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7 home buying secrets from a top Irish designer

Modern wooden coffee table and cozy sofa with pillows. Living room interior and home decor concept

26 May 2017

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Buying a house comes with a lot of think-time and many believe it’s not entirely a money issue.

Sure, getting mortgage approved is a big step, but what exactly are you going to put in your house now you’ve bought it? And how will your humble abode stack up in terms of design features?

We caught up with interior designer, Amy Holmes, from multi-award winning design firm, Kingston Lafferty Design, to find out her seven top things to consider when buying a house.

1. Aim for lots of windows

Windows are the eyes of the home, so how are those peepers looking? If your desired house has a low BER rating, you may need to look to the windows to see if they will stand the test of time or if they will need replacing. Windows for a standard size house start at around €10k so this is a heavy consideration.

It is also hugely important to remember that you will be living inside the house, rather than just standing outside looking in! Look at the shape and colour options of the windows and make sure they will stand the test of time and work with the colours you want inside.

Most companies offer the option of having different colours outside and inside.

2. Do your research on old structures

While many of us dream of a lavish period home, it could be more hassle than it’s worth. If the home is in a conservation area and protected, you may be met with a lot of yellow tape when the time comes to renovate.

The yellow tape is often wrapped tight and even includes window style to protecting the crumbling coving in your hall.

Be informed, and check with your local county council first to find out what restrictions you may or may not be working with. It is easy to fall in love and get sucked in. Often the restrictions come with associated costs – and what seemed like a small job can quickly get very expensive.

3. Consider room to expand

If you plan to expand be sure to envisage what you want and the space it will need. For example, if you have close neighbours, your 40sqm metre garden may not be so spacious after all when you are maintaining up to 20 metres between existing windows opposite you.

It is also worth doing your homework to see what previous work has been carried out on the house as this could impact whether you will require planning permission or not.

4. Check up on previous work

Try to find out the names of any architects/contractors who have recently carried out work on the property. When problems arise in the house, oftentimes these are your quickest points of contact for answers.

They will often have the most up to date plans of the house, and if you ask nicely for a copy you will save yourself the expense of getting it resurveyed for interior design purposes.

5. Keep your plumbing in mind

If you want to add three ensuites and that extra downstairs loo, then you’ll want to check your existing tank capacity. A new tank can cost a pretty penny or two and it’s always heart breaking for us to see the design budget plummet to accommodate these crucial elements.

6. Go hunting for nice finishes

Are there solid timber floors hidden under that shag carpet? Beautiful aged brick hidden behind stucco plaster? These are the gems we all hope and wish for. Hard to discover pre-purchase but check neighbouring properties if possible and invest in a surveyor’s report to get a head start on the finishes of your dream home (not to mention any major red flags in the structure).

7. Have vision

This one is essential. You need to be able to see beyond a house’s current state to the bright potential it possesses. Without it, you may pass up on a wonderful home due to the brown flower pattern carpet, or see only a dark back room where your bright airy kitchen could be.

We don’t all have it, and if you recognise your talents lying elsewhere then an interior designer can be the eyes, ears and general visionary you need!

Happy house hunting and good luck!

Are you thinking of buying your own home?

Planning what to do with your interiors can be difficult but it’s not your first priority if you’re still waiting to find your dream house. So why not call into your local EBS office to see if you’re eligible for a mortgage.

Get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer guide. You can also use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you may be able to borrow, or book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our mortgage experts.

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for the latest home inspiration, news and great competitions.

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The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

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