Mortgage Research


This cannot be stressed enough and many people end up doing far too little homework, and only uncover very expensive errors when it is to late - after they have completed on the property purchase. Performing research is essential to educate yourself on the different customs and terminology which is used by the overseas lenders and property professionals, and this will help you avoid some of the pitfalls involved in property purchase.

Seeking professional advice at the earliest stage possible is an excellent way of going forward. You will have the benefit of someone who knows and understands the market, while they can provide you with advice and appropriate recommendations which are suitable to your personal situation. This can help you to concentrate only on those lenders and mortgage products which are suitable for you and your intended property purchase.

Mortgage brokers apply three fundamental rules and you are strongly advised to follow them when selecting a lender to make an application.

Ensure the lender will lend on the type of property you are looking to buy – some lenders will not lend on apartments, others will only lend on brick or block construction while still others will only lend in a certain geographical area.

Ensure the lender will lend to you – everyone is different, with differing incomes, deposit available and looking for differing mortgage conditions.  Some lenders will not lend to you  because you are an expat, others will lend to you but conditional on a minimum deposit being available, which they will set, while others will welcome you with open arms. Make sure you meet the criteria the lender may have before you submit any application to them.

Ensure the mortgage product will suit your personal needs – ensure the mortgage deal fits your requirements and this means considering interest rates types (fixed, discount, variable, ARM); early redemption penalties; repayment terms available; interest only or capital & repayment (amortized); customer service. This is not an exhaustive list.

Choose a Mortgage Which is “Appropriate” for You

Once you have a shortlist of mortgage products to consider, you must eventually choose a lender and product to make an application to. Submitting multiple mortgage applications is expensive and frowned upon by lenders, so in practice, you are restricted to making just one application at a time. 

We have outlined some of the factors in part (3) of the Basic Rules above, but it is worthwhile expounding on this because it is important. It is extraordinarily difficult to compare one mortgage to another, and you really need a professional who can explain how one product will work and how it compares to another. Many people, and brokers, are seeking the “best” mortgage deal but in practical terms there is no such thing – what is best for one person is not necessarily the best for you – it is far better to think in terms of how appropriate each mortgage is for you given your unique, personal circumstances.

Understanding “Headline” Interest Rates

Many lenders will promote their mortgage products using the headline interest rate, but this rarely provides a true picture of how much the mortgage is going to actually cost you. Frequently, a headline rate is only an introductory offer which will expire after a period of time – some lenders even offer 0%, but only for a very short period of time, though a discount for a year or two is more common. You must consider what will happen when you are being charged the full interest rate after any introductory offer has expired.