To buy or not to buy, that is the question.

I have a problem, and its kind of a big deal to me. You see, I have a vested interest in the property market in the respect that I am a mortgage broker, so if clients ask me ‘should I buy now’ and I tell them ‘no’ – which is what I have been doing in some cases for quite a while – then in turn it affects my livelihood.

estate agents are pulling a perpetual aceThe bigger issue is that other folks with a vested interest don’t seem to be doing the same, at every turn they interpret events as a ‘buying opportunity’, so the market is going up? Go buy, there is capital appreciation to be had. Its falling? Go buy, there is value out there. It seems every card dealt to the market is an Ace.

When is not a time to buy? Well… that’s the purpose of today’s post, I will do my best to spell it out for a two segments of the Irish property market namely: investors, first time buyers. Investors: I will start …

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Stepstone Mortgages, Another Irish Sub Prime lender bites the bullet.

When IIB launched their sub-prime lender ‘Stepstone’ the plan was for them to be the inverse of what The Monkeys sang about, they would be your ‘stepping stone’ towards financial stability, they looked specifically at clients who were recently self employed and therefore wouldn’t have 3 years of accounts, people who wanted to refinance who may have had arrears, and other standard specialist lending clients.

Now Stepstonehave joined the slowly (but disturbing) list of Irish Banks to close their doors for business. This means that the Irish financial industry will have to face up to the reality of unsteady world money markets in an ever more local perspective, it’s no longer happening ‘over there in the US’ or ‘across the water’ anywhere else, its up close and personal, especially for the people who were made redundant this week. I feel bad for them, they all did a great job and they were certainly not behind the decision to close up shop, it will also decrease competition in the industry as the number of …

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Online Mortgage, how to get a mortgage online or over the internet

We did an article on the 21st of February about online mortgages, this is just a very brief follow up because we got a few mails about it.

So far we don’t know of any brokerage or lender offering a purely 100% online mortgage, there is a good deal of work that can be done via the Internet but there is not a fully Internet based solution out there right now. By an online mortgage the assumption is that there are no phone calls or emails or anything done that require interaction with another human being. An Irish mortgage online will be a reality at some stage in the future, and hopefully we will be the group pioneering them but currently because of money laundering requirements and the complexity of mortgages a mortgage online is not possible, at least in the sense described above.

What is the closest thing to mortgages online? At the moment sending in documentation and then talking to a human at some point is the nearest working solution. In an ideal world you could automate almost …

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100% Mortgages, how to get a 100% mortgage

100% Mortgages became quite popular in Ireland recently and up until the credit crunch they were proving to be the answer for many young buyers, the reason for requiring a 100% mortgage is normally because a person has been renting and paying off college debt etc. and for that reason they were not able to save up a deposit of 8-10% or more. Given that Irish property prices (at least in Dublin) were – and still are – above c. €350,000 it means you would have to save up the guts of €35,000, no easy feat even if you didn’t have college debt and lived at home.

The issue currently though is that the Irish property market is in a declining phase, so lenders have pulled back for the most part from 100% mortgages for the simple reason that they could be in a situation of inverse equity. When you get a mortgage normally you have at least some stake in the transaction, a down-payment or deposit and that portion ensures that you are committed to the transaction, call it …

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New Iranian Oil bourse, it might just get them bombed.

When it comes to Uncle Sam and oil you simply don’t mess around. I don’t mean that in a frivolous way either, playing about with Oil supply will get you invaded, it has happened before (both Gulf Wars) and can/will happen again.

