Switching your mortgage
Switching your mortgage is when you change or ‘switch’ your mortgage to a different lender. When you switch your mortgage, you make your mortgage payments to your new lender. Switching your mortgage can help you save money.
This page outlines some things to consider before switching your mortgage, how to switch your mortgage and what to do if something goes wrong when switching.
If you need general information about mortgages, read our page on taking out a mortgage.
Things to think about before you switch
Before switching, you should consider:
- Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio – this is how much you owe on your mortgage in relation to how much your house is worth. Lenders look at your LTV ratio when you make your application. You need an up-to-date valuation of your home to get an accurate LTV.
- Outstanding balance – if the outstanding balance on your mortgage is very low, you may find it difficult to switch your mortgage, as lenders often have a minimum loan amount.
- Negative equity – this means you owe more on your mortgage than your property is worth. Lenders may not offer you a loan if you are in negative equity.
- Mortgage term – minimum or maximum loan terms may apply when you are switching. For example, some lenders may not accept an application for a mortgage over 30 years or less than 5 years.
- Repayment history – whether you have been meeting your mortgage repayments over the previous 12 months. Lenders will also check any other financial obligations you have and your credit history.
- Fixed term – If you are on a fixed rate and want to leave it early, you may have to pay a fee, sometimes called a redemption charge. The cost of this charge should be weighed against potential savings that could be made by switching, or you can wait until you are coming to the end of your fixed term and then switch.
Can I save money by switching my mortgage?
Before switching, you should work out how much money you can save by switching. You can save money in a number of different ways, including by:
- Reducing your monthly payments
- Paying less interest over the term of your mortgage
- Reducing your term so you can pay off your mortgage faster
- Releasing equity in your home
However, there may be costs associated with switching.
Check how much you can save by:
- Shopping around - compare mortgages and look for the lowest interest rates.
- Finding out if there’s an early exit charge or early redemption fee (ERF) if you are coming to the end of your fixed term mortgage with your current lender.
- Using a mortgage calculator to work out your new monthly repayment and how much you could save.
- Finding out legal and valuation costs, plus any other fees you have to pay.
- Deducting any charges or fees from the savings over the full term of your new mortgage.
- Checking for switching incentives such as cashback offers. Some lenders may offer you cashback when you switch your mortgage to them. This could save you money on fees and expenses.
Before making any important financial decisions, it is a good idea to get financial advice.
How to choose a new mortgage
For help comparing mortgage providers, you can use the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) mortgage switching calculator.
You can also use a mortgage broker to help you compare mortgages.
How do I switch my mortgage?
Take the following steps to switch your mortgage:
Step 1 – Check:
- How much you owe on your existing mortgage
- How long is left on your loan
- What rate of interest you are currently paying
- If there is an early exit charge or early redemption fee (ERF)
- If your current lender can offer you a better deal
Step 2 - Compare mortgages
- Look for the lowest interest rates
- Check whether the lender offers incentives such as cash back
Step 3 - Choose a lender or broker
- Contact your new lender or a mortgage broker who will apply to lenders for you. Most brokers will help you switch free of charge. You can use the Brokers Ireland website to find a broker in your area.
Step 4 - Gather your paperwork
You will need to provide documentation including:
- Proof of your identity
- Proof of income (payslips, or accounts if you are self-employed)
- Proof of employment and your address
- Bank statements including statements for credit cards and any loans you have
Step 5 - Get your property valued
- Contact a property valuer that is approved by your new lender. You will need to get an up-to-date professional valuation of your property. Your lender will only accept valuations carried out by an approved valuer.
Step 6 - Employ a solicitor
- Employ a solicitor to take care of the paperwork and switching process. Your solicitor will manage the process between you and your lender. You can use the Law Society’s website to find a solicitor in your area.
Step 7 - Mortgage protection insurance
- Check if you can take your current insurance with you. However, if you are under a lender’s group insurance policy, you may be restricted from switching it
- Find out how much your current mortgage protection insurance is to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere
Step 8 - Set up a new direct debit
- Cancel the direct debit with your previous lender
- Complete and return the new direct debit form your new lender sends to you
Is there a good time to switch?
The right time to switch depends on your reason for switching and whether you will make a saving, taking into account any fees you may be charged. Many people think about switching when they reach the end of a fixed term rate or if interest rates are increasing.
Switching your mortgage is likely to take at least a couple of months. There may be longer waiting times if things are busy. It may also take time for you to gather the documents you need, get a valuation and arrange insurance.
What happens after I switch?
Once everything is in place, your solicitor will arrange for a funds transfer between your new and old lender and they will confirm that your new mortgage is ready to draw down.
The rules your lender must follow
Lenders must follow the Central Bank of Ireland's mortgage measures which require them to:
- Tell you about cheaper options 60 days before your fixed rate mortgage ends
- Tell you if you can switch to a cheaper mortgage based on your loan to value (LTV) and how much equity you have in your property
- Explain clearly the pros and cons of mortgage incentives, for example, cashback offers
- Show you how much your mortgage costs compared to other options they offer, if requested
- Give you all the information you need to switch, including how long it will take
- Let you know their decision within 10 business days of receiving your completed mortgage application
If something goes wrong with the switching process
If you have a complaint about a lender, you should always discuss your complaint with your lender first. You can read information on how to complain about a financial services firm.
The CCPC has a 3-step plan for making a complaint about financial services providers.
The Central Bank of Ireland has an explainer on how to complain about a financial services firm.