Mortgage switching: how, when, why

What does it mean to switch mortgages? Why would someone want to switch? What can be gained from switching? Finally, if one wants to switch, how should they go about doing it?

The first question is easy to answer, though oftentimes “switching” can get conflated with “remortgaging.” Don’t be fooled; these refer to two different things that, while similar in concept, can have different implications for the borrower.

“Remortgaging” simply refers to getting a new mortgage to replace a previous one; this can be done with one’s existing lender or a new one.

“Switching” is the process of taking one’s existing mortgage and moving it to a new lender.

Now, for the next question: why would a borrower want to switch mortgages? There are a number of reasons for doing so. Firstly, a borrower might be dissatisfied with their current lender for one reason or another, like poor service or lack of responsiveness to inquiries. If borrowers think another lender will provide better service, tat would be a good reason for switching mortgages to said lender.

Another reason for switching …

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Could harsher punishments for mortgages in arrears lead to lower rates?

Mortgages are notoriously expensive in Ireland, with rates twice those of the Eurozone average. How best to address this problem has been a hot-button issue in Ireland for some time. Now, some are putting forward a new solution: harsher punishments for borrowers with mortgages in arrears. One of Irish banks’ stated reasons for rates being so high is that failing to meet mortgage payments doesn’t have high enough consequences for borrowers. For example, home repossessions in Ireland aren’t very common, since the process is so complex and can take several years. As a result, loans are riskier investments for lenders in Ireland relative to other Eurozone countries. If this is indeed the reason for rates being high, it follows that tougher treatment of such borrowers would lead to lower rates for everyone else.

Regarding the number of borrowers this would affect, statistics from the Central Bank of Ireland show that 5.3% of all principle dwelling house (PDH) mortgage accounts were in arrears as of December 2020. This percentage includes a total of 38,785 accounts. However, it’s also worth noting …

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Covid-19’s impact on mortgages

The covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on all areas of the financial world, including banks, loans, and mortgages. Mortgage arrears, or payments failed to be made by their original specified due date, had been consistently falling every year since 2013. However, Fitch predicts that arrears of at least 90 days will constitute about 14-16% of Irish home loans this year, their highest rate since the financial crisis.

Additionally, the pandemic has led to widespread payment breaks for mortgages in Ireland. Payment breaks involve the deferring of repayment of a loan to a later date; they do not change, however, reduce the total amount to be paid. In March of last year, the major banks in Ireland agreed to industry-wide payment breaks for those facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. This was done out of consideration for borrowers’ situations and lenders’ own desire to avoid high default rates. Ultimately, by May 2020, one in nine owner-occupier mortgage payments was on such a break.

Though this measure was taken of the industry’s own volition, soon after, the …

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Types of mortgages and lending rules

Irish law has specialized sets of lending rules depending on the type of mortgage application. Types of applications are split into three different categories: first-time buyers, remortgaging or switching, and buy-to-let buyers. Depending on which of these categories an application falls under, different loan-to-value (LTV) and loan-to-income (LTI) limits will be used. The former refers to the minimum deposit a borrower must have on a home before getting a mortgage loan. The latter refers to the maximum amount of money borrowers can receive in relation to their yearly gross income; while this is normally capped at 3.5 times one’s income, lenders can provide additional allowances of varying amount depending on the type of application.

Firstly, there are first-time buyers. These applicants are those buying a house for the first time, so the deposit required by LTV limits is understandably less steep. They will need to have a minimum deposit of 10% of the home’s total value. For example, if the price of a home is listed as €250,000, a 10% deposit would amount to €25,000. Lenders are allowed to have …

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The fastest way to get a mortgage

What is the fastest way to get a mortgage in Ireland today? To those unfamiliar and/or engaging with the process for the first time, it can seem drawn out and overly complicated. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. While different people will likely want to use different approaches, but there are some general rules that everyone can follow to ensure their application goes as smoothly as possible.

