Buying a home is probably the largest single financial commitment most people will incur throughout their lifetime. There is also a wide choice of mortgages available to borrowers who want something to suit their needs precisely.

It pays to get things right, whether you are a new borrower or considering a re-mortgage. Choose carefully and you can look forward to good value and a comfortable relationship with your lender throughout the mortgage term. Get it wrong and you could be paying thousands of pounds unnecessarily.

Nor is it just a question of getting the right mortgage. There are several ways of paying it off, some of which may be unsuitable for your long-term needs. Are you confident of being able to make the right decision between endowments, PEPs, pension mortgages and straightfoward repayments? If flexibility is key, endowments may not always be suitable. Alternatively, if your retirement income is likely to be small, you may not want to apportion a slice of your pension to pay off the loan.

This is why The Independent has published a Guide to Mortgages available free to all its readers. The Guide, written by Nic Cicutti, this paper's personal finance editor, takes you through the different types of loans available from lenders.

It also explains many of the key terms and areas you are likely to encounter in the fact-finding, including APRs, early repayment charges, compulsory insurance, arrangement and booking fees and mortgage indemnity guarantees.

The Guide, sponsored by Barclays Mortgages, includes a monthly budget planner, a list of useful telephone numbers and the likely extra costs involved in buying a home.

It also describes how much you are likely to be able to borrow, what steps to take if you are self-employed or a contract worker, the differences between each type of repayment vehicle and whether they might be suitable for you.

For your free copy, call 0800 585691. Or fill in the coupon on this page.