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Best Mortgage Brokers, 5 Insider Tips – Ireland 2021

Working with the right mortgage brokers can make a huge difference, on an average sized mortgage the cost can vary by over €111,000 depending on the deal your broker recommends (Loan of €240,000, 90% LTV, over 35 Years). 

In this article we give you the rundown on what to look for to pick the best mortgage brokers. 

As someone who ran one of the biggest mortgage lenders in the country at PTSB, I was always surprised that only around half of applications were assisted by brokers. In the UK almost 80% of all mortgages applicants work with mortgage brokers.

Using mortgage brokers to help with your mortgage has many advantages, independent advice, wider choice of rate and having an expert with you every step of the way.

A mortgage broker though can come in many shapes and sizes. Some are tied to just a few lenders, some charge for advice, some don’t stay with you on the home buying journey. 

The mortgage brokers you choose can make a real difference to your finances, your home buying journey and your stress levels. That’s why we have covered the ins and outs of choosing the best mortgage brokers for you below, helping you make the right decision.

  1. Overview, mortgage brokers
  2. Service key features, mortgage brokers
  3. Alternatives, mortgage brokers
  4. In a nutshell, mortgage brokers

We recommend moneysherpa’s own in-house mortgage broker team, the mortgage sherpas, as the best way to get a mortgage. They are free, independent, comprehensive, with a best rate lifetime guarantee and the best online enabled service.

You can get more information about broker options locally here.

Read on to get the lowdown as to what separates a great mortgage broker, from a good one.

mortgage brokers

Overview, mortgage brokers

Working with the right broker can make a huge difference, according to the property price register the average house in Ireland is going for €272,000 (data as of March 2021 [1]), a typical 90% mortgage is therefore over €240,000. 

The average cost of a mortgage in Ireland over a term of 35 years can be anywhere between €371,800 with Avant Money upto €483,304 with Bank of Ireland, a difference of over €111,000

There are 5 key things to look out for when picking mortgage brokers, they are

  1. Are they free to use? Mortgage Brokers get paid by the lender on completion of the mortgage, so shouldn’t need to charge you additional fees.
  2. Do they use the best online tools to take the pain out of the paperwork? Do they offer online upload and e signature.
  3. Are they comprehensive? Do they work with all the main banks and four broker exclusive lenders including Avant Money and ICS who currently have the best rates on the market.
  4. Do they offer support after your mortgage is completed? Rates are always changing does the broker monitor the market for better rates you can switch to.
  5. Do they offer the best service? Do they have a dedicated QFA mobile number, direct video diary access, ongoing support ?  

Not all brokers are experienced, independent or have a comprehensive range of lenders, but there are plenty of brokers that are up to snuff. 

Key service features, mortgage brokers

1. Free to Use, mortgage brokers

There is no difference in rate between going directly to your bank or via a broker. This is because brokers are paid by the lenders out of the fees that the lenders would otherwise splurge on marketing. 

This means that going with a broker who doesn’t charge any application fees is 100% free to you. Sounds almost too good to be true, but that’s just the way the broker model works in Ireland. 

Although all mortgage brokers receive a commission from the lenders, most of the larger brokers also charge the client directly, with typical fees ranging from €100-€500. 

This is to help cover the cost of processing the mortgage with the lenders, which can be costly and time consuming for the broker. WIth paper shuttling back and forth between the broker and the bank.

In contrast the some newer brokers have invested in advanced technology platforms to lower the cost of processing the mortgage, so they don’t have to pass on this cost to customers. They are therefore paid fully out of the 1% commission received from the lender.

2. Online Tools, mortgage brokers

Getting a mortgage still requires a lot of paperwork.

In order to protect you in making such a financial commitment there are multiple documents required to be read and signed.

In order to protect the financial system there are ID documents, bank statements etc.. also required.

The right technology can take a lot of the pain out of this paperwork. Look for mortgage brokers with an online upload capability so you can organise your documents easily. A good one will also give you a dashboard so you always know where you are on the journey to getting the mortgage.

Another big help is if you can find a broker who uses e signature. This saves all the bother of printing and scanning or even worse posting documents. Many brokers are now able to complete the whole mortgage journey online.

