Ask the expert: What’s the best way to reinvest now that I’m selling my buy-to-let property

Ask the expert: What’s the best way to reinvest now that I’m selling my buy-to-let property

Posted on 19Jul

Our property finance expert answers your questions

I have been involved in property investment for years by way of a buy-to-let which I purchased in 2004. It has done quite well despite everything, but at this stage it’s almost impossible for me to make any return on it with the restrictions on rental income and rent pressure zones, which it is in. I’ve decided to sell up before the market flattens, but my question is what to do with the gain.
 

I anticipate around €186,000 and would very much like to look for property-related investment, possibly commercial but I’m not really sure. What is available for me?  

This is indeed a thorny topic. First things first, I assume your gain is net of Capital Gains Tax which will be payable on the uplift since 2004 and any sale price you achieve.

You also have obligations under the RTB toward tenants, and indeed, longer notice periods are being agreed through the agency at the moment, which will have to be cemented by the Oireachtas, but you should keep yourself abreast of these as they develop.

I know you remain interested in property as an investment vehicle, but wonder whether this is for sentimental or ‘gut instinct’ reasons, which can be an Irish nuance, or whether in fact you ought to be seeking the highest return across all asset classes, or a mix.
I asked Brendan Costello, of Galway-based Talk Financial about his recommendations for property investment. “Very few people still like property who don’t want to physically buy property,” he says. “Most just want out at this stage. The challenge for someone who wants to remain in the market but not in its current mix, is to access property funds on an insured basis. It’s a very slow market in recovery, with downward pressure on retail and commercial buildings as Covid put the market under serious pressure.”

He cites me the example of a pub which fetched €12.5m just before the pandemic hit, while the entire frontage of a nearby shopping centre with nearly 20 units, is currently pricing at €9.7m.

“If you don’t want to buy direct, and I would strongly dissuade from it at the moment given the heat in the market, what you’re buying into is a property fund in the likes of Irish Life or Zurich [insurance company] or buying into retail wholesale over the next four to six years as a passive investor, and there’s not much yield at all”.

Mr Costello adds that if ESG factors (environment, social and governance) are important to you, funding social housing, largely in the UK is also available through investment funds.
“A lack of government support has closed a number that were here such as Arena Capital partners which were identifying and financing secure long-term tenancies”.
As ever, this is an area where specific expert advice is strongly recommended from an independent financial broker, preferably.
 

First-time buyer here. I just want to ask if there’s a possibility of getting an approved joint mortgage for me and my husband if one of us has just been accepted to a job? Or do we need to wait six months to be approved?

I’m going to say it depends, because there’s no hard and fast rule laid down by lenders, or the Central Bank for this, however, good financial management along with the ‘prospects’ of applicants are all taken into account. I’ve seen people get over the line when they’re not yet permanent, because their qualifications and CV are such, that they’re bound to be a good risk.

Think of professionals like a doctor, or pharmacist, for instance. In addition, if they’re not looking for the full 90pc, and the property on which the loan is based is worth far more than the loan being requested, lenders aren’t so hard and fast on certain rules.
I don’t know your precise circumstances, but I’m going to assume that as first-time buyers you’re looking for the maximum loan available. Joey Sheehan, author of The Mortgage Coach agrees there is a ‘possibility and maybe a probability’ you won’t need to wait six months.

“If there is no probationary period then some banks would have no issue approving you once you can provide one payslip from the new employer on the basis that your husband has moved straight from a similar role with similar wages. If a probationary period applies, they may want him to complete it before they will advance funds, unless your husband is a higher earner and works as a professional or is state employed. Depending on your income it may determine if [the] bank would waive probation also, as if you are close enough to qualifying for the full loan on your own, they may waive completion of [the] probationary period.”

 

Source: https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/ask-the-expert-whats-the-best-way-to-reinvest-now-that-im-selling-my-buy-to-let-property-41840038.html

 


Can an inheritance be used for a deposit as we have no savings?

Posted on 09Jul

Q My wife has inherited a home with her two siblings. They have made the decision to sell it. We expect to have €200,000 in cash in six to nine months’ time. We have not been saving. She is self-employed and her salary fluctuates, but she has made a minimum of €50,000 in the last three years. I work as an engineer in a global software company and my salary is €90,000. I also take home €30,000 a year in bonus payments and shares. Can we use the €200,000 as our deposit, and still get a mortgage, even though we haven’t been saving?

