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22 Sep 2017

Posted in:  First Time Buyer

There’s a famous line from an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros song that says: “Home is wherever I’m with you.” And sure, home may be a feeling – but it’s not quite the case in the dead of winter when you’re half frozen due to shoddy insulation.

Buying a house requires a bit of savvy, both with savings and the process, and completing certain tasks can definitely speed it all up.

Your future home is the place where you’ll make thousands of memories, but it also needs to be functional, so today we’re going to shed light on seven tasks that could save you heaps of time and effort during your mortgage process and house hunt.

1. Put together your ‘big book of mortgage-ing’ from the start

Collect all your useful documents right from the off. For most people, this will mean gathering together the documents for your mortgage application (we have a handy little checklist of what you will need here). For salaried employees, this includes proof of address and identity, your P60, recent payslips, a salary certificate, and bank account statements.

Self-employed people will need to gather account audits, tax certificates, bank statements, statements of any recent borrowing, and three years Revenue Notice of Assessment.

2. Don’t fall in love just yet – get Approval in Principle first

You absolutely can rush out right now and start looking at houses, but we advise holding your horses and getting Approval in Principle first. This way, if you find the house of your dreams you’ll know if you can afford it or not, and you’ll possibly save yourself heartache (and a mad scramble) down the line.

Likewise, before you start looking at houses, pop into your mortgage advisor for a chat so you know that everything adds up financially.

Which leads nicely on to point number three…

3. Check that your savings add up

Saving is a crucial part of your mortgage application, but it can be hard to know how much you should squirrel away. You’ll need to cover repayments and your deposit – but how much is that likely to be?

Mortgage calculators are handy tools and will give you a good estimate of your repayments, but they shouldn’t be taken as gospel truth. Interest rates may go up – and even then, your mortgage advisor will usually do a stress test to prove that you can afford a certain rate above the cost of the repayment.

And while you’ll be saving towards your deposit, you should also be saving with the intention of covering the mortgage repayments you’ll have – plus a little bit extra.

There are hidden extras to keep in mind too, like stamp duty (everyone’s favourite!), legal fees, surveyor’s fees, the Local Property Tax, insurance, and the valuer’s report.

4. Check your credit rating before you apply

Until you started on your mortgage journey, you probably didn’t think too much about your credit rating – however, it’s important for your application.

You can get your credit report from the ICB for €6 and that’ll tell you your score. If you do have bad loans which have affected your rating, you may need to wait out a five-year period before that loan is removed from the report. As painful as it may be to wait, it will make all the difference in the long run.

5. Do some CSI work on the house before viewing

It can be hard to tell if a house is good value, especially if you’ve fallen for its pretty façade. The Property Price Register gives a list of prices for houses sold all around Ireland since 2010, so you can check out the price of similar properties.

You should also see if you can find out how long it’s been on the market, or if it’s been up for sale before. Don’t be afraid to dig around the internet or make phone calls to the current estate agent.

6. Consider cost vs distance

Decide what's important distance-wise, then calculate the cost. If the house is too far from the city centre or your family, you may want to re-evaluate what locations you can afford.

You’ll also need to figure out how much travel you’re willing to put in. While houses in West Dublin or a commuter town might save you €10,000, is it worth it for the extra hour you’ll spend travelling twice a day? Some will say yes, but for others the commute just isn’t worth it, so take the time to figure out what’s important to you.

Tip: Don't figure this out on the drive out to the viewing. Save yourself hours of deliberation and cross this distance off your list at an early stage.

7. Set up Daft.ie notifications for viewings

The internet is the ultimate tool for digging for info, property included. Sites like Daft and MyHome.ie offer options to subscribe to notifications giving you a great way to log your interest early on and hopefully get ahead of the crowds.

Viewings are often jam-packed, so getting in early might make all the difference. You know what they say about early birds and worms!

Ready to apply for a mortgage of your own?

If you want to know more about the mortgage process, a 30 minute mortgage meeting with your EBS Mortgage Master will give you all the info you need.

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.

The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

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