As the name suggests, an interest only mortgage requires that you only pay the interest element of your mortgage in your monthly mortgage repayment. Crucially, there is no repayment of capital during the mortgage term. This has the benefit of reducing your monthly payments, although making the interest-only mortgage payments more affordable now can come with some significant disadvantages further down the line.
When considering an interest-only mortgage, remember that at the end of the mortgage term you will be required to repay the loan capital in full. You therefore need to either make provision for this capital repayment by setting up a separate savings or investment plan. If you can’t do this you will probably need to sell your home to repay the mortgage at the end of the loan period.
Most people are buying a house for them to live in and therefore the need to sell your home at the end of the mortgage term is unlikely to be a sensible or desirable option. You should therefore have a plan for repaying the loan at the end of the term or before. Also, it may be prudent to protect your family by taking taking life insurance to cover the mortgage sum in the event that you were to die, leaving them with a large mortgage still owing on your home.
It should also be noted that with a repayment mortgage over say 25 years, the interest you are paying is calculated every month based on the total outstanding mortgage sum. With a repayment mortgage, the outstanding mortgage sum is reducing over time, slowly at first but faster after the first 5 or 10 years of say a 25 year mortgage term. On an interest-only mortgage the outstanding mortgage sum stays the same throughout the loan term. You will therefore pay more interest on an interest-only mortgage than with a repayment mortgage.