Yes, absolutely, you can use the €200,000 you are about to inherit as a deposit, is the answer from Joey Sheahan, head of credit at online broker MyMortgages.ie. If you have been paying rent, then the monthly rental payments will serve as proof to the lender of your ability to meet monthly mortgage repayments, he said. If you are not paying rent, then you have ample time, between now and when you receive the inheritance funds, to start saving now to be able to show the necessary savings record of six months to the mortgage provider, Mr Sheahan said.

Q My wife and I are currently insured under Vhi One Plan Extra. This plan has an annual cost of €1,646.78 each. She is aged 71 and I am 75. We are both relatively healthy and have full medical cards. Vhi Healthcare recently sent me an email saying that my plan is being replaced by a plan called Enhanced Care Complete 75. No details of this plan, or its cost, were provided by the health insurer. Could you recommend an alternative plan, or an alternative provider if necessary? We have been with Vhi Healthcare for almost 50 years now.

The One Plan Extra scheme is one of the many plans that have now been retired by Vhi Healthcare. It covers up to semi-private in private hospitals with some refunds on eligible out-patient expenses, according to Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie. Before considering the alternative plan proposed by Vhi, which is the same cost as your existing plan at €1,641 per adult, Mr Goode said you should consider an alternative Vhi corporate plan called PMI 3613. This costs €1,340 per adult. He said this is an excellent scheme covering the same hospitals, subject to a small excess for each private hospital admission (€75 per claim). It includes excellent high-tech cardiac cover and higher refunds on eligible out-patient expenses with no excess to pay first, the broker said. If you are open to switching insurer, you could also consider the 4D Health 2 scheme from Irish Life Health at €1,351 each, or the Simply Connect scheme from Laya Healthcare at €1,361 each, Mr Goode said.

Q I contribute 25pc of my income towards my pension, which is with Irish Life. I’m fully conscious of how markets can fluctuate, particularly this year. That said, I am losing money at the moment, which is hard to accept. I wonder should I stop my contributions altogether or should I keep going? Any advice would be appreciated.

Stock markets are volatile and will fluctuate up and down over time. They are particularly volatile at the moment given what is happening in the world. A long-term view is best, according to Joey Sheahan, director of MyLifeCover.ie. He said he would not worry about a loss like this in the short term, as it is inevitable that you will see losses for some of the years over, say, a 30 or 40-year period. When values fall in the market, that is the best time to buy as there is an opportunity to buy units at a lower level, which will hopefully recover to previous levels over time, the financial adviser said. Mr Sheahan said you should continue your contributions to your pension, on the basis that you are buying at a lower level than previous values. It is also important to review your risk profile and ensure that you are invested in the appropriate funds. For example, somebody with a high-risk appetite could invest in funds which could show much higher movements. This might include, say, a 20pc increase or decrease in values in a short period. Someone with a low-risk appetite could invest in lower-risk funds, which would have much smaller movements, maybe moving 3pc or 5pc up or down in a short period. Mr Sheahan recommends that you seek advice from a financial adviser before making any decision about your pension.

Source: https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/can-an-inheritance-be-used-for-a-deposit-as-we-have-no-savings-41825924.html

 


€400m ‘First Home Scheme’ to help first time buyers

Posted on 07Jul

A new Government scheme, set up to make it easier for first-time buyers to afford a new build home, has opened for business today.

The €400m ‘First Home Scheme’ aims to bridge an existing affordability gap by providing buyers with part of the purchase price for their home, in return for the scheme taking a minority equity stake.

The maximum stake that the scheme will take is 20%, if the buyer is also availing of the Government’s separate Help to Buy scheme, and 30% if Help to Buy is not used.

The scheme is available initially to first-time buyers and other qualifying homebuyers, including people affected by a relationship breakdown or insolvency, who are taking out mortgages from AIB (including its EBS and Haven Mortgages businesses), Bank of Ireland or Permanent TSB.

Other mortgage providers may join the scheme in the coming months.

It is open to buyers of newly-built houses and apartments in private developments.

When someone who has bought a home using the scheme subsequently decides to sell it, he or she will be required to use the sale proceeds to redeem the outstanding mortgage and pay to the scheme the portion of the sale proceeds that corresponds to the scheme’s equity stake.

For example, if someone received 20% of the purchase price when they bought the home, he or she will have to pay the scheme 20% of the proceeds when they sell the home.

Scheme users will have the option, but not the obligation, to buy out some or all of the First Home Scheme equity stake at any time, if they wish and have the resources to do so.

No payments are due to the First Home Scheme if the equity stake is bought out in the first five years of ownership.

