First Time Buyers Guide

Simple friendly advice on everything you need to know about mortgages.

  • Why use PropertyPal Mortgages?

    Because we are a broker! Did you know that last year only 18% of First Time Buyers and Home Movers arranged their mortgages directly with a bank? Check out our 'Beat Your Bank' challenge and you will see why. We are open 7 days a week and can offer both face-to-face meetings or remote meetings day or night. Oh and did we mention unlike many brokers we don't charge you a broker or advice fee?

  • What's the catch?

    There isn't one. Rather than walking round all the banks to see what they offer, with us we can compare the best deals available in Northern Ireland at the click of a button. Mortgage brokers are nothing new. We just do it better.

  • Why not go to the bank direct?

    You could but it there is a very good chance it will take you a lot longer to get an appointment and you will be limited to the products on offer by that bank. If they are not the most competitive you are missing out and secondly if things don't work out you need to start from scratch. With us we can see what all the banks are offering and if Plan A doesn't work, we have Plan B, Plan C and D ... and E ... and F.

  • Can I really get a mortgage without a face-to-face meeting?

    Of course. Technology makes this possible and easy. We can share our screen so you see everything as if you were in one of our branches. If you decide to go ahead we will arrange for a courier to collect the documents. You might start telling people how great we are without even meeting us!

  • Are you really 24/7?

    Yup. Call us any time to see for yourself.

  • How long is the PropertyPal Mortgage Promise valid?

    We provide the PropertyPal Mortgage Promise for 90 days, valid after our initial meeting. Don't worry if you haven't found the perfect home in this time, we'll contact you again to see if you need to extend the agreement.

  • How come you don't charge broker fees?

    Due to the fact that our process is based online, we can significantly reduce our overheads, and therefore don't need to pass on any additional cost to you. We believe that as a result PropertyPal Mortgages is simple, convenient and cost effective for you the customer.

  • Where are you based? Where do I go for my appointment?

    If you wish you won't need to go any further than your living room sofa! We offer both face-to-face meetings or online appointments from the comfort of your home. We have local branches in Coleraine and Belfast where you can pop in to see us. This gives you flexibility to talk to us at a time that suits you, whether that is in the evening, first time in the morning, or during your lunchtime.

  • What is a remortgage?

    A remortgage is where you change from one lender to another. This could be for various reasons, such as to achieve a better rate, debt consolidation or to simply borrow more money.

  • How much can I borrow?

    As with most financial products, exactly how much you can borrow, very much depends on your individual circumstance. For a general idea to get you started, you can easily explore our affordability calculator online. For a more accurate confirmation on exactly how much you can borrow, you can contact us free of charge where one of our fully qualified advisers can guide you through the process.

  • How much deposit do I need?

    In general, the minimum deposit is 5% however, if you can put down a larger deposit, you may have access to more deals and better rates. Again we recommend that you interact with the Mortgage Calculator using these figures to see exactly what impact this has on what products are available to you.

  • How much will it all cost?

    As you can see from our Mortgage Calculator, we have a comprehensive panel of lenders available to you, where you can see mortgage repayment costs per month. Don't forget however that there may some additional costs such as Home Insurance or Life cover. We will recommend additional insurances to protect your family home and lifestyle.

  • How much will it all cost?

    As you can see from our Mortgage Calculator, we have a comprehensive panel of lenders available to you, where you can see mortgage repayment costs per month. Don't forget however that there may some additional costs such as Home Insurance or Life cover. We will recommend additional insurances to protect your family home and lifestyle.

  • How much will it all cost?

    As you can see from our Mortgage Calculator, we have a comprehensive panel of lenders available to you, where you can see mortgage repayment costs per month. Don't forget however that there may some additional costs such as Home Insurance or Life cover. We will recommend additional insurances to protect your family home and lifestyle.

  • How much will it all cost?

    As you can see from our Mortgage Calculator, we have a comprehensive panel of lenders available to you, where you can see mortgage repayment costs per month. Don't forget however that there may some additional costs such as Home Insurance or Life cover. We will recommend additional insurances to protect your family home and lifestyle.

  • How long does it take? What happens next?

    We recognise that how long it is likely to take, is an important question in the decision making process. We've built a step by step mortgage timeline for you to easily see which part of the process you are at, what happens next, and how long it is likely to take.

  • What do I need to bring to my appointment? How long does it take?

