternatives
  • Cashback mortgage - a range that gives a cashback bonus on the day you first draw down your mortgage

How much can I borrow with NatWest?

NatWest has an online mortgage calculator which gives prospective borrowers an idea of how much they are likely to be able to borrow and what the monthly repayments would cost. This works by taking details of the applicants' income, existing financial commitments, dependents and the likely LTV of the mortgage before calculating the loan amount. Generally, this is anything up to 5 times annual income, depending on your circumstances. However, it is important to note that this figure may change once you have submitted your full application and disclosed more detailed information.

What interest rates does NatWest charge?

As interest rates frequently change, it is worth checking with NatWest - either directly or through an intermediary - what the latest rates are at the point you are considering taking out a mortgage. At the time of writing, the following deals were available:

  • 2-year fixed rate at up to 60% LTV for 1.43% with a £995 product fee
  • 5-year fixed rate at up to 75% LTV for 1.83% with no product fee
  • 2-year fixed green mortgage at up to 60% LTV for 1.32% with £995 product fee

At the end of the introductory period, the interest rate reverts to the lender's standard variable rate, which is currently 3.59%.

How long does it take to get a mortgage offer from NatWest?

While lenders generally try to be as efficient as possible when processing mortgage applications, the time this takes will vary depending on the time of the year and the number of applications they are having to deal with. At the time of writing, NatWest states it is taking an average of 2 days to complete initial underwriting for new applications from employed borrowers, with a further 3 days dedicated to assessing further information necessary to complete the process.

What fees does NatWest charge for its mortgages?

In addition to the fees you will pay to a solicitor for completing the legal side of the property transaction, there may also be charges levelled by the mortgage lender. In the case of NatWest, the two main charges are a product fee and a valuation fee. For the former, the mortgages tend to be split between those that have a £995 charge and those that are fee-free but have a slightly higher interest rate. If you opt for a mortgage that has a product fee, you have the choice to pay it upfront or add it to the mortgage, although it will then attract interest.

In terms of the valuation fee, some NatWest mortgages offer a free standard valuation. For those that do charge a fee, the price is £102 for properties worth up to £3m and £1,380 for properties between £3m-£10m. There is also an additional £75 admin fee.

Can you make overpayments on your NatWest mortgage?

NatWest customers are entitled to overpay their mortgage by up to 10% of the outstanding mortgage balance each year. If the borrower exceeds this limit, there may be an early repayment charge payable, which will vary depending on the individual mortgage product. You will need to check the terms of conditions to find out exactly what the charge is and whether it is worth making the overpayment.

What is the maximum mortgage term with NatWest?

The longest mortgage term for a NatWest residential mortgage is 35 years, or 30 years for an interest-only loan of more than £500,000. The maximum age the applicant can be at the end of the term is 70. Meanwhile, for buy-to-let mortgages, the maximum term is 35 years if the loan is for more than £500,000, with a maximum age of 80 at the end of the term.

What credit reference agency does NatWest use?

At the point that you submit your mortgage application, the lender will run a full credit check on you to assess your past financial behaviour and your overall creditworthiness. This means looking at the information held on you with one or more of the main credit reference agencies, ExperianEquifax or TransUnion. For NatWest, it uses information from Equifax. To see if you are likely to be accepted and to check for any inaccuracies on your file, you can look at your full Equifax report for free using ClearScore*.

Does NatWest offer mortgages to people with bad credit?

NatWest is unlikely to approve a mortgage if one or more of the applicants has seriously impaired credit. It will run a credit check to look for instances of late/missed payments, defaults, CCJs, IVAs and bankruptcy, among other issues. It will also look at your overall credit rating and, if this is good enough, may overlook some late payments or unsecured loan arrears on a case-by-case basis.

NatWest does not approve applications from people with bankruptcy or an IVA in the past 6 years.

NatWest mortgage customer reviews

According to customer review site Trustpilot, NatWest scores 1.4 out of 5.0 based on just over 3,500 reviews. 84% of respondents rated the company as "bad", with most of the negative reviews relating to poor customer service. However, these reviews are based on all elements of the bank's business rather than specifically looking at the mortgage part. According to Which?'s review of mortgage providers, NatWest ranks 5th out of 15 lenders based on factors including customer service, value for money and communication.

 

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