From year six onwards, scheme participants will be liable for a service charge.

 

The scheme is making €400m available, to facilitate the purchase of up to 8,000 homes over a five-year period, subject to demand.

“This scheme we are launching today will support first-time buyers and those seeking a fresh start by helping to bridge the gap between what they can afford and the price of the home they wish to purchase,” said Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

As a founding partner, Bank of Ireland said it is investing €70m into the First Home Scheme.

Bank of Ireland said that supporting the construction of new homes is of strategic importance for the bank.

“We finance homebuilding nationwide that aims to provide suitable options for all home buyers,” it said in a statement.

Alan Hartley, Director of Home Buying, Retail Ireland, said, that Bank of Ireland strongly supports the ambition of many of its customers to own their own home.

“Our participation in the First Home Scheme as a founding member reflects our ongoing commitment to help first time buyers get their first step on the property ladder,” Mr Hartley said.

“We are also delighted to be a part of a scheme which supports the delivery of energy efficient homes and a societal move towards a low carbon future,” he added.

AIB has today also welcomed the launch of the First Home Scheme, which forms part of the Government’s Housing for All plan.

Colin Hunt, the chief executive of AIB, said that addressing the housing supply deficit is one of the most urgent social and economic issues the country is facing.

“AIB is delighted to welcome this joint initiative, which has opened for applications today, providing more people with the opportunity to own their first home,” Mr Hunt said.

He said that AIB offers those looking to buy their first home a wide variety of competitive rates through our AIB brand, along with our EBS and Haven brands.

“We also offer low green mortgage rates for those wishing to buy energy-efficient homes1 to encourage and support the transition to a low carbon economy,” he added.

Director of Property Industry Ireland, Dr. David Duffy said it had been seeking the introduction of such a scheme for some time and welcomes today’s launch.

“The scheme will offer more families the opportunity to own their own home. The scheme will stimulate the supply of new homes aimed at first-time buyers,” he said.

Property advisor, Savills Ireland said it was delighted to see the scheme begin.

“Affordability is the central issue at the heart of Ireland’s housing problem, therefore we welcome the government’s intervention to bridge the affordability gap by providing buyers with part of the purchase price for their home,” said David Browne, Director of New Homes.

“Although it won’t solve the overall issue of affordability, it is a step in the right direction.”


Call on banks to grant 12-month mortgage approval/*! This file is auto-generated */!function(c,l){"use strict";var e=!1,o=!1;if(l.querySelector)if(c.addEventListener)e=!0;if(c.wp=c.wp||{},c.wp.receiveEmbedMessage);else if(c.wp.receiveEmbedMessage=function(e){var t=e.data;if(!t);else if(!(t.secret||t.message||t.value));else if(/[^a-zA-Z0-9]/.test(t.secret));else{for(var r,s,a,i=l.querySelectorAll('iframe[data-secret="'+t.secret+'"]'),n=l.querySelectorAll('blockquote[data-secret="'+t.secret+'"]'),o=0;o<n.length;o++)n[o].style.display="none";for(o=0;o<i.length;o++)if(r=i[o],e.source!==r.contentWindow);else{if(r.removeAttribute("style"),"height"===t.message){if(1e3<(s=parseInt(t.value,10)))s=1e3;else if(~~s<200)s=200;r.height=s}if("link"===t.message)if(s=l.createElement("a"),a=l.createElement("a"),s.href=r.getAttribute("src"),a.href=t.value,a.host===s.host)if(l.activeElement===r)c.top.location.href=t.value}}},e)c.addEventListener("message",c.wp.receiveEmbedMessage,!1),l.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",t,!1),c.addEventListener("load",t,!1);function t(){if(o);else{o=!0;for(var e,t,r,s=-1!==navigator.appVersion.indexOf("MSIE 10"),a=!!navigator.userAgent.match(/Trident.*rv:11\./),i=l.querySelectorAll("iframe.wp-embedded-content"),n=0;n<i.length;n++){if(!(r=(t=i[n]).getAttribute("data-secret")))r=Math.random().toString(36).substr(2,10),t.src+="#?secret="+r,t.setAttribute("data-secret",r);if(s||a)(e=t.cloneNode(!0)).removeAttribute("security"),t.parentNode.replaceChild(e,t);t.contentWindow.postMessage({message:"ready",secret:r},"*")}}}}(window,document);
Call on banks to grant 12 month mortgage approval

Posted on 30Jun

A leading mortgage broker is calling on the country’s eight main lenders to increase the mortgage approval timeframe from 6 to 12 months.

