Your COVID-19 Mortgage Questions Answered

The ongoing global health crisis is impacting all sectors of society and we understand that you may have concerns about how your mortgage application will be affected. In order to address these concerns, we have gathered the most frequently asked questions by our customers and consumers regarding COVID-19 and the mortgage market.

  • 1. What will happen to my existing mortgage approval?

    Your existing mortgage approval – which is known as an Approval in Principle – is not affected by COVID-19. However, as you move to the next stages – a formal Letter of Offer, followed by drawdown of your mortgage – it’s likely will we ask you to confirm that your employment and income situation has not materially changed since you got your approval.

    If your circumstances have changed, we will do a review to determine whether or not you can still afford to meet the agreed regular mortgage repayments.

    We may also ask you to provide additional documentation to demonstrate that you can afford the mortgage.

    Please be assured we will work with you to ensure you are supported in your Mortgage journey even if that means we need to pause temporarily until your circumstances regularise as restrictions ease.

  • 2. I have been mortgage approved? Will I have to go through the process again?

    No. Your mortgage approval is ordinarily valid for 6 months. Should you need more time due to a delay in house completion, we will work with you to facilitate this as much as possible.

    If you have any concerns over a deposit you may have paid on a property, or any other aspects of the purchase contract, you should contact your solicitor.

    We will also extend the period of your mortgage ’Approval in Principle’ where your circumstances have not materially changed as a result of COVID-19. This will likely be for 3-6 months, but it may vary depending on our assessment of your circumstances. Either way this will give you time for making a decision on the purchase of your home.

    However, if your circumstances have materially changed as a result of COVID-19, we may keep your application open on our system for a period of time; but this again may vary depending on the assessment of your circumstances.

    We will continue to keep in contact with you and your application will be kept open and under review for as long as possible. When you are ready to proceed we will likely ask you to provide an update on your employment and income situation along with a request to provide up to date documents in support of this.

    If your Letter of Offer expires during the COVID-19 crisis and you are not seeking to progress your home purchase at this time, you can apply for a refresh of your approval when you need it. When you are ready to proceed we will likely ask you to provide an update on your employment and income situation along with a request to provide up to date documents in support of this.

  • 3. Are mortgage applications still being accepted and processed?

    Yes. We remain open for business and are here to support you in your application process. We are in unprecedented times and, as a result, your application may take a little longer than normal to process. Your dedicated Mortgage Specialist will keep you informed on our timelines as your application progresses.

  • 4. I’m self-employed. Will I still qualify for a mortgage?

    You may still be eligible to process an application. Your Mortgage Specialist will have a detailed discussion with you about your business in order to ensure you continue to meet our current lending guidelines. Should you be temporarily impacted by COVID-19, we can work with you to provide an indicative approval until your income regularises.

  • 5. Will I be penalised if I have been temporarily out of work due to COVID-19?

    Bank of Ireland understands these are unprecedented times. Temporary impact driven by this Global Pandemic is outside of everyone’s control. We will continue to work with you and take into account your ability to repay the Loan along with your employment track record, skills and experience to ensure your application is assessed in a fair and transparent manner. Once your income has regularised and your supporting documents confirm your circumstances have returned to normal we can progress your application. If you continue to be temporarily impacted, we will work with you to provide indicative approval until such time as your circumstances regularise. We value your business and will ensure we work with you until we can formalise your application.

  • 6. Are the government Help to Buy and Rebuilding Ireland schemes still available?

    There have been no indications either of these schemes have been impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to closely monitor any developments or announcements from the Government on these schemes.

  • 7. How can I find a house if there are no viewings taking place?

    The main property search engines and are continually refreshing their pages with any new supply coming to the market. While COVID-19 and the current restrictions have ceased physical house viewings, Estate Agents are facilitating ‘Virtual Viewings’ either at a set time or by appointment where the Buyer virtually tours the house and has the opportunity to speak with the Agent on a Zoom call simultaneously and ask relevant questions. Buyers are considering these virtual viewings as an alternative option to physically viewing properties and there have been a number of properties sale agreed via this method in the last month. It is particularly useful for a new home where the site layout is clear and the standard of finish comparable throughout the development.

  • 8. How is COVID-19 affecting the Housing market?

    New Homes:

    Work on construction sites has ceased since restrictions were introduced. While developers will finish units that have already commenced, some smaller developers and sites may pause work on new sites until economic conditions stabilise thus reducing an already low supply of much needed new homes to the market.

    Second Hand Homes:

    The key selling season for second hand homes is spring, more accurately immediately after St. Patrick’s weekend when the supply funnel opens up and buyers’ Daft and Myhome notifications are on high alert. Unfortunately in 2020 this also coincided with a nationwide lockdown so there is very little new supply on the market. The estate agents are ready to launch as the photos were taken and brochures produced so we expect a steady stream of supply once restrictions ease although not enough to deal with pent-up demand.

  • 9. Next steps in an uncertain market?

    The housing market is a long term cyclical market and buyers are approaching their purchase this way. Most first time buyers are now looking for their ‘forever home’ and one that can grow and has potential to expand with them.

    There is market uncertainty at present, however the pent- up demand that overflowed from a 2019 Brexit concerned market is still there looking to purchase and while they may pause their search for a number of months, they are still determined to buy in 2020.

    Whilst new supply is still tight there are a number of properties on the market that are open to negotiation and with the majority of buyers on hold until their circumstances regulate, depending on your personal situation now may be a good time to buy.


Need a question answered or want to discuss your mortgage application? Book a phone or Facetime meeting with one of our mortgage specialists today:

Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank trading as Bank of Ireland Mortgages is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
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