    In order to process any mortgage application, you will need to provide the following: A recent utility bill for proof of address, proof of ID, last 3 months payslips, last 3 months bank statements, proof of your deposit and disclosure of any outstanding loans or debt e.g. car loans etc. The meeting should take no longer than an hour and a half.

  • What is the difference between interest only and repayment mortgages?

    If you are buying a home to live in, your lender will probably require that the mortgage is taken out on a repayment basis. This will ensure that with each payment you make the loan is reducing and is guaranteed to be paid off at the end of your chosen term. With an interest only mortgage you are not paying off any of the debt, and these are usually only suitable for buy to let mortgages.

    In general, buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

  • Is a fixed or variable rate mortgage best?

    Many people ask this question but ultimately it will come down to your individual requirements after talking to one of our advisers. In general, with the Bank of England base rate generally being very low, most clients are aware that a rise is possible in the future. This sort of change can impact on monthly costs for variable rate products. With a fixed rate mortgage this provides some level of security for a set period of time after which you can come back and see us. We will however explain in detail things to be aware of with each of the products listed on the mortgage calculator.

  • Do I need to show anything when making an offer?

    Technically you don't need anything to make an offer, however Estate Agents will take you more seriously if you can demonstrate that you have already been approved for a Mortgage. See PropertyPal Mortgage Promise in our Glossary

  • My credit rating isn't good. Can I get a mortgage?

    This can be an issue with some lenders, however we have access to lenders that will not base their initial decision solely on your credit score.

    The content of your credit report is much more important than the credit score that some referencing agencies provide. For anyone who hasn't had a mortgage or a lot of credit in the past, it can be difficult to achieve a high credit score. This is often due to the fact you don't have much good credit to build up a good score, as opposed to bad credit pulling your score down.

    One quick fix to boost your credit score would be to register on the electoral roll at your current address. If you are worried about your credit score - mention this your adviser during your appointment and they can advise you what else can be done to improve your score. Ask for a personalised illustration because the actual rate available will depend upon your circumstances. (The overall cost for comparison is 5.1% APR.)

  • How does Co-Ownership work?

    Co-Ownership is a government funded scheme specifically designed to help purchasers onto the property ladder. Co-Ownership is ideal for people with low deposits, or when the affordability criteria for a full mortgage is beyond your reach. We can advise if Co-Ownership is the right path for you.

  • The house needs some work done to it, can I get extra on the mortgage?

    Provided there is equity in your house, most lenders will allow for additional borrowing for home improvements.

  • How long do I need to be in my job before I can get a mortgage.

    This criteria varies from lender to lender. Some lenders will have no minimum employment period, where others will require you to be in your job for a minimum of six months. As professional advisers, it is our job to consider these details when recommending the most suitable lender.

  • Can I take out a loan for a deposit?

    In general, most lenders will not look favourably upon this. This would not only greatly reduce the number of lenders available to you, but it would also negatively impact your overall affordability.

  • What is a gifted deposit? Is this acceptable?

    A gifted deposit is where a family member provides you with your initial deposit. It is required in writing that the deposit does not have to be repaid and the family member concerned confirms that they have no interest in the property.

  • What is a valuation report, why is it needed and who conducts it? Do I have to arrange this?

    Your lender will arrange for a fully qualified surveyor to visit your property and perform this on your behalf. This is carried out on your new property to make sure it meets particular lending criteria and it is actually worth what you are paying for it. The cost of the valuation will depend on the value of the house and the type of report you require. However some lenders will have incentives, where the valuation is free.

  • What are my options if I can't get my house sold, or someone else pulls out of the chain.

    If someone pulls out of the chain, provided you get your house sale agreed again for the same price, your mortgage will be unaffected. However if these details change we may need to consult the lender again.

    If you can't get your house sold for a significantly long period of time and you have already found your dream home, one other option open to you may be a let to buy mortgage with a view to letting out your own home whilst you move. This scenario obviously is affected by your individual circumstances, but is something we can help to arrange.

  • When are we likely to move?

    On average, a straight forward purchase could take anything between 6 and 12 weeks to complete, however, there are various external factors that may impact on your ability to move. For example, the buyers of your home may be part of a chain, or awaiting mortgage approval. In short, with home buyers, it is difficult to accurately estimate just how long the process will take as many elements are not within your control.

  • How does the deposit work?