Experts at online brokers MyMortgages.ie are reporting swathes of borrowers getting on average two or three mortgage approvals from lenders because of the time lag between their initial approval and finding a property.

Joey Sheahan, Head of Credit at MyMortgages.ie and author of The Mortgage Coach explained the situation.

“The most recent BPFI statistics showed that there were 5,355 approvals in May 2022 alone – 2,640 of which were for first time buyers,” he said. “From what we’re seeing on the ground, there’s a probability that up to 40% of these applicants were also approved for a mortgage in the last 12-24 months, but have not been able to find a suitable property in the intervening period.

“These volume of these reapplications could be reduced and could significantly lessen the workload of both borrowers and lenders alike, and could, in many cases, result in quicker turnaround times for mortgage approval in the market overall.”

MyMortgages.ie contend that only around two-thirds of the €1.45bn approved in May is likely to be drawn down, based on the current approval process and due to the lack of housing supply.

“The dearth of supply of housing in this country is likely to be with us for many years to come unfortunately. In the meantime, we have to look at other ways of alleviating the stresses of potential purchasers, and expediting the process, where possible, for those who are fortunate enough to be in a position to buy,” Mr Sheahan said. “If banks were to introduce a 12-month approval as standard, which some banks previously offered, it would have a significant impact on the marketplace. Some estate agents won’t allow borrowers to even view properties if they do not have a current approval, meaning that borrowers are forced to keep renewing their approval.

“As far as I can see, there’s really no impediment to banks offering a 12-month approval. There would be no risk to lenders because prior to issuing a loan offer, which is the formal contract between the lender and the borrower, the bank can always request an update from borrowers on any change of employment or other circumstances in the interim that would have a negative implication on their financial status. A mortgage approval is always subject to change prior to draw down.”

Source: https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/ask-the-expert-whats-the-best-way-to-reinvest-now-that-im-selling-my-buy-to-let-property-41840038.html

 


MyMortgages.ie is a Proud Partner of Avant Money

Posted on 09Feb

Avant Money (formerly known as Avantcard) launched today and confirmed its new mortgage products are now available to Irish customers, with fixed rate mortgages starting from 1.95%, by far the lowest rate in the market today.

The company has been providing credit cards and personal loans to Irish consumers for over twenty years. Avant Money is owned by Spanish banking group Bankinter, which also has operations in Portugal and Luxembourg.

We, at MyMortgages.ie, are proud to announce that we are one of Avant Money’s partners and we are here to guide and advise switchers, movers and first-time buyers on the range of these new products.

Joey Sheahan, Head of Credit, MyMortgages.ie and author of The Mortgage Coach says:

Avant Money’s entry into the Irish market is the best news for Irish mortgage holders. We have long seen European rates well below 2% compared to closer to 3% for Irish mortgage holders, and now, for the first time since before 2008, rates below 2% are available to homeowners in Ireland. It’s a once in a decade or maybe even 2 decade opportunity where a new lender enters the Irish market and reduces interest rates to this extent. We are delighted to be one of Avant Money’s partners and our advice to mortgage holders is now is the time to review their current mortgage, even if they have done so recently. A mortgage holder with €300,000 outstanding with 32 years remaining and Loan to Value of below 60% can save €158 monthly or €60,000 over the term of mortgage based on reducing interest rate from 2.95% to 1.95%”.

If you would like to talk to Joey about your particular situation complete the form below:

 


KBC Mortgage Holders Trigger Surge in Mortgage Switching Enquiries

Posted on 19Apr

On Friday 16th April, it was announced the KBC were looking to sell their Irish business to Bank of Ireland. The understandable uncertainty has led to many of their mortgage holders looking at moving their mortgage to another lender for a greater sense of security. We have received an influx of calls from mortgage holders with KBC, asking whether or not they should be looking to move their mortgage to a different bank and what their options are.

This process will take some time to complete and KBC continues to have a duty of care to current customers and obligations to fulfil in that regard, so mortgage holders should not be worried or anxious.

That said, it would be prudent to look at this time as a chance to review your current position mortgage-wise – primarily what rate you are paying, and how this compares to what is currently being offered in the market. Although KBC’s departure from the Irish market is not a positive development in the Irish banking sector – particularly, from both a competition and an employment perspective, the uncertainty surrounding KBC’s future could at least turn out to be a beneficial wake up call to mortgage holders who are paying rates in excess of what they could get elsewhere. 

