Frequently Asked Questions

curran mortgages

 

Why choose us?

It’s about more than just ‘getting a mortgage’ when you deal with us. What will make you happy is dealing with a company that puts your needs first. We don’t have exclusive access to banks, no broker does, so the biggest factor in choosing us over a large institution is our team.
We are confident that you will appreciate the extra mile that every person in Curran Mortgages is willing to go for a client. If your mortgage application isn’t going totally to plan, or unexpected delays have occurred, you can rest assured we’ll be doing our utmost to get everything sorted out and resolved to your satisfaction. Our name is on our door, and we know the impact of the customer experience, both good and bad. Our business tends to come from referrals, and this requires satisfaction at all times.

How do I know I am getting the best advice?

Firstly, we are regulated by the Financial Regulator and they apply stringent tests to ensure that only professional advisors are in the marketplace. Secondly, every member of our team offering advice has either their Mortgage Diploma, Financial Services Diploma, or QFA (Qualified Financial Advisor). These are recognized professional qualifications relevant to the finance field.

Do you charge broker fees?

In all cases we do, because first and foremost we are working for you. Most of the problems in the financial services industry, mortgages included, stem from a system where brokers are incentivised financially to ‘sell’ rather than offer true advice. We know this to be the case, and in our Financial Services business we have stood out by being one of the few truly fee based companies.
In simple terms, we charge an hourly rate. This means that the level of work involved to get a mortgage over the line will determine how much it costs. This means that some clients, who are happy to pay, will hand over much of the work to us – notably in the gathering phase. Others keep their costs down by doing a lot of the work themselves. It’s always up to the client.
We charge a flat fee of €250 upfront (i.e. at the point of signing the Letter of Engagement), which is usually sufficient to get to Mortgage Approval phase, after which the hourly figure will apply.
However, it is important to note that Banks still continue to pay brokers for business placed with them. This is usually a fixed percentage (0.5% of the loan would be standard for some) but can vary based on time of year or institution. At the end of the process, when presenting our invoice, we will show you any payments made by the bank and offset this against time based fees. If there is a shortfall, we will ask you to pay the difference, and if the banks payment is higher than the fees owed, we will rebate you the difference.
In most cases, the fees paid to us by the banks are sufficient for our service and no other money is required.

Why don’t people just find the best deal from a broker and go directly to the bank ?

You could do that, but it’s kind of pointless, because the bank won’t give you a better mortgage price than we can get you. As well, you have to do all the chasing and liasing on the loan and that will involve calling a banks call centre many, many times. We have dedicated teams in banks that deal only with brokers and we can get your loan sorted out much quicker.
Also, our goal is that our relationship with you will span the amount of time you have a mortgage (and beyond!) and that is likely to be a long time. If you ever switch your mortgage to get a better rate or want to buy another property we’ll still get you the best deal, whereas going directly with a bank means you only get offered the products that particular bank have at that time.
Finally, banks are not legally required to give you independent advice, but Curran Mortgages is. The value of that is only realised by many when things go wrong with the bank.

What are the pros of working with a mortgage broker rather than directly with a bank?

Pros of working with a mortgage broker:
We do all the legwork for you, working on your behalf with the lender
We compare wholesale mortgage rates from a large number of banks and lenders all at once
Wholesale interest rates can be lower than retail (bank branch) interest rates
You get more loan options because we work with numerous banks and lenders
We can finance tricky deals because of our knowledge and various lending partners
We are easier to get in contact with and much less bureaucratic. And it’s the same person you’ll be dealing with throughout the process!
(We highlighted the last point because, though it seems least relevant, is the reason most of our existing clients say they were happy to work with us)

What are the different types of mortgages and which is right for me?

Fixed Rate Mortgage
The concept of a fixed rate mortgage is simple. No matter what happens to the ECB rate, your monthly repayments remain the same for however long the rate is fixed for. In return for this peace of mind, you have to commit yourself for a set period of time. If you decide within this period to move home or change mortgage lender, you will be charged an early repayment penalty called a ‘breaking fee’.

Fixed Rate Basics:
The fixed rate period can be as short as 1 year, or as long as 20 years.
Generally speaking, the longer you fix the rate for, the higher the interest rate.

PROS of a fixed rate mortgage:

You are not affected by rises in interest rates
Most people find it is easier to budget because payments are consistent
Provides peace of mind for people on a tight budget
Worth considering if you think rates will go up

CONS of a discount rate mortgage:

You will not benefit from decreases in interest rates
You are tied in for a set period of time (you’d have to pay a penalty to get out early)
Fixed rates tend to be less flexible than variable or tracker rates. For example, most lenders won’t allow you to make any additional or lump sum payments
When the fixed rate expires, some lenders will automatically move you over to a standard variable rate, rather than a better value tracker mortgage

Who does a fixed rate mortgage suit?
They are particularly good for first time buyers and anyone on a budget.
The most important thing to remember about fixed rate mortgages:
If you are planning to take a fixed rate, ask yourself if there is any possibility that you will change lenders, or pay off your mortgage within the fixed rate period
So, if for example you think you might move in 3 years time, you should take a fixed rate of less than 3 years, so you can avoid paying early repayment penalty fees

Standard Variable Rate Mortgage

A standard variable rate mortgage loan, is a mortgage where the interest rates vary depending on market conditions. Changes in base rates with the European Central Bank (ECB) will usually lead to changes in the standard variable rate, but the lenders can also increase or decrease the rate at their discretion.
PROS of a standard variable rate mortgage:
You can pay off the mortgage early with no early repayment penalties
You can make extra regular or lump sum payments to reduce the balance, and reduce the overall interest you’ll pay
Variable rates are typically (but not always) cheaper than new business fixed rates
Typically, you’ll get a discount on the rate for the first year
CONS of a discount rate mortgage:
The lenders can change rates whenever they want to

Discount Rate Mortgage

Mortgage lenders generally offer an initial discount off their variable rate mortgage. Usually, the discounted rate only applies for the first year and then it reverts to the standard variable rate.
For the discounted period, you’ll have more money in your pocket, which is useful for those extra costs you’ll incur when you a buy a home, such as decorating and buying furniture.

PROS of a discount rate mortgage:
Cheap initial rate
Payments are low at first

CONS of a discount rate mortgage:
You’ll revert to the higher standard variable rate at the end of the discounted period
Who does a discount rate mortgage suit?
Discounted rate mortgages are most suitable for people who are looking for the cheapest initial rate, but who can afford the increased payment after the initial period
If you believe that rates will stay the same, or fall over the next year, all other things being equal, a 12 month discount rate is probably a better option than a 12 month fixed rate, as you would benefit from interest rate drops in the mean-time

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