Tuesday 25 October 2016

If you want to switch your mortgage don't wait for others - do it yourself

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

Next week Finance Minister Michael Noonan is meeting the main mortgage lenders to discuss concerns over the rates being charged to variable rate mortgage-holders.

While the Irish Mortgage Holders' Association is now hoping to help 25,000 lenders switch banks, why not try yourself?

I've recently been through my second mortgage switch. My previous switch on a previous home was a lengthy process which ultimately was the right thing to do. We switched lenders to get onto a tracker mortgage.

Any switch is complicated. You're essentially applying for a whole new mortgage and going through all those financial hoops again. Pay slips, declarations, letters from employers, bills.

Ours was a complete pain. The institution was so busy back in 2006 with house prices rising and so many people had equity built up in their homes that they wanted to capitalise on it with lower tracker rates. The bank lost documents, forgot about us, didn't return calls.


The whole process was so frustrating that we almost didn't bother continuing with it. We almost stayed put. But we persevered and it was worth it. We got a reduced tracker which saved us money.

Before Christmas we started the whole process once again. We had a new home, with a new variable rate which we believed was too high (we lost our tracker when we sold our first home).

We contacted a number of banks with our figures, got a new, lower rate with a new lender and went back to our original lender. Of course, the bank agreed to drop the rate to keep our business but it wasn't as low as the rate with the new bank.

So here we are with the new bank on a lower rate. We didn't wait for politicians. We did it ourselves. It was not easy but like most things that are worth doing, it was worth it. My advice? Don't wait for others, start the process yourself.

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