The arrival of Avant Money to the market has seen many mortgage holders with mature mortgages, and/or a strong loan to value, switch to exceptional market-beating rates.

We are advising any KBC customer that is on a rate greater than 2.3% to review their options. But this doesn’t apply to KBC mortgage holders alone – anyone paying more than this, regardless of which lender they are with, should be talking to an expert to see if they can get a better deal either with their current lender or with a different provider. And don’t let whether you are on a fixed or variable rate stop you – you may well still have options to move.

If you would like to complete an initial assessment to see what potential savings you could make by switching, click here for the form and we will review and respond to you directly. 

Should I switch?

Just like you shop around for cheaper or better car insurance or electricity provider, it’s worth reviewing your mortgage every few years to see if you can make savings. 

What is Switching?

Switching is the term used to describe the process of changing mortgage provider. This is usually done to get a lower interest rate on your mortgage from a new lender with a view to saving money on interest. 

Some people go through the entire term of their mortgage without considering whether their lender is offering them the best rate. However, it is prudent to review the terms of your mortgage on a regular basis – perhaps as part of a wider financial ‘health-check’. You don’t need to switch every year, but it’s a financially savvy move to take the time to consider the current market, the value of your property, and the interest rates on offer from all lenders on an ongoing basis.

My Neighbour is Doing it – Can I?

The answer is, most likely, yes. I estimate that one in every three mortgage holders would save by switching. (I am not including European Central Bank related tracker interest rates in these figures as they currently offer low interest rates given that the ECB base rate is 0%, meaning a typical tracker mortgage interest rate is approximately 1% and such mortgages have not been available in Ireland since 2008.)  

If you have been on the same rate for more than three years, or you are coming to the end of a fixed rate period, then you should certainly review your options. 

Regardless of whether you are a variable or a fixed rate mortgage holder, you could potentially save tens of thousands of euros over the remaining term. 

The Myths and Misconceptions

–       ‘I can’t switch if I’m on a fixed rate.’ Not true. You can break a fixed rate contract. We see many banks currently do not have a breakage fee however you may be charged a breakage fee by your lender, but the savings you make upon switching, plus, potentially, any cashback offer from a new lender, could more than cover the charges. In addition, due to the current low cost of funds available for banks, many don’t impose a fee for exiting a fixed rate contract. You will need to call your bank to check this, however.

Looking at Mick and Fiona for example, they have a home loan with €300,000 outstanding. They are currently on a fixed rate of 3.6% for the next two years with 28 years left on their mortgage term. They contact their bank to check the early fixed rate breakage fee and are advised that the fee is €1,050. They contact a mortgage broker who advises them that if they switch lender, they can obtain a two-year fixed rate of 2.3%, which will reduce their monthly payment from €1,418 to €1,211 which is a saving of €207 monthly or €2,484 annually or €4,968 over the two-year period. So, in this example, even though Mick and Fiona are liable to pay a breakage fee of €1,050, it is worthwhile as they will save €4,968 over the next two years alone.  

Mary & John  
Before SwitchAfter Switch 
Fixed 2 Yr interest rate 3.6%Fixed 2 Yr interest rate 2.3% 
Monthly repayment €1,418Monthly repayment €1,211 
 Total savings over term €4,968* 
*savings excluding breakage fee   

–       ‘I need to have a LTV of less than 80% on my home.’ Again, not true. While some lenders will offer you a better rate according to the amount of equity you have built up, you can still switch if your LTV is between 80% to 90%.

–       ‘Switching is a long and difficult process.’ Not true. Switching can be straightforward with the help of an expert and some banks require less documentation for switchers than for a new application.

–       ‘I’ll just end up spending any savings made on the legal costs of conveyancing’. (Conveyance is the legal term for processing the paperwork involved in buying and selling a property and transferring the deeds of ownership). Not true. You will know in advance, once you or your broker runs the numbers whether the savings made will outweigh any ancillary costs that may be incurred. If you stay with the same lender but move to a different rate, then you may not incur any additional costs.

Cash Back on Switching

The impact can be significant. If we look at Rua and Kerry’s experience, they took a €400,000 mortgage over 35 years at a three-year fixed interest rate of 3.6%. The interest rate they selected at the time of draw down was reasonably competitive and they also received upfront cashback from their lender. However, their rate is now changing to a higher variable rate of 4.2%. Their payments will be going to €1,805 monthly. They have tried to negotiate a lower variable rate with their current lender without success so they decided to switch to a lower variable rate of 2.95% with another lender which will reduce their monthly payments to €1,534. This will save them €268 monthly or €3,212 annually or €102,912 over the remaining 32 years of their mortgage. In addition, they receive €2,000 from the new lender, which covers the legal fees involved in switching.    

