As a foreigner, I was very much intimidated by having to find, prepare and submit all the documentation necessary to apply for a mortgage. Not to mention that I would have to first scout several banks to understand which one would be more likely to offer us a mortgage, and at which conditions.
This led us to investigate the option to hire a Mortgage Broker, who would assist us in preparing all the necessary documents and advise us regarding the best course of action on to how to proceed with the mortgage. A Mortgage Broker acts on your behalf and presents your case to the banks in the best light possible, as to ensure that you have your best shot at obtaining a mortgage.
After an online search, we selected 4 Mortgage Brokers and I contacted all four by email. What you read online is absolutely true: it's always best to shop around and meet different Mortgage Brokers. Not only you have a better idea if the information provided is correct, but, more importantly, you have a measure of comparison.
These are the 4 Mortgage Brokers we contacted:
1 - FRANK LENNY FINANCIAL SERVICES - www.franklenny.com
66 South William Street, D2 -- Fee €500,00
I sent an email on Friday evening and I received a call right on Monday morning. Not only Frank was very prompt in addressing my inquiry, the initial free assessment of our situation was very thorough. The general impression I received is of high professionalism and competence.
When I arrived for my appointment, I was welcomed directly into Frank's office, where he proceeded to complete a detailed financial factfind (including incomes, needs, objectives, etc.) which then allowed him to provide us with tailored advice on how to proceed. He also took the time to answer all my many questions and explain further the Irish banking and mortgage systems.
2 - IRISH MORTGAGE BROKERS - www.mortgagebrokers.ie
33 Pearse Street, D2 -- Fee not specified on the website.
I didn't receive a reply to the email I sent on Friday evening. This prompted me to call their office directly to set an appointment. The first two times I was told that I would be called back, and since I received no call during the following week and a half, I finally called a third time.
I believe that the reason why I was able to obtain an appointment that last time, was because I become upset regarding the poor customer service.
This agency was suggested to me, however the impression they gave me was not very professional. When I arrived for my appointment, I was joined in a dimly lit room by an associate of the firm. My information and financial factfind were jotted down on a notepad, with the associate asking me questions as they come to mind. This left me a bit perplexed, as I was expecting a more professional approach to collecting all our financial and personal information (at Frank Lenny's they used a module that covered all the possible questions and topics).
As the associate wasn't sure of the best way to proceed in our case, she told me that she'd discuss it with the other partners and that she'd send me an email the Monday afterwards. While I did receive the email (on Tuesday) and it answered all my questions, the overall impression was not the most positive.
3 - NC MORTGAGE BROKERS - www.ncmortgagebrokers.ie
24 Suffolk Street, D2 -- No fee.
I sent an email on the same Friday evening as all the others, and having received no reply I called to set an appointment, where I was reassured that I'll be called back. They didn't call back, and I believe that says it all (after fighting for an appointment with Irish Mortgage Brokers, which was recommended, I just gave up on this one).
4 - MORTGAGE LINE - www.mortgageline.ie
The crescent building, Northwood, Santry, D9 -- Fee 395€ - 590€
I emailed and I received a reply right away, however, the agent who replied, asked very few and superficial questions regarding our situation and they seemed to want to rush our application as to 'take advantage of the old regulations prior to the new ones implemented by the Central Bank'. This left us perplexed, as we would be affected only favourably by the new Central Bank regulations.
In the end, the decision regarding which Mortgage Broker to choose, was simple: Frank Lenny was the only one who left us with an overall professional and positive impression. I can confidently say that we are very satisfied with our decision: since then, Frank has been incredibly patience in answering all our numerous emails and guiding us through this process.
A great resource for more information on how to choose a Mortgage Broker is the guide on 'Choosing a Financial Advisor' form the ConsumerHelp.ie site.