Pros and cons of a variable rate mortgage

A variable rate mortgage is a mortgage in which the interest rate on the outstanding balance changes periodically. Typically, these loans will have fixed, or “teaser” interest rates for a specified amount of time, after which the interest rate will change based on a variety of factors. In most cases, the initial interest rate on a variable rate loan will be lower than a fixed rate, which can be appealing for homebuyers. But it is important to be aware of the pros and cons before jumping into a variable rate loan.

Pros

Flexibility

The number one advantage of a variable rate mortgage is flexibility. With a variable rate mortgage, you don’t need to worry about penalties for things like increasing your monthly payment, or paying off your mortgage early. You also have the ability to make lump-sum payments on your mortgage throughout the year, which can be very helpful for home buyers with a fluctuating income affected by bonuses or commissions. If your life is likely to change relatively soon, and you plan on eventually moving or selling the house, …

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How to get the lowest rate on your mortgage

When applying for a mortgage, you will notice that rates vary greatly. These rates determine on a number of things, including the length of your mortgage term, the size of your deposit, your credit score, and which lender you choose. With so many different mortgage lenders available to choose from, this can be a daunting process, especially for first time buyers. Securing the lowest rate is incredibly important, as it will make your monthly payments smaller, thus saving you money over the whole lifetime of the loan. Here are a few things to focus on during your application process to ensure you get the lowest rate possible.

Shop Around

You wouldn’t buy a car without driving a few first, or a mattress without laying down on more than one, right? In a similar way, if you want the best mortgage rate, you should shop around with different lenders. This process should entail researching different lenders and the products they have to offer, as every lender has different loan types, terms, and interest rates. You also should apply for more than …

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How do mortgages work?

If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ve probably already realized that this is not like most transactions. The average house price in Dublin is €396,000, and unless you’re very wealthy, you probably don’t have anywhere that much in savings. Because you likely can’t afford an expense of this magnitude out of your own pocket, you will need to finance the purchase through a mortgage, and if you’re new to the home-buying process, you may be a little confused as to how exactly these loans work.

A mortgage is a huge loan secured against the value of your house. A “secured” loan means that the borrower promises collateral to the lender in the event that they are unable to make payments, and in this case, the collateral is your home. In other words, the bank will kick you out and take possession of your house if you can’t make payments. In order to prevent this from happening, the lender will typically conduct a detailed review of the borrower’s finances in order to determine how much they can reasonably afford to …

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How you can be approved for a mortgage in Ireland despite Central Bank’s rules

It’s no secret that house prices are continuing to rise in Ireland. Because of this, it is more important now than ever to maximize the amount that you are allowed to borrow. The Central Bank’s rules often do not make this process any easier, as many have criticized the Central Bank on its restrictive rules in terms of how much people are allowed to borrow. To be approved for a mortgage in Ireland, you first have to fall within the Central Bank’s income rules. Second, your lender will evaluate your repayment capacity.

First, the Central Bank restricts lenders to loans of 3.5 times the borrowers’ income (joint and single), unless they are granted an exemption. This means that someone making €40,000 can borrow up to €140,000, and a couple making €100,000 combined can borrow up to €350,000, respectively.  However, to be approved for a mortgage, they must also pass a stress test, per Central Bank rules. This tests the ability of the borrower to repay the loan each month should interest rates rise by 2 percent above what the lender …

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What is the Help to Buy Incentive?

The Help to Buy incentive is a program from the Irish Government that provides relief to first time buyers of a new home or apartment. The amount of relief granted through this incentive was recently increased due to economic pressures brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic. In the July 2020 Jobs stimulus package, the Government increased the amount of relief available temporarily through 31 December 2020. With the passing of Budget 2021, this increased relief has been extended to 31 December 2021. The incentive gives a refund of income tax and Deposit Interest Retention tax (DIRT) paid in Ireland over the previous 4 years to qualifying first time buyers.

Help to Buy only applies to properties worth less than €500,000, and the home or apartment must be new or self built. To qualify for Help to Buy, you must be a first time buyer who either buys or self-builds a new residential property between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2021. However, the Help to Buy scheme does not apply to rental or investment properties. The scheme is limited …

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What does it mean if your mortgage is in arrears?

The mortgage on your house or apartment is one of the biggest and most important financial commitments that most people have. If you fall behind on these payments, it could put you in a very difficult  place financially. When you miss mortgage payments, you may fall into what’s known as mortgage arrears. If you fall into arrears, your lender may eventually repossess your home. This is why it’s important to contact your lenders Arrears Support Unit as soon as you fall into arrears, or even pre-arrears. However, repossession is a last resort for your lender, as they generally want you to make all your payments on time. This is why, before they repossess your home, your lender is required to offer a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP), per central bank guidelines. Under the MARP, your lender will offer a variety of solutions to help you pay back what you owe, in addition to paying back the amount in arrears in full.

If you enter the MARP, your lender will first conduct an assessment of your financial situation and your ability …

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Costs you Should be Aware of before Buying a House

There are more costs associated with buying your first home than just the 10% deposit. There are many additional fees, duties and taxes that you should be aware of before buying your home. 

 

The first fee you should be aware of is the stamp duty. The stamp duty is not included in your mortgage, so it’s a good idea to save this fee up in addition to your 10% deposit. The stamp duty is calculated at 1% of the selling price on a home or residential property of up to €1m, and 2% of the selling price on homes and residential properties above €1m. This stamp duty may change however, and full details are available on the Revenue.ie website. 

Legal fees are another hidden cost of buying a home that you should look out for. There are a lot of legal aspects that have to be accounted for when officially transferring ownership of the property to you, so you should find a trusted real estate lawyer to take care of this transfer. Legal fees will vary depending on …

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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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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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