Ruth & Ken  
Before SwitchAfter Switch 
Fixed 3 Yr interest rate 3.6%Variable interest rate 2.95% 
Monthly repayment €1,802Monthly repayment €1,534 
 Total savings over term €102,912 

What Will I Need?

If you decide to proceed with switching, you will need to go through the mortgage application process and submit your documentation. This varies from lender to lender. Typically, you will require the following documents:

–       Passport Identification.

–       One recent payslip, Employment Detail Summary and salary certificate.

–       Three/six months recent current account statements – depends on lender requirement.

–       3 Most recent credit card statements. 

–       Most recent mortgage statement.

–       Relevant application form and bank declaration.

Where Do I Start?

–       Contact your existing lender to confirm your rate of interest, balance outstanding and term remaining on the mortgage. 

–       If you are on a fixed rate, ask your lender what fee, if any, they charge for breaking the mortgage contract.

–       Ask your current lender to review your interest rate and enquire about variable and fixed-rate options for an existing customer.  

–       Contact a mortgage broker and ask them to compare your existing mortgage terms to what’s on the market. (Technically, you can do this research yourself, but it will mean numerous calls to multiple lenders so in reality it’s probably not the easiest route for you to take.) The more equity you have in your home, the better the new terms you’ll be offered, but you can switch even if your loan is 90% of your value.

–       Your broker can check what incentives other lenders are offering to switchers. The ‘incentive’ usually covers the legal costs, as well as any possible breakage fee, although this would need to be worked out on a case-by-case basis. 

–       Assess the best value option for you. A broker can run calculations on the interest rates you have been offered to see the potential savings you can make. This should not be a complex process. But there is market research to be done and there are lots of forms to be filled and boxes to be ticked. A broker will do all the legwork, calculations and communicate with lenders on your behalf and explain all of your options. 

–       You will need to decide whether to stick with your current lender or move to a different one. Moving to a different provider will mean going through the mortgage approval process again. Changing lenders can be relatively simple if you have expert help. 

–       Ultimately you need to ask yourself a question: why would I stick with a lender that is not giving me the best value?

Take your time, weigh up all your options and seek expert advice to help you decide if switching is the best course of action. 

How Much Can I Save?

Switching to a lower interest rate can save you a considerable amount of money in the long term depending on the rate and capital amount. 

Let me give you an example of savings on an interest rate reduction of 1.6%. By switching from a 4.2% rate to 2.6%, a mortgage holder with a loan of €350,000 over 30 years can save over €300 per month, €3,732 per year or €14,897 over 4 years. 

Before SwitchAfter Switch 
Variable interest rate 4.2%Variable interest rate 2.6% 
 Monthly repayment €1,712 Monthly repayment €1,401 
 Total savings over 4 years €14,897 

In summary, it costs mortgage holders absolutely nothing to explore what ‘switching’ their mortgage can yield them in interest savings. I have sought to challenge and address any lack of knowledge or awareness by outlining the process and the financial benefit to be gained from taking this step. 

People can often be put off by their first mortgage experience, which for many is stressful. However, the second time round should be a lot more straight-forward. Yes, of course there will be forms to fill, but the rewards for this bit of administration can be in the region of thousands and life changing as a result.


Ulster Bank Mortgage Holders Trigger Surge in Mortgage Switching Enquiries

Posted on 16Feb

On Friday 19th February, we received clarity on a firm decision that Ulster Bank will undertake a phased withdrawal from the Irish market. 

The understandable uncertainty has led to many of their mortgage holders looking at moving their mortgage to another lender for a greater sense of security. We have received an influx of calls from mortgage holders with Ulster Bank, asking whether or not they should be looking to move their mortgage to a different bank and what their options are.

This process will take a number of years to complete and Ulster Bank continues to have a duty of care to current customers and obligations to fulfil in that regard, so mortgage holders should not be worried or anxious.

That said, it would be prudent to look at this time as a chance to review your current position mortgage-wise – primarily what rate you are paying, and how this compares to what is currently being offered in the market. Although Ulster Bank’s departure from the Irish market is not a positive development in the Irish banking sector – particularly, from both a competition and an employment perspective, the uncertainty surrounding Ulster Bank’s future could at least turn out to be a beneficial wake up call to mortgage holders who are paying rates in excess of what they could get elsewhere. 

