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 are dealing with understands mortgages and is qualified to work in the mortgage industry as well as having at least a few years of experience in it.
At Irish Mortgage Brokers we have qualified accountants, solicitors, Mortgage Diploma holders, IAVI’s, Solicitors, Regulated Individuals and QFA’s (Qualified Financial Advisors) at your disposal, and to be fair we are likely the only firm which can boast this. Most of the team here are directly regulated by the Financial Regulator rather than working under another person or companies regulation (which is how most brokerages work). This means that they have to totally stand above all of their advice and dealings and can’t hide behind any corporate cloak, it encourages transparency and means that we will be guaranteed to strive to do our best for you every time you deal with us.
If you go to a bank or building society they are only obliged to tell you about the products they offer. So for instance, if you go to bank X there is no onus on them to tell you if they are the most expensive or the least expensive on the market and the answer ‘we are competitive’ will suffice. However as a broker we must try to obtain the best mortgage possible for which you qualify.
The following points are vital when choosing a broker: Firstly, find out how many agencies the broker has with lenders, the more they have the better the selection. Some brokers are ‘tied agents’ which means they can call themselves a broker but they are really more similar to the direct to bank option in that they don’t offer choices outside of one source. As a rule use a broker with at least ten agencies, you can check this on their Terms of Business letter which they are obliged to give you.
Secondly, ensure that they are a member of a professional body PIBA (Professional Insurance Brokers Association – has members who are both insurance and mortgage brokers) or maybe IMAF who are more mortgage specific are the two largest ones in the country.
Lastly, check out the companies credentials, do they have a good website? Are their offices in an actual office or do they work out of an apartment? You’d be surprised just how many brokers are working out of a home office, not that there is something inherently wrong with that but as a consumer it may be something you’d like to know. Do they have Professional Indemnity Insurance? Have they ever had a complaint lodged against them with the Financial Regulator or the Financial Services Ombudsman? Have they won any industry awards or were they at least nominated for them? And how long have they been established?
There are less than thirty actual lenders in Ireland and thousands of intermediaries, last year 57% of the residential mortgage market was placed via intermediaries.
By following this information you are more likely to deal with the company who secures your mortgage business in a professional and efficient manner. If you find this article of help or if you have any comments please leave one below.