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Ask the Expert - Reavey Financial Services

25th February 2022

Reavey Financial Services are an Independent Mortgage & Insurance Provider, based in Newry but servicing the whole of Northern Ireland.  The company was started in 2013 by Anthony Reavey and now employs 8 staff between 2 offices.

Shonagh Maguire is one of their expert advisers with over 10 years’ experience.  Primarily her job involves assessing clients circumstances, needs and preferences in relation to both mortgages and protection and finding them the very best lender/provider at the very best price.


What is the first thing a first-time buyer should consider when starting their journey?

Usually, we see first time buyers at the very start of their house purchase journey and this is what we would advise.  At the very onset clients should have an understanding of the house buying process, how much they can afford, is their credit file in order or what can be done to improve this, do their bank statements make for good reading, what deposit do they need and of course how much it will cost a month, not only for the mortgage but also associated costs such as insurances, property rates, etc. 


At the very first appointment we gather as much information as possible from the client and this will allow us to carry out some research and provide that very important Decision in Principle.  The Decision in Principle will be with the lender that best suits the clients’ circumstances and needs, at the very best price.  A Decision in Principle is a very good indication that the lender will be able to lend X amount of money.  The Decision in Principle involves an affordability check and usually the carrying out of a credit check on the potential borrowers but this is a soft credit check and so it doesn’t affect credit scores.  Once clients have that Decision in Principle in place it adds great excitement to the process, customers begin to really actively start looking at properties and it also acts as a very good motivator in saving for deposit.



What are the benefits of using a mortgage advisor as opposed to going directly to a lender for a first-time buyer?


As an independent mortgage brokerage, we offer a comprehensive range of mortgage products from across the market.  We are the experts and so we have a wealth of knowledge of each lender and their criteria and policies.  If a client was to undertake the research themselves it would prove to be very timely, so we search the market on our client’s behalf, placing their mortgage application with the most suitable lender at the best rate.   We can also obtain mortgage deals that the client couldn’t obtain themselves.


Taking just the Newry area, two types of mortgages that may not be available via client’s own bank are mortgages where an applicant’s income is not in GPB and mortgages for those who wish to build their own home.  We have a lot of clients who live in Northern Ireland but work in the South of Ireland earning Euro and we also have a lot of clients who wish to build their own home.  We have lenders on our panel who can facilitate such cases.


Besides getting you a mortgage at the best rate, we’ll prepare clients at the very early stages, if they are not yet mortgage ready, we will help to get them to that place.  When we submit an application, we will liaise with the lender’s underwriters on their behalf, we also liaise with estate agents and solicitors.  Sometimes the paperwork can be daunting and again we can help with this.  We also ensure the clients are fully protected so we offer house insurance, mortgage protection, family protection, business/income protection and much more.  Then when their mortgage deal is due to expire, we will assist in obtaining a new one.  So basically, we are on hand from the very beginning to the very end.


I often look back to when I bought my house about 18 years ago, when in my early 20’s and if I am honest, I didn’t have a clue what was happening – all I know is that I received the mortgage money, got the keys and started paying the borrowing.  It was all a bit of a blur.  I therefore draw on my own personal experience to make sure that my clients, particularly first-time buyers, are fully aware and understanding of what is happening at each stage of the process.  I tell my clients to ask me anything and everything and they know I am always available. 



What information should someone who is considering buying their first property start getting together and how soon in the process do they need this? 


We say it’s never too early to get your ducks in a row when it comes to buying a property.  At the very early stages we will advise on what clients can do to make sure they are mortgage ready, for if they are lucky enough to get an offer accepted on a property. 


At the very least clients should have ID, proof of residency, 3 months bank statements and proof of income.  The earlier we can check these items the better – is the ID in date, is the proof of residency acceptable, is all the income guaranteed, is there bonus income or fluctuations to consider and do the bank statements make for good reading – unpaid fees and going over agreed overdraft limits will raise alarms with lenders.


Sometimes, even with the vast lenders we have clients aren’t at the stage of being able to get a mortgage, we certainly do not close the door on them, we work with them to see what we can do over the coming months or beyond to get them to that place.  Maybe they need to save more deposit, maybe they need to rectify something on their credit files or maybe they need to build a credit file by doing something as simple as registering for the voter’s roll.



How long does mortgage approval take?


This differs from case to case and it’s one thing we can consider when deciding where best to place a mortgage, particularly if a quick turn - around is needed.  I have seen cases go to offer in a few days and then some can take a few weeks.  A very important part of our job is having as much of the work done as possible before an application is even submitted, our expertise nearly allows us to pre-empt what will be required or asked at underwriting stage.  We relieve the pressure and stress of clients having to deal directly with a lender or underwriter themselves.  If we process your application, it will only be us you speak to.  Knowing this often puts people at ease.



Do you need to make an appointment with a specialist at Reavey Financial Services or can you just walk in?


Ideally, we would like to have a brief telephone chat before an appointment – only in case we need to do some pre appointment research or to advise you of what information to bring to appointment.  However, if you are passing or have been sent directly to us after visiting one of the local estate agents, with 4 advisers, we will endeavour to fit you in.