On Thursday, October 1st at 7pm, The Irish Times will host its first virtual mortgage switcher event in association with Ulster Bank. The event is part of Switch it Up, a really useful 12-part content series that’s filled with information and inspiration for potential mortgage switchers. Plus, two lucky attendees will win Zoom consultations with our panellists.
Help is at the core of Switch it Up Live. This free event will feature expert information on switching your mortgage, as well as inspiration and great ideas from speakers who will give insights into what can be done in the home with any financial savings that may be made.
The panel of guests will feature host Ciara Elliott, editorial director at House and Home magazine; architect Gearóid Carvill of abgc architecture and design; interiors Instagrammer Katrina Carroll, aka Vintage Irish Kat; and Wayne Kirby, Ulster Bank area manager. Kirby has more than 20 years’ experience in mortgage market lending and he will talk through the steps of the switching process, explain what you need and reveal the tips to know.
Two viewers will win a one-hour Zoom consultation with either Gearóid Carvill or Katrina Carroll, where they can build on what they’ve learned during Switch it Up Live to ask questions and get answers on interiors and energy efficiency topics.
On the night, Wayne Kirby will help to demystify the switching process in conversation with Ciara Elliott. “It’s far simpler than you might imagine,” he says. “We are there to provide the help and support you’ll need, and on the night I’ll be able to explain how you may be able to free up funds by switching.” Kirby will outline how you could save by switching, how long it might take and much more.
Elliott says it’s a great time to explore your home’s potential. “People are making their spare room into a home office, or they’re looking at creating a gym. We’re using all our available space,” she says.
“That’s extending into the garden where people are adding pods, or decking so that they can socialise safely. I think we’ll be seeing more of a Scandinavian approach where we use our gardens year-round, adding heaters and rugs.” When it comes to interiors, Elliott says we’re moving towards more sustainable approaches.
That’s the focus for Gearóid Carvill. A mine of information around improving the experience and quality of the home, he advocates easy energy upgrades, many of which don’t cost the earth. During Switch it Up Live, he will explain how even minor changes, such as swapping to energy-efficient light bulbs or putting an aerator on a tap (and reducing water consumption by 75 per cent) can make a difference to a building’s energy rating (BER).
“Changing heating systems, installing solar panels and externally insulating your home are all significant capital investments. However, insulating your attic, upgrading your heating controls, swapping out inefficient light bulbs or installing flow controllers on taps are all very modest expenses,” he says. In fact, a flow controller, costing as little as ¤10, will see a lot less hot water used and energy saved.
Carvill will explain the importance of choosing the appropriate works to undertake for each home, as well as clever ways to establish whether the home is working efficiently. Many of the changes Carvill will discuss will have the added benefit of reducing air pollution.
“Using renewable technologies like heat pumps and solar water systems will reduce your reliance on fossil fuels for heating. Installing renewables like photovoltaic panels will further reduce your reliance on electricity. Consider installing a green roof: the plants clean the air and reduce storm water runoff which is a problem everywhere from Lahinch to Dublin Bay and will also increase biodiversity,” he says.
Katrina Carroll is a mine of information about simple but effective design ideas that can be carried out for a couple of hundred euro, or the equivalent of what could potentially be saved monthly by switching to a fixed rate.
A gallery wall can transform a plain and simple space. “Get a few frames, and things that are special to you. Make it a little bit different, and you have a unique and interesting feature in a room,” Carroll says.
Many homeowners dream of a brand new kitchen but getting an up-to-date look can be as simple as painting cupboards and changing the door handles. Similarly, light fittings can be handmade. “Buy a simple lampshade and add anything to it, like fringing or beading. You can make a cheaper lampshade look expensive that way,” she says.
And she insists that artistic flair is not needed to paint a wall mural. “Look up examples on Pinterest and with the help of some Frog tape and patience you can make something wonderful.”
Want new flooring? DIY it. Buy a stencil and some paint and create tile-effect flooring. “This will save you so much money and you will have a beautiful floor,” Carroll says.
For lots more advice and tips, and to be in with a chance to win one of two free Zoom consultations with Gearóid Carvill or Katrina Carroll, get your free ticket to Switch it Up Live on October 1st at 7pm
About Switch it Up
Switch it Up is a new 12-part series for those who might be considering switching mortgage provider to make savings on their monthly repayments. It is a follow-up to the award-winning Story of Home series, which explored the idea of home through the eyes of creative people who found their dream place to live.
Now, Switch it Up, which like Story of Home is supported by Ulster Bank, looks at helpful information on home improvements as well as renovators’ home tours. Plus, we’ve got helpful answers to your mortgage switching queries: from the incentives to how long it will take (not long!) and what’s involved in making a mortgage switch, read our guide to everything you need to know about switching your mortgage, at irishtimes.com/switchitup.
Perhaps now, more than ever, we want our homes to suit the way we live and work, and being able to explore the potential in our homes offers us flexibility. This series is designed to unlock the ways in which we might Switch it Up in our homes as our wants and needs change.
Switching your mortgage could free up funds to help you make these changes. “At Ulster Bank, we want to be a part of the journey you take in making your home the best it can be,” says Seán Kellaghan, mobile mortgage manager at Ulster Bank.
“We want to make the mortgage-switching process as simple and as hassle-free as you do,” he adds. Kellaghan understands the stress that can come with making a switch, and he offers reassurance.
“We are here to help you, and the process is a lot shorter and a lot more straightforward than you might think. Get in touch today and we can talk you through the options and the process.”
For more information, visit ulsterbank.ie
Ulster Bank Ireland DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland