First Time Buyer Mortgage and Property Tips

Getting on the property ladder for the first time, no matter your age, is one of the most intimidating yet exciting experiences you will ever encounter. Buying a property in this economic climate is probably the hardest it has ever been in recent history, but it can still be done very effectively with the right know-how. Securing a mortgage is tough enough, but once that is done there’s then the matter of making the property liveable, and, you know, actually finding the right property and area to live in.

If you’re looking to become a first-time buyer but aren’t quite sure where to begin, here are a few first-time buyer mortgage and property tips to make the experience that little bit easier.

Consider the area

While finding your dream home is all well and good, for a lot of people it is the area that’s more important than the actual property itself. Before you begin looking for a house you should ideally look at areas you like. Find an area and try to discover as much about it as you can. Look at travel links, amenities, schools, medical care, and average property prices. You also want to find out whether it is a decent area to live. If it’s really cheap, find out why that is. It may be that the area looks nice on paper but has a lot of crime and anti-social behaviour. Needless to say, if that is the case, we’d advise you to keep looking.

Know your budget

Another important thing to consider is what you can afford. We aren’t just talking about the price of the property, we’re also talking about living costs, mortgage repayments, and so on. Work out how much you earn, how much you will need to spend on absolutely everything, and whether or not you can comfortably afford it. Don’t forget to factor in unexpected costs such as home repairs, new vehicles, vehicle repairs, time off from work, and so on. If things are looking tight, either consider somewhere cheaper or look at viable ways of bringing more money in each month, or of cutting back.

Secure yourself a mortgage agreement in principle

After you’ve been offered a loan, the next thing you need to do is secure yourself a mortgage agreement in principle. This is a free document that helps prove to potential lenders that you are a worthy candidate.

After buying, do as much of the work yourself as you can

Once you’ve finally purchased your new property, have got the keys, and are finally able to get inside, it’s worthwhile doing much of the work yourself. Unless you have plenty of disposable income, you’ll probably be looking to keep costs down which is why it pays to do the work yourself. It will almost certainly need decorating, but rather than paying professional decorators, why not buy the paint and decorate yourself. If you are pretty handy, do as much of the work yourself as you can. If you want a new bathroom, if you are able, remove the old one yourself before hiring a builder as you will have saved them a job, so you’ll receive a cheaper quote. The more you can do, legally and safely, the better.

3 Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

For any homeowners out there, one of the biggest goals in life is to be mortgage-free. Once you have paid off your mortgage that’s it, you legally own the house, you no longer have to pay back the mortgage lenders, and you therefore will save a good few hundred Euros every single month. Not only that, but it’s also a great thing to brag to your mates about down at the pub. For some people, paying off the mortgage however, is a mere pipedream. For others, it is a very real possibility. To help show you how real it really is, here’s a look at 3 ways for you to pay off your mortgage faster.

Pay more each month

Let’s face it, with many properties costing more than one-hundred grand on the lower end of the scale, there are few people out there who could realistically afford to buy the house outright, there and then. Instead, they take out a mortgage loan and pay monthly instalments over the course of several decades, until the mortgage has been paid off, including interest. If however, you pay more than the minimum payments required each month, even by just 5o Euros, you’ll find that you have paid off the mortgage much quicker than you could have imagined. Many mortgage deals will allow you to pay extra each month, but if not, you can simply open a savings account, pay into that each month, and use that at the end of your fixed rate.

Cut back on unnecessary luxuries

Another useful tip for when it comes to paying off your mortgage early is to simply cut back on unnecessary luxuries, and instead set the money aside and use it to pay off the mortgage. If for example, you normally treat yourself to a coffee at a coffee shop on your way to work each morning, why not simply have a coffee at home before leaving? A regular coffee once per day may not cost much, but over the course of five days, the weekly cost adds up. Apply this same principle to a month, and even a year, and you could potentially have saved yourself a grand or more, which could be used to pay off the mortgage faster.

Find a better deal

When it comes to mortgages, many lenders out there are very competitive. This means that there are some great deals to be had. How the lenders make their money is by charging interest. The more interest they charge, the more you pay, and vice versa. If your current mortgage deal is at, say 3% interest, why not shop around and consider switching to a lender that charges 2% interest instead. Interest rates change constantly, and if you can find a long-term deal with a mortgage provider offering you a lower interest rate than what you are currently paying you’d be foolish not to go with them.

4 Mistakes for First-Time Buyers to Avoid

When the time comes for you to fly the nest, as exciting as the prospect of buying your very first home can be, there’s also a lot for you to get your head around. First-time buyers in the UK find it much, much harder to buy a property than people born one generation prior. As tough as it is, it’s not all doom and gloom, as you can still purchase your first home relatively easily, if you know what you’re doing. To ensure you don’t fall into the same traps that other first-time buyers tend to fall into, here’s a look at a few common mistakes for first-time buyers to avoid.

Not shopping around for a mortgage

When you commit to making a hefty purchase, it doesn’t matter what it is, ideally you will need to shop around to ensure that you get the best deal possible. Well, the same goes for a mortgage. Not all lenders charge the same fees and have the same rates etc, and if you shop around and compare prices, you will certainly be able to get the best deal possible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a one bed studio apartment, or a 3-bedroomed detached property, if you compare mortgage deals, you can save yourself heaps of money.

Blowing everything on the deposit

One of the main reasons why first-time buyers tend to struggle to purchase a house nowadays, is because the properties require so much up front for a deposit. Although you can go lower than 10%, the general consensus is that a minimum of 10% is what is required when buying a new property. Once you have saved up the deposit, experts recommend that you wait even longer, and continue to save. If you blow all of your savings on the deposit, what happens if something goes wrong, or if you need a new bathroom, kitchen, or boiler? No matter how much you have saved, make sure you put a few thousand to the side, just to tide you over until you’re in and settled.

Forgetting about extra expenses

The reason why we told you not to spend all of your savings on the deposit for your new home is because of the fact that you will also now have to pay extra expenses. Yes, your mortgage payments will probably be the highest, but you’ve also got gas, water, electric, council tax, home insurance, and food, drink, and anything else you may spend your money on. With a little planning and organization, you can easily figure out how much you will need to spend each month to live, but just remember that costs can quickly add up, even for something as basic as an online streaming service to watch movies on.

Not seeing the big picture

If realistically, you know that you are going to want to live in your new home for at least 10 years, don’t just settle on a two-bed property if you are planning on starting a family. If you can realistically see yourself starting a family and needing more than two bedrooms, it may be best to hold off on buying the property you’re eying up, and looking at the big picture instead.

4 Surprising Facts About Mortgages

As you are probably aware, getting on the property ladder is one of the most rewarding feelings you will ever experience, and while testing, it is certainly more than manageable if you take the time to familiarize yourself with the process. Now, the mortgage industry and the property market has changed dramatically over the last few decades.

It is tougher for the younger generation to get on the property ladder, there’s no denying that, but there are plenty of options now available. Today however, we’re going to focus on mortgages, but not in the way that you may have thought. Here we’ll be taking a look at a few surprising facts about mortgages.

The word ‘Mortgage’ has dark undertones

Did you know, that the word ‘mortgage’ is actually pretty-macabre? The reason for this is that it is literally related to death. The word has French origins and is derived from the French words ‘mort gaige’ which literally means ‘dead pledge’. The reasoning for this is that, if you fail to pay your mortgage, or if you pay it off, your mortgage dies. How’s that for a nice and cheery way to start your day?

Having no credit score hurts your chances of getting a mortgage

In order to be considered for a mortgage, the lenders first need to have a rough idea of how careful you are with your money, and how well you can manage your finances. This is why they check your credit score. If you have a good credit score, this proves that you can pay your debts on time, and that you can manage your money. A low credit score tells the exact opposite. But did you know that having no credit score is just as bad, if not worse, than a low credit rating? It doesn’t matter how good you are with your money, if the lenders don’t know anything about you, how can they be expected to lend you a sizeable amount of money? The answer is that they can’t.