3. Comprehensive, mortgage brokers

There are four banks and three broker exclusive lenders that offer mortgages currently in Ireland. Most brokers offer three or four lenders on their panel.

Many of the smaller brokers are tied to just one lender and are not able to advise on alternatives. This can make a big difference as not only do lenders have different rates, but also very different lending policies.

ICS for example let public sector workers borrow more than those employed in other sectors, whilst some lenders are more flexible than others in extending credit to some applicants or don’t offer loans for self build etc..

By having an independent broker in your camp they can not only find you the best rate, but also make an experienced assessment of which lender is most likely to approve your application. 

For an average mortgage, Bank of Ireland’s lowest mortgage rate of 3.7% APRC costs €57,000 more than Avant Money’s equivalent rate. There are in fact over 20 deals from the other lenders that are better value.

4. Post Mortgage Support , mortgage brokers

Mortgage rates are changing all the time, what may be a great rate one year might not be the year after. Staying on the best rate throughout your mortgage term can save you thousands. So once you have your mortgage how do you make sure you are still on the best rate?

Make sure the broker you choose monitors the market for you after they get your mortgage. A good broker will get in touch with you automatically if there is a deal that would save you money and switch you to that deal. This guarantees you stay on the best rate all the time.

By choosing the right broker you effectively get “mortgage rate insurance”, a guarantee that as rates change in the market you will know what they mean for you and have help to switch if the new deal saves you money.

5. Best service, mortgage brokers

Using a broker beats going direct to a bank hands down, you gain from years of experience working with different lenders and they can scan the whole market on your behalf. 

Make sure though that your mortgage brokers are all Qualified Financial Advisors (QFA), authorised by the Central Bank, with at least a few years of experience. 

You should also get a dedicated mobile number to contact, plus the option to contact via video calls with flexible hours.

This makes everything more reliable, faster and easier than the approaches used by other brokers and banks.   

Alternatives, mortgage brokers

Go direct to the banks

Obviously you can always go to a bank directly for a mortgage, the biggest advantage of this option is they may already have access to your transaction history so you don’t have to dig out your bank statements. 

With open banking even this advantage has recently disappeared, based on new legislation to help make banking more competitive, moneysherpa and some of the other larger brokers can now access your bank transactions on your behalf if you choose.

The downside of going with your bank is you are practically guaranteed that you will pay thousands more than you need to for a worse level of service than via a broker.

Go to your local mortgage brokers

If you want the help of a broker, but want to sit down face to face rather than over a video call then going through a local mortgage broker is an option. 

As local brokers tend to be smaller though they usually don’t have as many lenders to choose from or as much pull with the lenders. Unless they charge additional fees or are missing the leading lenders from their portfolio, they will usually have access to the same rates as the bigger brokers. 

Obviously though they won’t have the same rate guarantees or technology tools as the new wave of brokers like moneysherpa.

Go to another online broker

There are a number of nationwide brokers in the market who could also be an option. These usually have the advantage of being independent and having a good selection of lenders available. Some also have online tools to help ease the process.

The big drawbacks are they aren’t usually free to use, charging between €100 and €500 a pop and they don’t offer the lifetime best rate guarantee available with moneysherpa.

Daire McConnon (QFA), mortgage sherpa team lead

In a nutshell, mortgage brokers

Using a mortgage broker has many advantages, independent advice, wider choice of rate and having an expert with you every step of the way.

Working with the right broker can make a huge difference, with the cost of the mortgage over 35 years varying by over €111,000 depending on the deal your broker recommends. 

moneysherpa’s in house mortgage broker service, the mortgage sherpas, is the best way to get a mortgage. Free, Independent, Comprehensive, with a lifetime best rate guarantee and best online enabled service. 

The two things that make the mortgage sherpa offering really stand out from the crowd however are:-

  • The lifetime best rate guarantee. You will always get the same deal as if you went direct and your mortgage deal is constantly monitored to switch you to the best possible rate for the lifetime of your mortgage.
  • The easy to use digitally enabled service. The sherpa fills in the paperwork for you on a videocall and you simply digitally upload all your documents and signatures. Making the process a whole lot easier and faster.

You can book a free, no obligation video chat with the mortgage sherpa team here.

Start your application online with moneysherpa here

Read more about the mortgage sherpa team here.

You can get more information about broker options locally here.

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