22 May 2017
New year, new you. Maybe even a new house?
The new year is the time for taking chances and getting your ducks in a row. You’ve already done the hardest part by scrimping and saving to get your deposit on track.
You’re ready. The exit from rental purgatory beckons.
Unfortunately, you’re still going to have to trudge through open houses and deal with estate agents.
You may even have to battle other buyers for the home of your dreams.
But there are a few handy tips to make sure you come out on top!
Get approval in principle
Once you’ve had a meeting with one of our mortgage advisors, you have the possibility of going for approval in principle. This means that we tell you how much of a mortgage you’d be able to get based on your savings, income and payment history.
It’s an indication from your lender as to how much money you can borrow before you start hitting the estate agents.
It’s worth keeping in mind that this agreement only lasts 6 months – so check in regularly with your mortgage advisor if the process takes longer than you think. Your situation may have changed and if you are still saving, you might even be able to afford a larger mortgage.
Plan your viewings
Once you’ve got approval in principle, your natural instinct is to go charging out and organising as many viewings as you can. But here’s the kicker: viewings are hard work as they take at least half an hour.
To optimise your time, go full army general and get out a map to plan everything with military precision. At the very least, start a calendar for viewings and keep a list of key features.
If you’re smart about the location, you can even plan your viewings in clusters. Make sure you have the details of the person showing the property – there is nothing worse than standing around outside a stranger’s house not knowing what to do.
It’d do no harm to jot down their name and address so you can match them up when the time comes. It may not be a big deal, but you’d never know how a seller might react if you call them the wrong name all evening!
Before snapping up a property, you should view it at different times. A peaceful community in the morning could turn wild at night, or traffic could be a nightmare during rush hour. You’re going to be living there for a long time – so it’s better to go out of your way to find out now to save regretting it later.
You need to leave your traditional Irish manners at the door when you go viewing houses. Remind yourself that you’re not visiting one of your friends – this is the biggest financial transaction you are ever likely to make so you need to be sure.
Ask lots of questions. Why are they selling up? How long have they been on the market? And if you see a creaky floorboard or a stain on a wall, point it out – though keep it polite; you don’t want to seem disinterested either.
Check to see you understand how the heating and boiler works, and if possible ask for a demonstration. Ask if there is a management fee or any other hidden costs you should know about.
Many of these things are small, but it’s these little problems that could trip you up later – so don’t be shy!
Consider the extras
As an expert in the home-buying arena, you know that the price of the house isn’t the only cost you’ll face. There are solicitor’s fees, stamp duty, moving costs and a whole host of others. (Sure it’s great craic…)
Now might be a good time to sort out life assurance, which is compulsory when getting a mortgage.
Getting it now could prevent delays in the process.
Make the first move
If you are ready to make all your hard work pay off, call in for a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with our team of experts. We’ll help you get everything in order before the big move.
There are more tips in our First Time Buyer guide.
Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for the latest home inspiration, news and great competitions.
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Life Cover, Specified Illness Cover and Income Protection are provided by Irish Life Assurance plc.
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