The first thing one should do is make sure their financial situation is otherwise well and accounted for. In addition to employment and income, this can include things like home insurance and valuation of the property. One should also consider how long they’ve lived in Ireland; depending on the lender, this may be important in their consideration of an application. Borrowers should furthermore ensure that they have good credit and are not too heavily in debt. Lenders are likely to be more apprehensive regarding borrowers with unstable financial backgrounds, as they seem less likely to be able to ultimately repay their loans.

The next things one should keep in mind are …

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What you need when applying for a mortgage

Before applying for a mortgage, one should be sure they have all the necessary documentation. Typically, if one goes through a broker or chooses to go directly to a lender/bank, guidance will be provided on all the necessary paperwork and how to complete it. However, it can save applicants valuable time to try and get pre-approved by either lenders or brokers. In this case, they would likely need to take some initiative.

Documents required for approval and preapproval can vary depending upon the borrower and lender.

All borrowers will likely need:

Proof of ID Proof of Address Personal Public Service Number Proof of Income Financial Statements

Proof of identity can include things like a valid Irish driver’s license or passport. For proof of address, one might consider a utility bill, a tenancy or lease agreement, or government-issued documents that include said address.

Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSN) are issued by the Department of Social Protection (DSP). Non-residents can obtain a PPSN by applying for one with the DSP. Such an applicant will also need to provide proof of …

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Banks or brokers? Which to choose when applying for a mortgage

In applying for a mortgage, there is always the question of whether to go directly to a bank or to go through a broker. There could be advantages and drawbacks to either approach; the former could be faster and/or less expensive, but brokers can provide valuable assistance before and during the application process that make them a viable alternative. Ultimately, which of the two is the better option is based on the individual, and they should consider personal knowledge, experience, and preference when applying.

Firstly, going straight to a bank allows one to avoid paying a broker’s fee. Additionally, there may be an added level of trust associated with conducting negotiations directly. Assuming one has a high credit score, healthy income, and otherwise checks all of the boxes banks are looking for, it could prove to be faster than going through a broker. However, failing to do so might lead to one’s application being rejected out of hand. If an applicant is aware of such complicating factors, they should consider going to a broker instead.

If an applicant isn’t aware …

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State of the European Stock Market

European stocks have seen better days than the dip they are currently experiencing. This dip has largely been due to the rising bond yields seen in the market. These have spurred hopes of seeing a solid economic recovery in the European markets. As of this past Thursday, the Dublin market closed virtually unchanged compared to recent numbers. Banks, on the other hand, had been affected more wildly with the Bank of Ireland up nearly 2.5% and the AIB up nearly 3.6%.

Housebuilders have also seen some changes in the market with Bairn Homes closing at nearly 1.9% higher. For other industries such as food stocks, Glanbia closed at nearly a 1.6% increase. For London’s Ftse 100 reversed, they were able to close with a relatively strong week. The total of the Gtse 100 index closed at 0.4% higher, which is the second consecutive week that investors have seen a rise despite the coronavirus still being prevalent. Even though there has been looser COVID-19 restrictions and the vaccination program picking up speed.

Other Bank stocks such as HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, …

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It is an Emergency! Do you have an emergency fund?

Oh no, you just got into an accident on Tuesday during the rush hour during the rain. Do you have the money you can come up with right now to pay for the accident, could you do it? Although it might not be a greatly rewarding goal or cool, the emergency fund is the foundation of what your entire financial health is built upon. Without it, it could be a matter of time before it comes tumbling down.

Many common unexpected costs come weekly or monthly for an individual. Your car could break down in the middle of the highway, maybe your toilet broke, or many other things that could have happened. Most commonly, people throw these unexpected costs on to their credit card rather than paying out of their emergency funds. That’s to say the same as running but with a backpack full of books. Financing is on a credit card can easily climb not the thousands when people could have easily paid it off in one year.

The lack of an emergency fund costs you more than just …

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