Applying for a mortgage

Before you start looking at properties, start applying to lenders to try to get ‘approval in principle’. This means you will know whether you will get mortgage approval and will give you an idea of the amount you can borrow. It may also be an advantage to have this when it comes to making an offer on a property as sellers are more likely to accept an offer if they know you have mortgage approval. Take a look at our mortgage Money Tool to see the types of mortgages and the interest rates that are available from all of the main lenders in Ireland.

Lenders and advisers
Documents you may need
When you’re applying
What do lenders base their decision on?
Once your application is approved
First Time Buyers’ Relief and Help to Buy incentive

Lenders and advisers

You can apply for a mortgage by:

  • Applying directly to a lender such as a bank or credit union or local authority and dealing with them and looking after the application process yourself.
  • Using a mortgage broker who will deal with lenders on your behalf and advise you during the process. At the beginning it is important to ask the broker for their ‘Terms of Business’, what they charge and how many lenders they represent.

Documents you may need

You will need certain documents when you apply for a mortgage and you should keep a copy of anything you give to a lender or broker.

  • Proof of ID, proof of address and proof of your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)
  • Proof of income: latest P60, payslips, certified accounts if self-employed
  • Evidence of how you manage your money such as current and loan account statements for the last three to 12 months, depending on the lender

When you’re applying

  • Try and apply to more than one lender and compare their rates and offers carefully. Don’t panic and accept the first offer. Our handy mortgages shopping around checklist will help with this step.
  • Don’t be tempted by introductory offers such as cashback or free legal expenses. These can be rewarding in the short-term but that particular mortgage could end up costing you more over the life of the loan if it has a higher interest rate.

What do lenders base their decision on?

  • Income – lenders will look at your annual income and some may take bonuses and overtime into account. Some may factor in rental income if you plan to rent out a room.
  • Age – what age you are now, what age you will be when you retire and/or when the mortgage ends.
  • Outstanding loans – if you have other loans or a high credit card balance this may reduce the amount you can borrow or may affect your ability to get a mortgage.
  • Employment status – a lender will look at whether you are in permanent employment or on probation. If you work on contract they may require you to be employed for at least 12 months with the same employer or be on a second contract with the same employer.
  • Residential status – are you a resident in Ireland or a returning emigrant.
  • Outgoings – lenders will take your other financial commitments, such as childcare, into consideration.
  • Money management – lenders will look at your bank statements and assess things like ability to meet direct debits and standing orders, if you are using an overdraft facility on a regular basis, if there is evidence of excessive use of online gambling etc.
  • Savings – this shows that you have saved enough for your deposit and have the ability to save a set amount of money on a regular basis.
  • Credit history – this shows your track record of paying other loans in the past. A poor credit history can prevent you from getting a mortgage.
  • Property value – the purchase price of the home you want to buy (if you have one in mind) and the value of your current home, if you plan to sell and buy a new home.
  • Amount you wish to borrow – this is the amount you apply for and is the difference between the purchase price of the property and the deposit you have saved.
  • Guarantor – someone acting as guarantor and agreeing to repay the loan if you can’t.
  • Number of applicants – are you borrowing by yourself or with someone else.

Once your application is approved

  • Lenders give ‘approval in principal’ which is a statement of how much they are prepared to lend you but a ‘letter of offer’ is what you will receive when your mortgage has been fully approved.
  • Mortgage approval is only valid for a certain period of time, which typically ranges from six to 12 months, depending on your lender. You must draw the mortgage down before the expiry date. If you don’t, you usually need to apply again and your circumstances or the lenders criteria could change in that time.
  • The interest rate on the mortgage will be set only on the day the money is drawn down so it could be different to the rate shown on your mortgage approval.
  • Shop around for your mortgage protection and home insurance when you are applying for a mortgage. Remember that you don’t have to buy these from your mortgage provider even though they may offer them. There could be savings to be made by shopping around and looking for better value elsewhere.

Help to Buy incentive

You may be able to use the Help to Buy incentive to help you with the deposit for a newly built home or a once-off self-build. This scheme provides a refund of income tax and DIRT paid over the previous four years for people who have bought or self-built a new residential property between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2024 up to certain limits and within certain criteria.

First-time buyers may also be eligible for the government’s First Home Scheme. This is a shared equity scheme and can provide up to 30% of the purchase price of a home. Read more about the First Home Scheme.

Last updated on 24 August 2023