How are mortgage applications assessed?

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Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

Buying a house is likely to be the biggest purchase we make in our lives so it makes sense that a lot of detail goes into a mortgage application assessment. Knowing what to expect before you apply will be a great help to you.

Before applying for a mortgage, in order to have the best chance of approval, it’s important (not to mention useful) to be aware of all of the things that go into a mortgage assessment and what exactly your lender will be looking at. 

So here's a list of the main things your lender will be assessing when you apply for a mortgage...

1. Your income

The obvious one, but when applying for a mortgage lenders will look at your annual income and some may even take bonuses or overtime into account. Some lenders may also factor in rental income if you plan to rent out spare rooms, so this is something to be aware of and discuss.

2. Your savings 

Next to income, a mortgage lender will want to see a clear and consistent track record of savings being made. This demonstrates to a lender that you have an ability to save, are responsible with your money, and have built up enough savings to cover your deposit as well as the other expenses that come with buying a home.

If you’re thinking about opening a savings account to start building up money for your deposit, you can use our savings account comparison tool to easily compare interest rates and account features from Ireland’s main providers

3. Your age

How old you are is another important factor lenders will consider, and for obvious reasons. This will include assessing the number of years you have left until you retire. Most lenders will only offer a mortgage up to the age of 66 or 67, meaning if you want to take out a mortgage over 30 years, for example, you'll have to apply well before you hit 40. 

4. Any outstanding loans

If you have other loans, this may reduce the amount of money you can borrow, or you may find it difficult to get a mortgage as you’ll be seen as higher risk, for example.

5. Your outgoings 

In addition to any loan repayments, lenders will look at any financial commitments you have, such as ongoing childcare costs, monthly bills, and so on.

6. Your credit record 

This shows the repayments you have made on any loans you have. If you have missed repayments in the past, it may make it more difficult for you to get a mortgage.

Mortgage lenders will also look for other potential red flags in your finances such as recurring payments made to online gambling platforms, for example.

7. The value of your house

This is the market value, or purchase price of your house.

8. The amount you need to borrow

This is the difference between the amount you have saved to put towards the house (your deposit), and the purchase price of the house. The amount of your home that you own is also referred to as your equity. In general, the bigger the deposit you have, the better. And Central Bank rules require most first-time buyers have a minimum deposit of 10% saved.  

9. The Guarantor

A guarantor is someone who agrees to repay a loan if you are not able to. If you are using a guarantor in any way, then their financial situation will also be assessed. 

10. Anyone else?

Banks will also be interested in whether you are borrowing on your own or with someone else. If you're borrowing with someone else, then their savings record and outstanding loans etc as outlined above will also be reviewed. 

What are the chances of my application getting approved?

As discussed above, your lender will check your credit history before they decide to give you a loan. Most lenders use the new Central Bank CCR (Central Credit Register), which keeps files on individual borrowers. 

If you are turned down for a mortgage and you have never had problems repaying your loans, you may want to check your credit record.

You may be refused a mortgage if:

  • Insufficient income: If your income is not sufficient to repay the amount you want to borrow. At present you’re restricted to borrowing only 3.5 times your gross annual income. For example, if your gross salary is €50,000, the maximum mortgage you could take out would be for €175,000 unless you can get an exemption.
  • Poor credit history: If you have a poor credit history this may cause a lender to turn down your mortgage application, even if you can currently afford to repay a mortgage. Making sure you never miss a repayment on a loan is important for this reason.
  • Existing loans: If you have too many outstanding loans or other financial commitments a lender can refuse you for a mortgage as they may not want to take on the risk, seeing you as overexposed.
  • Job status: If your job is not permanent, is at risk or you have only recently started employment you may be refused a mortgage. Banks like to see certainty, stability, and an ability to make regular repayments. In general, you must have passed your probationary period in order to get approved.
  • Financial history: You may be refused if your bank statements do not show that you can save or manage your money.
  • Clearance: If the house you want to buy has not been approved by a valuer this could prove to be another obstacle. This could happen because the valuer thinks the property is overpriced.

Always prepare!

Preparing to apply for your mortgage? Make sure to check out our other mortgage guides to make sure you are totally in the know throughout the process:

You can stay up to date with all the latest mortgage news and tips with our blogs and guides.

Start your mortgage journey with

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, home mover or switcher, you can easily compare interest rates, offers and cashback incentives from all Ireland's lenders using our mortgage calculator

And when it’s time to apply for your mortgage, you can submit an online enquiry through our new mortgage broker service and one of our experienced financial advisors will call you back to get your application started.

Our mortgage service is entirely free and is fully digital from start to finish, meaning everything can be carried out online from the comfort of your home. And it's completely paper-free too! 

Don’t forget that you’ll also need mortgage protection insurance and home insurance to secure a mortgage. We can also help there! Simply head over to our insurance page and you could be covered in less than one hour.

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Need assistance?

If you require any help or have any mortgage-related questions, we have an in-house team of qualified financial advisors who would be happy to help. 

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