Red doors aren’t just pretty to look at

In a world where white UPVC doors reign supreme, it’s nice to see a little colour on people’s front doors now and then. If you ever see a red door however, the owner may not simply enjoy the colour. You see, in Scotland, and in many other parts of the UK too, homeowners paint their doors red when they have paid off the mortgage to their home. When buying your first home, rather than champagne, why not celebrate paying off the mortgage by painting your front door red instead?

A lot of people don’t understand mortgages

You’d think that once you bag your first job and legally become classed as an ‘adult’ you would immediately understand how mortgages work, as if by magic, it seems. The reality is that a large percentage of the population do not understand how mortgages work.

The Extra Costs to Consider Before Buying a First Home

It’s not easy to save up and buy your very first home. There are a number of other costs on top of the deposit that should be considered. We’ll go into detail on these extra costs to help you save up the real amount you need.

As a first-time buyer, you likely know you have to put together a deposit worth at least 10% of the purchase price for your desired house. If you were to buy a house at €300,000 for example, you would need at least €30,000 in savings.

There are also some other costs that need to be considered before banks will be willing to approve a mortgage application.

  1. Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is likely the highest additional cost you will face. We’ll look at the different stamp duty rates and how those rates apply to first-and-second time buyers.

 

Property Type Value Stamp Duty Rate
Residential First €1 million 1%
Residential Every extra €1 million 2%

 

This means a house with a value of €300,000 comes with stamp duty worth €3,000.

Things are somewhat different when purchasing brand new homes though. The stamp duty will still be the same, but the rate will be applied to the value of the property minus VAT. The VAT for new houses in Ireland stands at 13.5%. That means that you would only be paying €2,595 in stamp duty for a brand new property worth €300,000 – which is 1% of €300,000 minus 13.5%.

A bank will require, at the very least, that you have enough money put together for both your deposit and the stamp duty on a property before approving you for a mortgage.

 

  1. Solicitor’s Fees

It is up to solicitors to handle conveyance, meaning that they undertake all legal tasks necessary to make you the legal owner of a property.

A solicitor may charge a flat fee for this, or they may charge a fixed percentage of the property value, commonly 1 or 2%.

Shopping around can help, but you should expect to be paying anywhere between €1,500 and €3,000 (as well as VAT). When you get a solicitor’s fee quote, be sure to ask if the price being quoted includes VAT or not.

 

  1. Valuer’s Report

Your lender wants to be sure that you’ll pay a fair price for the property, so they are also going to request a valuer’s report. The valuer is there to estimate the market value of the property to ensure that you aren’t overpaying for the property.

 

Lenders will often have their own valuers they will use for this, but you will still be required to pay for their report out of your own pocket. This can cost around €150 plus VAT.

 

  1. Surveyor’s Report

Before purchasing a property, it’s worth having a professional surveyor put together a report. That report identifies potential structural problems or defects with the property including damp, dry rot, condensation, and pyrite.

Your lender may or may not require you to have a surveyor’s report, and a bad report doesn’t mean that you won’t get approved for the mortgage. It means you know just what you are buying before going ahead with the greatest financial decision you will ever make.

Put aside an extra €300 plus VAT for that report.

 

  1. Insurance and Property Tax

There are some other costs associated with owning your own home that you might not be used to having to pay if you’re renting your home or living with your parents. This includes home insurance, mortgage protection, and property taxes. These need to be considered.

Many lenders ask you to claim mortgage protection. It is basically a life insurance policy that pays off the reminder of the mortgage balance should you die. The cost of this mortgage protection depends on factors like your health levels, age, and the mortgage value. You can expect to be paying around €20-€30 each month for the duration of the mortgage.

On a similar note, lenders require you to have home insurance to keep the property and the contents of it safe from fires, storm damage, and other problems. A home insurance policy costs around €300 per year.

Many banks will offer their own home insurance and mortgage protection deals, but keep in mind that there’s no obligation to take these offers. You can – and should – shop around for a good deal.

The last thing to consider is property tax. Property tax is a self-assessed tax paid to Revenue, based on the market value of the property. Houses with a value of €300,000 will cost around €500 per year in property taxes.

 

Shop Around Before Making Decisions

If you’re still starting out with buying a home, or are considering switching mortgage lenders, don’t forget that you can use a mortgage calculator to estimate mortgage repayments.