27 Jun 2017
Buying a new home can be an emotional rollercoaster. We should know – our EBS Mortgage Masters have been helping Irish communities all over Ireland find homes since 1935. That’s thousands of mortgages (phew!). And we have gotten to know Irish buyers over those eight decades. EBS Mortgage Masters have answered hundreds of first time buyer questions, we’ve seen lots of pennies saved (and cents). We’ve been there for the moments of relief, the craic, even some cases of the ‘mortgage fear’. We’ve learned that no two cases are unique. But best of all, we’ve been there at the end of the journey, when our buyers finally get that set of shiny new keys. We know it can take some buyers longer than others to get mortgage approved, and that’s okay. A great thing about having 75 years of mortgages under our belt, is that we can pass on these real home buying insights and mortgage moments to those who are just starting off.
We’ve outlined some of these real home buyer experiences below, from Irish buyers who have been there, done that, and worn the t-shirt! (So you might just pick up some great insights).
This is a small, but significant moment of realisation for first time buyers. Some have simply had enough of flatmates who never replace the toilet roll (or conveniently leave town when it is their turn to clean the kitchen). Some just can’t share another Saturday night with their partner’s parents, cat, and granny.
Regardless of the moment of truth, it’s a moment buyers usually remember as the start of their mortgage journey.
Stephanie, who has recently secured her first mortgage, says that she had been thinking about getting her own place for years but decided to make the plunge this year.
“I was renting for nearly ten years and kicking myself that I didn’t buy this place, or that place a few years ago. I do remember when I finally decided to buy. I was having a coffee with a friend, who had just told me how much she was paying per month for her mortgage. When I realised I was paying more rent than my friends who owned houses, I thought ‘No way, Jose.’ Once I decided, that was that.”
And then, after the initial excitement of deciding you are totally ready for the commitment, comes the inevitable feeling of ‘Mortgage fear’ and knee-trembling doubt.
Paul McNulty went sale agreed on his house one month previous, and he remembers feeling this initial, niggling doubt. “Debt can seem daunting at first. But then you look at what you’d be paying in rent over the next 30 years instead with nothing to show for it. Right now, my new mortgage is cheaper than the rent I was paying with my partner and thankfully, we can afford it. We’re in a far better place now than when we were renting.”
The first hurdle for many buyers is getting over the financial lingo – interest rates and Central Bank rules make for a lot of acronyms.
The logical step, of course, is to Google every home website and mortgage provider out there.
Stephanie says that when she started her research, she experienced a mountain of mortgage info.
“Once you have decided to take the mortgage plunge, you start the journey by typing ‘applying for mortgage’. Soon, your search window tabs will be filled with “surveyor’s fees,” “equity,” and “borrowing capacity.”
Paul explains that while the jargon was intimidating, you do get used to it after a while.
“You look online and there are so many deals and comparison sites… and every one you go on shows a different result. And it depends on the rate and the mortgage term, so it’s hard to know whether you’re really getting a good deal.
But what many buyers avoid, is asking a local mortgage advisor. It’s completely free, and they’re happy to just chat you through the basics before you apply. After one conversation, you’ll get the hang of it, and then all you can talk about are APRs and term limits. My mates started calling me the mortgage bore!”
Brendan McGinley, who recently bought a home in Baldoyle, admitted that his mortgage advisor helped calm his nerves a bit. “It was all a bit confusing at the start. There was a lot of jargon but the mortgage advisor just put things in plain English that we could both understand, so that was a relief.”
You know you are knee-deep in homeowner reverie when you set up Daft.ie as your laptop homepage.
You delve deeper in and start investigating up-and-coming areas, wondering whether you have the skills (and patience) to take on a fixer-upper. You stop binging on your usual Netflix shows and watch nothing but back-to-back episodes of property developing shows. You worry you’re turning into your parents.
Brendan says, “We were surprised at the tips we got from property shows. Grand Designs, Room to Improve and even stuff like Homes Under the Hammer. You’d be surprised what you can learn from watching other buyers.”
This is where reality really hits home: you need to save and you need to save hard. No prisoners.
Not only because you will need a deposit, but because you need to prove your future ‘repayment capacity’ to your bank.
So long, date nights. See you later, Deliveroo.
Brendan urges new buyers to keep the goal in their mind.
“It is tough for a good few months. It’s not so much that you can’t spend any money, but you just have to plan. You can definitely have the odd night out here or there but you just have to make sure you have money set aside for it.”
This is such a big moment. Now it is all starting to feel very real – you are doing it! You are getting a mortgage (well, provisionally).
Stephanie remembers the day arriving and being unnecessarily worried about small details. “How does one assemble an outfit that somehow screams ‘smartly dressed adult who is in no way frivolous when it comes to shopping’?”
Another new buyer we spoke to, Caragh, says her process was slowed down because someone in her work’s accounts department ticked the wrong box.
“The fiddly bits are when your lender rings you to tell you ‘we need a copy of your ID now’ and for me, it was: ‘there's something wrong with the payroll form’. My work had put it down that I was temporary but I wasn’t so I needed to get that changed. It’s best to get all the forms sorted earlier in the process so it doesn’t slow you down if something goes wrong.”
This is when you get emotionally invested in the whole thing – you’re going to view actual, real houses (or apartments).
Everyone who has house-shopped has been here; the more houses and show homes you visit, the more you realise that dreams can be one thing, but reality often another.
Caragh said that herself and her partner had a list of must-haves and that narrowed down their choices in Dublin.
“You talk about [the] things that you cannot accept or cannot go without. So, for me it was I really wanted to be within cycling distance of town because I don’t drive, and for Sean, he needed a garden.”
House hunting and mortgage shopping can reveal some subtle differences in couples. Caragh remembers house hunting together. He looked at the practicalities of the experience, whilst she immediately saw ideal visions of living there, cycling to get breakfast in the mornings.
Finally, the day is here: The letter (or call) comes through: You have been approved for a mortgage – you now have the official green light to go look at houses – and actually make an offer.
The excitement (and adrenalin) is at an all-time high – you are on a mission now.
And if you have never experienced knee-trembling anticipation (and full-on fear) before, prepare for it when you actually do make an offer for your dream home. Your heart skips a beat every time the phone rings, you develop a fear of running out of battery or entering areas with bad phone reception just in case that is the moment the estate agent decides to call.
Stephanie says that it was the best moment of the process. “In our case we went into the bank anyway to check a few bits and our mortgage advisor told us that we had got approval. We just looked at each other and smiled. It was finally done and dusted. We didn’t even say anything but it was a lovely moment.”
Brendan says that there is a huge satisfaction with getting the keys. “You look around and there isn’t that sense of dread that there is with renting. With renting you never know if your rent is going to go up or if the landlord is going to call around or even ask you to move out. But now, finally, this is something we can call our own.”
There is no feeling in the world (well, almost) like finally having made it through every hurdle, done all the work, and arrived at the other end. Today is the day – you are getting the keys to your very own home.
Prepare to feel a little overwhelmed, a little emotional, a little freaked out but mostly, just really, really excited.
If you’re thinking of buying your own home, it’s a good idea to book a relaxed chat with an EBS Mortgage Master before you get started.
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