The arrival of Avant Money to the market, has seen many mortgage holders with mature mortgages, and/or a strong loan to value, switch to exceptional market-beating rates.

We are advising any Ulster Bank customer that is on a rate greater than 2.3% to review their options. But this doesn’t apply to Ulster Bank mortgage holders alone – anyone paying more than this, regardless of which lender they are with, should be talking to an expert to see if they can get a better deal either with their current lender or with a different provider. And don’t let whether you are on a fixed or variable rate stop you – you may well still have options to move.

If you would like to complete an initial assessment to see what potential savings you could make by switching, click here for the form and we will review and respond to you directly. 

Should I switch?

Just like you shop around for cheaper or better car insurance or electricity provider, it’s worth reviewing your mortgage every few years to see if you can make savings. 

What is Switching?

Switching is the term used to describe the process of changing mortgage provider. This is usually done to get a lower interest rate on your mortgage from a new lender with a view to saving money on interest. 

Some people go through the entire term of their mortgage without considering whether their lender is offering them the best rate. However, it is prudent to review the terms of your mortgage on a regular basis – perhaps as part of a wider financial ‘health-check’. You don’t need to switch every year, but it’s a financially savvy move to take the time to consider the current market, the value of your property, and the interest rates on offer from all lenders on an ongoing basis.

My Neighbour is Doing it – Can I?

The answer is, most likely, yes. I estimate that one in every three mortgage holders would save by switching. (I am not including European Central Bank related tracker interest rates in these figures as they currently offer low interest rates given that the ECB base rate is 0%, meaning a typical tracker mortgage interest rate is approximately 1% and such mortgages have not been available in Ireland since 2008.)  

If you have been on the same rate for more than three years, or you are coming to the end of a fixed rate period, then you should certainly review your options. 

Regardless of whether you are a variable or a fixed rate mortgage holder, you could potentially save tens of thousands of euros over the remaining term. 

The Myths and Misconceptions

–       ‘I can’t switch if I’m on a fixed rate.’ Not true. You can break a fixed rate contract. We see many banks currently do not have a breakage fee however you may be charged a breakage fee by your lender, but the savings you make upon switching, plus, potentially, any cashback offer from a new lender, could more than cover the charges. In addition, due to the current low cost of funds available for banks, many don’t impose a fee for exiting a fixed rate contract. You will need to call your bank to check this, however.

Looking at Mick and Fiona for example, they have a home loan with €300,000 outstanding. They are currently on a fixed rate of 3.6% for the next two years with 28 years left on their mortgage term. They contact their bank to check the early fixed rate breakage fee and are advised that the fee is €1,050. They contact a mortgage broker who advises them that if they switch lender, they can obtain a two-year fixed rate of 2.3%, which will reduce their monthly payment from €1,418 to €1,211 which is a saving of €207 monthly or €2,484 annually or €4,968 over the two-year period. So, in this example, even though Mick and Fiona are liable to pay a breakage fee of €1,050, it is worthwhile as they will save €4,968 over the next two years alone.  

Mick & Fiona  
Before SwitchAfter Switch 
Fixed 2 Yr interest rate 3.6%Fixed 2 Yr interest rate 2.3% 
Monthly repayment €1,418Monthly repayment €1,211 
 Total savings over term €4,968* 
*savings excluding breakage fee   

–       ‘I need to have a LTV of less than 80% on my home.’ Again, not true. While some lenders will offer you a better rate according to the amount of equity you have built up, you can still switch if your LTV is between 80% to 90%.

–       ‘Switching is a long and difficult process.’ Not true. Switching can be straightforward with the help of an expert and some banks require less documentation for switchers than for a new application.

–       ‘I’ll just end up spending any savings made on the legal costs of conveyancing’. (Conveyance is the legal term for processing the paperwork involved in buying and selling a property and transferring the deeds of ownership). Not true. You will know in advance, once you or your broker runs the numbers whether the savings made will outweigh any ancillary costs that may be incurred. If you stay with the same lender but move to a different rate, then you may not incur any additional costs.

Cash Back on Switching

The impact can be significant. If we look at Rua and Kerry’s experience, they took a €400,000 mortgage over 35 years at a three-year fixed interest rate of 3.6%. The interest rate they selected at the time of draw down was reasonably competitive and they also received upfront cashback from their lender. However, their rate is now changing to a higher variable rate of 4.2%. Their payments will be going to €1,805 monthly. They have tried to negotiate a lower variable rate with their current lender without success so they decided to switch to a lower variable rate of 2.95% with another lender which will reduce their monthly payments to €1,534. This will save them €268 monthly or €3,212 annually or €102,912 over the remaining 32 years of their mortgage. In addition, they receive €2,000 from the new lender, which covers the legal fees involved in switching.    

