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30 Aug 2017

Posted in:  First Time Buyer

You learn from your own mistakes, that’s for sure. But isn’t learning from other people’s mistakes a lot easier? We think so. When buying a house, there’s so much to consider and so much to learn about the process too (good and bad).

The best way to figure it all out, is to chat to other buyers who have been there, done that, and worn the t-shirt. Seeking advice from those who have lived through it will (hopefully) provide you with some food for thought in terms of location, amenities and style of home.

EBS have been selling homes for eight decades, too. We’ve chatted to a lot of buyers in this time, and we’ve heard all the home buying tips under the sun. Recently, we sat down with five buyers and two buyers-to-be and asked them to share their experiences. Here’s what they had to say.

Elizabeth and Dan, house-hunting in Tallaght

“We’d definitely love to start a family, so for us we’re thinking in terms of practicalities. We’d like our parents to be able to come to visit (and hopefully help out!) when we do have kids. Because my mam doesn’t drive, we’d need to be on a bus or Luas route. Childcare is so expensive, so we’d all be hoping that she could look after the kids during the day. So that would be a huge priority for us. Because family is important to us, we’d also be hoping for somewhere with a parking spot for two cars and an open-plan living space.


“Financially, anything with a poor energy efficiency rating would be out. We’re hoping for somewhere with an A rating so that we aren’t wasting money on heat and electricity. This should be easy enough to find since we’re only looking at new builds so that we can avail of the tax rebate for first time buyers. With this, basically you can claim tax over the last four years up to five percent of the property price. This can be used against the 10 percent deposit so it’s a huge incentive to buy a new build. If we went for a second-hand house we'd have to pay the full 10 percent deposit and can't claim any tax back.”

Andi, just bought an apartment in south Dublin city

“My deal-breakers were somewhere without a parking space. This isn’t always a guarantee, especially in the city centre. A close proximity to public transport was also something I placed priority on. Another practical consideration I had was the management fee of the building, and what that led the overall cost to be. Buying was obviously expensive, but it made more sense than renting and I know it was a great investment.

“In the apartment itself, I really wanted separate living spaces and a second bedroom. I also needed tons of storage. I was sick of renting flats where I was constantly looking at mess and there was no possibility for keeping things organised and zen! I’m so glad that this apartment has finally allowed me to have a homely, grown-up space. When you’re working long hours, it’s lovely to think this is where I’m coming home to.”

Joanna and Michael, bought a home in Clontarf two years ago

“Our home buying process was quite different from most people. We went from thinking about looking to having our keys 12 weeks later! 


“We were pretty thrilled about this, having spent years renting tiny flats with damp issues. So definitely somewhere that was large enough to actually live in, and dry enough to live healthily in was the goal! Also, we knew that buying would make more financial sense. And as it turns out, our mortgage repayments aren’t much more than what we used to spend on rent.

“We were looking forward to putting our own stamp on the home with cosmetic updates, but we weren’t looking for a major renovation project. Another thing that was really important to me was location and community. I really wouldn’t want to have lived somewhere where I didn’t have a favourite local coffee shop, or where I didn’t get to have a little chat when I’m in the butchers. We wanted ‘a home’; a feeling rather than just a nice building that ticks all the boxes of south-facing windows etc. etc.

“I spotted a place online and viewed it the following day with my dad. It wasn’t exactly the massive, Georgian house I had always dreamed of… but I got ‘the feeling’. We put a bid on it before my husband had even seen it – I’m very persuasive like that! Well, when you know, you know!


“Long story short, we got the house. A very stressful few weeks with solicitors, life insurance brokers, medical checks but on a Friday evening, we drove to the estate agent and collected our keys! There's no better feeling than closing the door for the first time in your new home, knowing that it's where you'll be either forever or until you decide it's time to move on.”

Claire and Paddy, bought and renovated a terrace cottage in Portobello

“In the search for our house, I definitely wanted an older period property; they have so much character which I was really drawn to. With this though, and with any property, it's imperative to have a survey of the property done, and for the roof and structure to be examined. Location was of utmost importance, being close to the city, and even in the few years we've been here, we couldn't be happier with our choice; we have some of the best cafés within a five to 10-minute walk.


“Having three bedrooms was important for rental potential at present and for potential family growth in the future. The aspect of the back garden wasn't something we were overly concerned with, but for the future if I was moving, it's something I would place more value on. Our back garden gets sunshine in the afternoon in the summer, but by about five o'clock, it's dropped, so we don't get to enjoy the sunshine later in the evening. That's definitely something I would consider for the future and recommend to other house-hunters.

“There were plenty of things I didn't love about the property such as the bathroom and kitchen layout, but since I knew I wanted to put my own stamp on the place anyway, that wasn't a concern. With Paddy having a background in carpentry and being a building surveyor and me being a designer and having a flair for interior design, we were ready to get our hands dirty and saw the potential in the place to get it to where we wanted it.

“As long as a property is in a good location, with good amenities nearby, and in good condition, you can change just about anything else you're not happy with (well, if budget allows). So I wouldn't let hideous wallpaper or the current owners décor affect your decision.”

Are you in the market for your first home?

Find out how much you can afford to borrow with our mortgage calculator,  book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our mortgage experts, or get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer guide.

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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.

EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

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