Financial Literacy: What is a Mortgage? How do mortgages work?

Financial Literacy posts are designed to be more than just a simple definition, they are aimed at putting financial concepts into easily understandable terms and to give an example or two to demonstrate the answers.

Today we ask: What is a Mortgage?

By definition a mortgage is pledging a property to a lender as security in return for a mortgage loan. While a mortgage is not an actual debt it is evidence of a debt and is the legal instrument used to transfer an interest in land from an owner to a lender on condition that it will be given back to the owner once the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied.

I am a big fan of pictures so we shall use a few to show what happens.

Let’s take the example of ‘Joe’ who wants to buy a house. He must save up a deposit as loans require ‘equity’ it gives the bank some security in the sense that it means the person is vested in the purchase (they stand to lose …

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How to get a mortgage, simple and easy steps to getting a mortgage

Mortgages scare some people and if you are reading this because you are considering a mortgage then hopefully it will help you realise that while buying a property is a big undertaking, getting a mortgage doesn’t need to be. In this article there are some questions, answers, and a few general tips to bear in mind.

Which is better, a bank or a broker? Obviously I have a bias towards brokers, a good brokerage with at least 12 agencies will be able to give you a huge selection of choice across the market and explain the pro’s and con’s of each loan that may suit you. A bank on the other hand will give you a choice of only their own products, as I always say ‘has your bank ever sent you down the road to a different institution’? If the answer is ‘no’ then you get the picture, independent choice is what brokers are for. However, if you are comfortable going direct then brokers may not be the answer for you, currently 60% of the market for residential mortgages …

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Average loan life set to rise as we witness the death of the ‘Switcher’ mortgage.

For almost the last decade we saw a market develop where customers were king, and where banks competed for their business, this was an era where ‘refinancing’, ‘switching’, and ‘re-mortgaging’ became a common occurrence, in the 1990’s the re-mortgage market was very small in comparison to where it went from 2000 onwards. The reason for the upsurge was that loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to the Irish banks, they were giving new borrowers better rates and charging existing borrowers more, the choice of fixed rates for an existing borrower were always more expensive than for the person who had jumped ship elsewhere and come to a bank as a fresh client.

Today we are seeing something that has long been unfamiliar, banks are intentionally being uncompetitive, pushing rates to the point where they are not doing any marginal lending and where their average loan is reaching higher and higher above the ECB currently several banks have broken the 6% mark meaning that rates are now at the highest they have been in almost a decade.

This means that lenders …

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Average loan life set to rise as we witness the death of the 'Switcher' mortgage.

For almost the last decade we saw a market develop where customers were king, and where banks competed for their business, this was an era where ‘refinancing’, ‘switching’, and ‘re-mortgaging’ became a common occurrence, in the 1990’s the re-mortgage market was very small in comparison to where it went from 2000 onwards. The reason for the upsurge was that loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to the Irish banks, they were giving new borrowers better rates and charging existing borrowers more, the choice of fixed rates for an existing borrower were always more expensive than for the person who had jumped ship elsewhere and come to a bank as a fresh client.

Today we are seeing something that has long been unfamiliar, banks are intentionally being uncompetitive, pushing rates to the point where they are not doing any marginal lending and where their average loan is reaching higher and higher above the ECB currently several banks have broken the 6% mark meaning that rates are now at the highest they have been in almost a decade.

This means that lenders …

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How to get a Mortgage, getting a mortgage is easy…

If you want to get a mortgage the process is fairly simple, it’s a big undertaking for certain but that doesn’t mean that everything surrounding it is overly complex. A mortgage is a security backed loan, this means that there is some actual asset that a lender has a lien on (lien: this term means ‘ownership of’ so if a lender has a lein on your property in the form of a mortgage then they own the property ahead of you owning it until you pay them off) and its generally called ‘the security’ or just the ‘property’.

The biggest concern for any bank or building society when considering a mortgage is the clients ability to pay back the loan, this is sometimes referred to as ‘repayment capacity’, or if you want the hardcore underwriting terminology its the ‘debt service ratio’ and its normally a calculation that decides numerically if a person has the ability to service a loan obligation. There are different ways of doing this, some banks use a multiplier, for instance: you can borrow four times your …

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