Rua & Kerry  
Before SwitchAfter Switch 
Fixed 3 Yr interest rate 3.6%Variable interest rate 2.95% 
Monthly repayment €1,802Monthly repayment €1,534 
 Total savings over term €102,912 

What Will I Need?

If you decide to proceed with switching, you will need to go through the mortgage application process and submit your documentation. This varies from lender to lender. Typically, you will require the following documents:

–       Passport Identification.

–       One recent payslip, Employment Detail Summary and salary certificate.

–       Three/six months recent current account statements – depends on lender requirement.

–       3 Most recent credit card statements. 

–       Most recent mortgage statement.

–       Relevant application form and bank declaration.

Where Do I Start?

–       Contact your existing lender to confirm your rate of interest, balance outstanding and term remaining on the mortgage. 

–       If you are on a fixed rate, ask your lender what fee, if any, they charge for breaking the mortgage contract.

–       Ask your current lender to review your interest rate and enquire about variable and fixed-rate options for an existing customer.  

–       Contact a mortgage broker and ask them to compare your existing mortgage terms to what’s on the market. (Technically, you can do this research yourself, but it will mean numerous calls to multiple lenders so in reality it’s probably not the easiest route for you to take.) The more equity you have in your home, the better the new terms you’ll be offered, but you can switch even if your loan is 90% of your value.

–       Your broker can check what incentives other lenders are offering to switchers. The ‘incentive’ usually covers the legal costs, as well as any possible breakage fee, although this would need to be worked out on a case-by-case basis. 

–       Assess the best value option for you. A broker can run calculations on the interest rates you have been offered to see the potential savings you can make. This should not be a complex process. But there is market research to be done and there are lots of forms to be filled and boxes to be ticked. A broker will do all the legwork, calculations and communicate with lenders on your behalf and explain all of your options. 

–       You will need to decide whether to stick with your current lender or move to a different one. Moving to a different provider will mean going through the mortgage approval process again. Changing lenders can be relatively simple if you have expert help. 

–       Ultimately you need to ask yourself a question: why would I stick with a lender that is not giving me the best value?

Take your time, weigh up all your options and seek expert advice to help you decide if switching is the best course of action. 

How Much Can I Save?

Switching to a lower interest rate can save you a considerable amount of money in the long term depending on the rate and capital amount. 

Let me give you an example of savings on an interest rate reduction of 1.6%. By switching from a 4.2% rate to 2.6%, a mortgage holder with a loan of €350,000 over 30 years can save over €300 per month, €3,732 per year or €14,897 over 4 years. 

Before SwitchAfter Switch 
Variable interest rate 4.2%Variable interest rate 2.6% 
 Monthly repayment €1,712 Monthly repayment €1,401 
 Total savings over 4 years €14,897 

In summary, it costs mortgage holders absolutely nothing to explore what ‘switching’ their mortgage can yield them in interest savings. I have sought to challenge and address any lack of knowledge or awareness by outlining the process and the financial benefit to be gained from taking this step. 

People can often be put off by their first mortgage experience, which for many is stressful. However, the second time round should be a lot more straight-forward. Yes, of course there will be forms to fill, but the rewards for this bit of administration can be in the region of thousands and life changing as a result.


Are you unable to Secure Mortgage Approval Due To Rising Prices in Dublin?

Posted on 27Jan

Are you unable to Secure Mortgage Approval Due To Rising Prices in Dublin?

A joint income of almost €100,000 is now needed just to buy the cheapest new apartment in the greater Dublin area.

MyMortgages has exemptions available on a case-by-case basis and are currently securing approval for many people in your situation.

If you would like to talk to Joey about your particular situation complete the form below:

What the media are saying….


Income of €100,000 needed for cheapest Dublin apartments

A joint income of almost €100,000 is now needed just to buy the cheapest new apartment in the greater Dublin area.

This is because it is not financially viable for developers to build apartments to sell to ordinary people.

They can only be built to sell if the apartments are constructed in more expensive areas where higher sales prices are achievable, a new report found.

Read more on this article in The Independent here.


The Times (Ireland) “Ireland’s serial switchers play the mortgage cashback game”

Posted on 08May

Eithne Dunne – Money

Read More





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