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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5 tips to improve your credit rating

Your credit rating is crucial when applying for a mortgage or any type of loan. The better your credit rating, the higher the chance you will qualify for a good rate from your lender. Having an average or below average rating can greatly reduce your choice of lender and have an adverse affect on your rate. Here are some tips to make sure your credit rating is as high as possible.

1. Use Credit cards wisely

Using credit cards responsibly on a regular basis is key to boosting your score. Banks may ask you for 12 months of credit card statements, and being behind on your credit payments will decrease your chances of getting a loan. Instead, use your credit card for small amounts, and keep up with your monthly repayments. This shows that you can reliably pay back the money you borrow.

2. Don’t miss loan repayments

Making all your payments on time is the factor that impacts your credit score the most. When you pay your credit cards or other loans on time, it goes on your file …

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Irish Households’ savings at record levels

Irish households saved more than 4 times the average amount during the first quarter of 2021, according to a recent study by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The CSO reports that Irish households saved more than €10 billion during the first three months of 2021.

This massive increase in savings was undoubtedly related to Covid-19 and it’s corresponding economic restrictions. Due to businesses being closed because of lockdowns, government unemployment benefits, or some combination of the two, incomes either held steady or increased, while spending was dramatically decreased. The CSO also reported that uncertainty about the pandemic and how long the lockdowns would last may have forced many Irish citizens to build up an increased amount of precautionary savings, in case money became tight in the future.

When looking at the numbers, it is no surprise that savings grew dramatically when compared to the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the first three months of last year, Government subsidies increased by €1.1 billion, and social protection payments rose by an even larger margin of €2.7 billion.

While the Pandemic Unemployment …

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Lockdowns cause surge on home improvement spending in Ireland

The coronavirus pandemic created many unforseen circumstances in people’s daily lives. Perhaps the biggest among these was the effects of the lockdown. People had to stay in their homes for much longer than they normally would, and many people were stuck working at home. It is no surprise, then, that a record number of home improvement projects have been carried out over the last year and a half.

Research by Aviva Insurance Ireland shows that 1.5 million homeowners have carried out work on their homes over the past year, with the total cost of these projects coming in at more than €11 billion. In addition to these numbers, another 861,000 people have plans to undertake home improvement projects, the survey says. The survey captured almost every type of home improvement imaginable, from minor fixes like painting a room or replacing windows, to large projects like building extensions onto homes or adding a home office, the latter of which was definitely popular as the country and the world transitioned to a remote work environment.

Aviva Insurance added that this surge in …

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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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AIB to close branches due to pandemic in controversial decision

The covid-19 pandemic and its related lockdowns have had a number of effects on the financial landscape both in Ireland and worldwide. One of the biggest effects has been the shift to contactless payments and online banking. This trend was only increased due to lockdowns, as the bank’s physical locations were closed, leading to more customers accessing their money online or through the bank’s app.

On Tuesday, Allied Irish Banks (AIB) said that it had conducted a “detailed strategic review” to examine the changes in how customers interact with banks. In the review, the bank stated that “Following the unrelenting shift in customer preference for digital banking over the last number of years, AIB is announcing the amalgamation of 15 branches in locations across the country by December this year”. The vast majority of these 15 branches being closed are in urban and suburban locations in Dublin and Cork. Accounts in the closing branches will be moved to neighboring branches, and these closures will leave AIB with 170 remaining physical branches. About 100 AIB employees will be affected by this …

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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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Buying a home vs. Renting: Which is better?

Buying your home is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. However, it is a big commitment and there are a lot of hidden costs and factors that can make it unaffordable for some. Because of the costliness of buying a home outright, many buyers turn to renting instead, especially in expensive housing markets like London, New York, and Hong Kong. Determining which option is best for you depends on a variety of factors, and not everyone’s situation is alike. To help with this important decision, let’s take a look at some of the key differences between buying and renting.

Buying

When buying a house, it’s likely you’ll need to apply for a mortgage. To get a mortgage, you need a deposit (usually at least 10% of the home’s value) and a steady income in order to make repayments. The greater your deposit and income, the more your bank or lender will be able to offer you. However, if you live in an expensive area, or have a low salary and little savings, buying may not be for …

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How has remote working affected rent prices in Ireland?

Because of the pandemic, so many people across Ireland have transitioned to remote work. While reopening is underway, it will still be some time before the majority of the workforce is back in their offices. During the pandemic, many people who lived and worked in major cities like Dublin found themselves returning to their home counties due to the opportunity to work from home. The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has found that a trend may be beginning with this movement of people away from urban centers due to covid-19.

Rents have increased across the State in the first three months of 2021 when compared to that same time period from last year. But perhaps as a reflection of people’s shift to remote work, rents have seen their sharpest increases outside of Dublin. During the first three months of the year, rents as a whole have seen a rise of 4.5 percent compared to the first quarter of last year. The nationwide average rent in euros for this quarter comes out to be €1,320, an increase of €33 when compared with …

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What is an Equity Release and how does it work?

Your equity in your home is how much you own. Think of it as the amount of your mortgage that you have already paid off, or the difference between your home’s market value and what you still owe the lender. So, once you have paid off your mortgage completely, you have 100% equity: you own it entirely. But as the value of your home appreciates, there is no immediate benefit to you in terms of cash. You will not be able to profit from the increase in value until you sell your property, and if you never sell, your estate and beneficiaries will be the only ones who are better off.

An equity release mortgage offers a way around this. These mortgages are becoming increasingly popular for homeowners aged 55 and older, as they give you a way to benefit from the equity you have built up in your home. An equity release involves a lender giving you a portion of the value of your home as a lump sum or a series of payments, in exchange for interest or …

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