What You Need to Get a Mortgage When Working From Home

Aug 18, 2022

Working From Home - WFH

Working from home has become a staple part of many worker's lives since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. For many this shift to remote work is a silver lining to what has been a challenging couple of years. Employees who enjoy working from their home experience benefits such as more time with their family, increased productivity without the distractions of an office, less wasted time commuting and increased flexibility in how they structure their work day around their daily lives.

The move to remote work has also been seen by home buyers as a way to move outside highly populated areas like Dublin City in search of better value for their money. Buyers are able to afford much larger properties further away from cities than if they were required to live closer to their place of work.

This trend is clearly reflected in how home prices rose in 2021, with properties outside Dublin rising faster than within. Outside Dublin apartment prices rose by a staggering 17.5% and house prices by 13.5%. In Dublin the increase was 9.7% for apartments and 13.5% for houses.

Remote Work Letter for Employees Working From Home

Some mortgage lenders are concerned that if an employee purchases a home a significant distance from their place of work and is then asked to return to the office that it could put a strain on that person’s ability to do their job and put their employment at risk.

Your lender will likely require a letter from your employer stating that you are able to continue working remotely indefinitely. Depending on the policy of the lender, they may also be happy with a letter saying that you can work remotely with the exception of 1-2 days per week. Of course, you won't need this letter if the home you're purchasing is within a commutable distance of your place of work, regardless of if you're working remotely or not.

This new requirement has posed challenges for companies who are still trying to determine what the future holds for their remote work policy. Some organisations are opting for a policy where employees are expected to be in the office part time while others are indecisive and do not want to commit to a remote-first workplace.

What is Considered a Commutable Distance?

The exact policy varies by lender with each having a different view on commute distance. It isn't uncommon for commuters to travel 90 minutes or more for work, though for longer distances you'll need to ask yourself if a lender might raise their eyebrows if they felt your employer could ask you to return to the office. Your bank may not flag this on your application until you get to the drawdown stage so it’s best to discuss it early in your application with your lender directly or your mortgage broker.

Sample Letter of Remote Work

A statement of remote work status should come in the form of a brief document on company letterhead from either your HR department or your manager.

The remote status of employment can be stated in the same employment letter/salary certificate given to you by your employer to prove your employment or it may be in a separate document.

You can use the following sample as a reference:

[Ciarán Fooly] is employed as a [Software Engineer] at [Lively.ie]. They can work remotely from anywhere in Ireland [for X days per month] without affecting their continued employment at the organization.

Getting confirmation from your employer regarding your WFH status is one of many criteria necessary to buy a home in Ireland. The Lively app can help you with everything you need to know, from what you should do if you receive a gift from your parents to getting your keys.

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