Iran’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might not be your favourite leader, and he does some of the disgraceful things that are a hallmark of some Middle Eastern politicians, such as claiming there was no holocaust. Perhaps for them ‘holocaust’ is subjective given that there is one happening in Iraq today and nobody is talking about it any more than the SS did back in the 1940’s, the only saving grace at the moment is that it is not a state sponsored exercise. Anyways, Ahmadinejad might not be to your liking but he is the legally elected President and the leader of Persia, thus far his wild comments and defiant stance when it comes to things like nuclear power have brought about international pressure but the thing that might make his country the final resting place of many bombs is …

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Vice Funds, because hard markets are thirsty work

Vice funds: These are funds that invest in Alcohol, Tobacco, Arms/Military supplies, and Gambling. Basically they go for everything that isn’t green, socially responsible, or beneficial to mankind, and much to my personal chagrin it seems to work. (the first one I looked at has done over 21% on average for the last five years)

In an environment where stocks and property are going haywire the stocks in these markets seem to be performing quite strong. Reutersrecently did an article about art and wine, and how the recent world market events have left them relatively untouched (in the sense of a negative impact), infact wine funds are one of the things that are experiencing a growth phase during all of this. Maybe its true, when there are hard times we all turn to drink. Certainly the shareprice in Diageo made gains in the last month (although it did fall 1.3% this week).

During the great depression people still found the money to drink (to what I recall the popular whiskey …

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First Time Buyers – What you need to know

If you are considering your first home then you should do a lot of research because today’s market is a tricky one, there is value to be found in 2008 if you look for it and know how to negotiate, however, for the naive it can also be fast method to part ways with your hard earned money.

Some developers are currently knocking up to €100,000 off the price of properties they are selling, this has gotten a lot of media attention, however it also begs the question ‘why?’, are we to believe that they suddenly want to help out first time buyers? Or are they trying to shift stock that they think won’t sell otherwise? The real question is whether properties were vastly over-priced and the prices reflected pure greed or is the developer being forced to sell due to financial reasons or what the underlying cause for something so drastic is.

If somebody offered me an iPod for €50 I’m not sure I’d be interested, I guess I’m a natural born skeptic. I’m not implying that houses with …

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Mortgages Online: Online or Internet Mortgages explained.

I heard countless anecdotes about online mortgages over the past few years and to be fair I felt that people were fundamentally right about things, that the mortgage market would go to the web to a large degree the way so many other things have.

Dunnes Stores strongest growth area is Internet shopping and I think Tesco would likely say its a big growth area as well, no need for retail space, people can browse as they see fit etc. so surely the same thing would happen across countless sectors? Right? Even finance?

Wrong… Well, not fully right anyways. If you look for an online-mortgage the likelihood is that you will be asked to fill in some information and ultimately a human being will still contact you and you will then send in documentation to them etc. it won’t be ‘online’ in the sense that buying a plane ticket is ‘online’ (i.e.: zero requirement for human interaction/intervention), however in this article I will outline the possibility for mortgages online and how I think the successful players will approach it.

Firstly …

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How to get cheap Mortgages

Getting a cheap mortgage is perhaps one of the main concerns people have, price seems to be the primary focus for the majority of clients in making a decision about which mortgage to go for. Mortgages do have certain things that can be included as ‘added extras’ but unlike cars or houses these add-on options are not always the thing that attract a person to a loan type, certainly in our experience it is price oriented considerations.

The things that might be possible to include as ‘extras’ would typically be things like being able to take a mortgage break, this is where you make no payment for (generally) up to three months. Off-setting savings against the mortgage is another one that is becoming more popular, this is where you can use any money on deposit as an ‘offset’ against the principle. In basic terms imagine the following: you have savings of three thousand and a mortgage of two hundred thousand, you pay the same monthly amount but the interest is calculated on one hundred and ninety-seven thousand (200k – 3k …

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Mortgage Companies in Ireland

In Ireland there are several methods of getting a mortgage, you can do it directly with a lender, or via an Intermediary (which is what Irish Mortgage Brokers are). Both lenders and Intermediaries are regulated by the Financial Regulator and they are the ones who set policies and regulations that all financial companies must adhere to.

If you need a mortgage ‘do some research’ would be the first piece of advice anybody should give you. There is nothing that can replace doing your own research, for such a massive undertaking as most mortgages are – the vast majority will make up more than 20% of your net income for quite some time – it is tantamount to irresponsible if you don’t try to familiarise yourself with the process and what it involves.

After that you need to work with a firm that you are happy with, sometimes you might know a person in the industry or maybe you will pick a company out of the Golden Pages but in any case make sure that you are satisfied the person you …

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