    On the day of completion, your solicitor will receive the purchase monies from the people buying your house. This will then be used to redeem your existing mortgage. The surplus, although this will never actually go into your own bank account, is the deposit used for your new property.

    For example: If you have a mortgage outstanding of £60K and sell your home for £100,000. £40K will be put down as a deposit for your new home.

  • Should I move my existing mortgage to the new house? What if I'm currently tied into a mortgage deal?

    This is known as 'porting'. Firstly you need to check that your mortgage is portable and secondly that the new property is acceptable to your lender. This is a great option if you are currently tied into your mortgage deal but still want to move.

  • Can I extend the term of my mortgage?

    Yes, when applying for your new mortgage, the length of term of your existing mortgage will have no bearing on your application for the new one. Your adviser will be able to discuss the various options to find a monthly payment to suit your budget.

  • What other costs do I need to be aware of during the moving process?

    There are a few other costs that will come into play as well as your mortgage itself. For example, there will be your Estate Agent fees (for selling), and Solicitors fees (for buying and selling).

  • Are there any fees involved?

    The remortgage market is one of the most competitive between lenders. Because of this there are some great deals available. Many deals will include a free valuation service, free conveyancing service and often no arrangement fees.

  • Do I need a valuation?

    Your new lender will still need to check your property is suitable and the valuation is accurate to merit your chosen deal.

  • When does my new mortgage start / switch over?

    Your new lender will still need to go through the process of verifying affordability and checking your property is suitable. Although you don't need to pay for it, your current lender will need to be removed from your deeds, and your new lender noted, so a full conveyancing is required. In general you should allow 8-10 weeks for this process to take place.

  • Do I get penalised by my current lender if I remortgage?

    Provided you are not tied into a current mortgage deal (such as a fixed rate) there should be no early repayment charges for remortgaging. If you are tied in to your current mortgage deal unfortunately very rarely can you justify paying these fees to change lenders.

  • For what reason can I arrange additional borrowing?

    If you wish, remortgaging can be used to borrow additional money for a variety of circumstances, however home improvement is the most common.

  • Can I reduce my term?

    When remortgaging it is a great time to consider reducing the term of your mortgage. You will often find that new deals will be available as (hopefully) your house will have increased in value and your mortgage reduced. At this point you can either benefit from lower monthly payments or if you are comfortable with your current level of payments you may be able to knock a few years off your mortgage term.

  • What is the minimum deposit?

    In general, the minimum deposit required for a buy to let mortgage is 25%, this is because the lenders see buy to let mortgages as higher risk than residential mortgages.

  • Should I arrange my BTL mortgage on an Interest only or repayment basis?

    Before deciding this, the key thing to consider is the length of time you intend to keep this investment property. If you arranged the mortgage on an interest only basis your monthly payments will be lower, however you are heavily dependent on market conditions. You will have to sell the house to repay the debt at the end of the term.

    Alternatively with a repayment mortgage the mortgage balance is reducing month on month and at the end of the term you will have an asset with no debt that produces an income month on month.

  • How many buy to let mortgages can I have?

    This widely varies from lender to lender for example some lenders will limit the number of buy to let mortgages you have with them. Whereas other lenders will look at the overall number of buy to let mortgages you have.

  • Are the fees and interest rates higher than a normal mortgage?

    Due to the fact that lenders see buy to let mortgages as higher risk than residential mortgages, the fees and interest rates tend to be slightly more expensive. Check out the landlords section of our mortgage calculator for current market rates.

  • What happens if I don't have a tenant?

    The risk with all buy to let mortgages is that you the landlord will be responsible to meet the mortgage payments during any payments of inoccupancy. We would recommend you have a contingency fund for such times.

  • How much is landlords insurance?

    Generally speaking, this will depend on the type of cover you require, the type of tenant in the property and the type of property. Some additional features like legal cover or rent cover will have an impact on the cost of landlords insurance. Contact us for more information as we have a variety of products and providers available.

Got a Question we Haven't Answered?

We're here to help, fill in the form below to ask the PropertyPal Mortgages team:

Please check you have entered all details correctly:

You voluntarily choose to provide personal details to us via this website.  Personal information will be treated as confidential by us and held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.  You agree that such personal information may be used to provide you with details of services and products in writing, by email or by telephone. By submitting this information you have given your agreement to receive verbal contact from us to discuss your mortgage requirements.

Thanks!

We've sent your enquiry to our team. We'll be back in touch with you shortly.