Home-buying event unlocks the secrets of buying a home during Covid-19
Virtual home-buying event brings together TV’s Dermot Bannon, Angela Keegan from MyHome.ie and Brian Vaughan of Bank of Ireland to answer your questions
Bank of Ireland will host a free virtual event on the evening of August 13th with expert panellists including Dermot Bannon, Angela Keegan from MyHome.ie and Brian Vaughan, head of mortgages at Bank of Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images
Online searches for properties in Dalkey, Co Dublin rose by 205 per cent since March 2020.1 Many will say it’s the Matt Damon effect but truthfully, since lockdown, who hasn’t dreamed of living closer to the sea?
“In mid-March, as construction ground to a halt and house viewings were no longer allowed, property sales dropped by 85 per cent," says Angela Keegan of MyHome.ie. “Since restrictions began to ease in early May, new stock has come on the market.”
This means that buyers who were eager to purchase at the beginning of the year are now chomping at the bit. And they are eagerly searching for country houses, farmhouses and places by the sea.
With this in mind, Bank of Ireland will be hosting a free virtual home-buyers event on the evening of August 13th 2020 with a host of expert panellists including TV architect Dermot Bannon, Angela Keegan from MyHome.ie and Brian Vaughan, head of mortgages at Bank of Ireland.
Taking place from 6pm to 7.15pm, the event will offer a wealth of insights and information for first-time buyers and movers and will be followed by a question and answer session where the experts will be on hand to answer your questions.
So, ahead of the virtual event, what should purchasers look out for in a property during Covid-19?
Location, while always front and centre, really takes centre stage now, Dermot Bannon says.
“Having parks nearby made a massive difference to people’s experience of lockdown and that will now be high up a list of priorities. Having a nice place to head out for a stroll, with a selection of local shops such as a fishmonger, butcher or bakery will make everyday life better,” Bannon says.
“Some of the nicer, older suburbs with well-established facilities will do better, as people now know they need certain facilities around them such as nice local shops.
“Some kind of personal outdoor space like a garden is important too, it doesn’t need to be huge, but good parks nearby are the most important thing,” he says.
Bannon disagrees that lockdown has heralded the death knell of the open-plan home.
“It worked really well for my family during lockdown, but key to that is one separate room too – not anything big but a breakout space, somewhere very small to do a Zoom call or send emails,” he says.
So with priorities shifting slightly, how do buyers now go about viewing properties?
“Viewings have changed completely as protocols include the need to ensure that as many people as possible view properties virtually, as a starting point,” says Angela Keegan of Myhome.ie.
“With virtual viewings, people can rule themselves in or out. It would be unusual for someone to complete a full transaction without ever stepping foot in the property, but virtual viewings give them a sense of what’s out there.”
“That’s not to say people can’t view a property [in person], but it is quite onerous. There can be no more than two people in a group, bookings must be made in advance, no kids are allowed, and everything must be wiped down before and after the viewers leave. Any meetings with the estate agent must take place outside,” she says.
And with so much pent-up demand, Keegan says they are seeing record traffic to the MyHome.ie site.
“We have seen an increase in people searching for cottages, up by 45 per cent, country houses are up 50 per cent and farmhouses up 70 per cent,” she reveals, adding, “we have also seen searches in Wicklow up 70 per cent, Wexford up 90 per cent, and Meath up 28 per cent, so commuter counties are attracting a lot more interest.2”
“Buyers were disappointed not seeing the reductions they thought there would be, but vendors are happy. That’s not to say things won’t change,” she adds.
Bank of Ireland can give an approval in principle for house-hunters to help start the process
From a banking perspective, and getting mortgage ready, Brian Vaughan of Bank of Ireland says, “we’re ready when the customer is.”
“There’s a lot of demand for mortgage finance, but there are cohorts of potential homeowners who don’t have full clarity in relation to their income at the moment. We would still like to hear from those customers and discuss their options. For customers who are ready now, they want to know what they can potentially afford before they start looking,” he says.
For those who are not ready yet, Vaughan says they can be given information and guidance about approaching their mortgage application.Bank of Ireland can give an approval in principle for house-hunters to help start the process.
This will be on the back of a review by the bank’s underwriters before a customer has found a suitable property and allows buyers search with some confidence.
Many estate agents do look for that approval in principle earlier in the process and sometimes before a viewing is arranged as it gives some indication of what a customer might actually be approved for, which of course can only be ascertained on the back of a full assessment.
“Some customers will have had a temporary change in circumstances, and some would have confidence they will be going back to the same level of income, so we may be able to give an indication of what we might lend based on their unique circumstances. Every case is different,” Vaughan continues.
The bank has also adapted the mortgage application process so it can be done in a way that suits the customer
“A first step approval in principle is not a formal underwritten approval but it will allow them to narrow their search, once they find the house they want they can re-engage us so that we can take the next steps in formalising that approval,” he says.
The bank has also adapted the mortgage application process so it can be done in a way that suits the customer.
“We can do it over the phone, customers can talk to us at a socially distanced location, or via FaceTime appointments. We want to engage customers and support them every step of the way,” Vaughan says.
At Bank of Ireland they have seen an increase in the demand for mortgage finance, but supply is not quite there yet to be able to match it.
On occasion, there can be a lot of demand for certain properties. Many estate agents are keen to ensure that customers have an indication of the amount that can be borrowed from their lender before they view or bid,” he adds
“We know people are anxious to get on the property ladder – there is only so much TV a 26-year-old can watch at home with their parents – so we are here to help!”
To register for Bank of Ireland’s free virtual home-buyers’ event on the evening of August 13th, click here.
1. See the world go by from Skerries harbour boathouse for €425k, Irish Times, 25/06/2020
2. Angela Keegan of MyHome.ie
3. The lender is Bank of Ireland Mortgages. Lending criteria and terms and conditions apply. Over 18s only. Mortgage approval is subject to assessment of suitability and affordability. You mortgage your property to secure the loan. We require property and life insurance. Maximum loan is generally 3.5 times gross annual income and 80% of the property value (90% of the property value for first time buyers). A typical mortgage of €100,000 over 20 years with 240 monthly instalments costs €615.79 per month at 4.2% variable (Annual Percentage Rate of Charge (APRC) 4.3%). The total amount you pay is €148,114.60. APRC includes €150 valuation fee and mortgage charge of €175 paid to the Property Registration Authority. A 1% interest rate rise would increase monthly repayments by €54.02 per month. [The cost of your monthly repayments may increase – if you do not keep up your repayments you may lose your home].
Mortgage lending criteria and terms and conditions apply. Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank trading as Bank of Ireland Mortgages is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
4. Bank of Ireland is not responsible for the information provided by 3rd parties or for the information on 3rd party websites.