'As a first time buyer you have to annoy and pester people really' - how one couple secured a mortgage exception
Shauna Burke bought a five-bedroom home in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, for €485,000.
"We started looking in February of this year, so it wasn't a very long search for us - we were quite lucky. We bought in an estate called Peyton, Rathcoole, through Coonan Property.
"We had both always saved even when we had part-time jobs when we were younger. I am an in-house recruiter and my boyfriend Kenneth is a network engineer.
"The Help to Buy scheme was a huge motivating factor for us, because obviously it's giving you potentially up to €20,000 off a house.
"The whole process takes a lot of research and a bit of tenacity. You have to ask a lot of questions, of the bank, the builder, and the solicitor. Annoy people really. I asked every silly question under the sun, because I would rather have them answered. You do really have to pester all those moving parts as you're going through, contact them nearly every day to move them along. One thing you realise very quickly is you are not their number one priority. So if you want things done, you have to take charge and think, 'I'm going to follow up until this is completed'.
"I'm 25. We both lived with our parents, so we had never rented or anything like that. Getting mortgage approval was actually challenging. We were looking for a mortgage exception. Bigger banks tend to give out all their exceptions at the start of the year.
"A mortgage exception is getting approved for more than the combined 3.5 times your salaries. It is hard to get one. You require extra documentation, and you have to have good savings behind you, and be able to prove that you are saving above what will be needed to pay the mortgage for maybe a year or more.
"By the time we had started to consider getting a mortgage it was mid to late March. Bank of Ireland turned us down because they couldn't get an exception for us at that point, even though it had been their suggestion that we go for a mortgage, when we went in to set up a joint account. But we went to Permanent TSB, and within a few weeks we had got our exception, in early May. We got 4.1 times our combined salaries."