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How to buy your first home in the crazy Dublin housing market

Group of friends at party

15 May 2018

Posted in:  First Time Buyer

So you’re in the market for your first home.

Unfortunately, it’s the dreaded Dublin market, where already-stratospheric prices are still going up.

But don’t despair: new home-building, while way behind demand, is starting to pick up while prices are rising less sharply.

If you have your mortgage arranged and follow our guide there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be settling down in front of the fire in your dream house well in time for Christmas with a nice warming glass of festive punch in your hand!

Don’t settle for avocado bathrooms

First question: are you going to buy new or second-hand?

Buying new has lots of pluses. You will be the first to live in – and put your stamp on – the property.

So no more avocado-coloured bathroom suites and red velour wallpaper to rip out and tear down.

Unless of course you’re a retro-décor nut and avocado and red velour are your thing – in which case you can plaster the house with them!

New homes are far more energy efficient with better fire-safety features. Second-hand is a good option too though, if buying new isn’t on the cards. They often have larger gardens and may be closer to town, in a well-established area with a community feel. Plus, they have a feeling of character that some new homes don’t.

And buying new comes with its own challenges too. New homes don’t come cheap – or in some cases without queuing overnight.

But it shouldn’t be necessary to root out your sleeping bag, if you’re on top of your game.

Check the ads on Myhome.ie and Daft.ie and contact the estate agent for pricing and further information.

Register on both websites to be alerted when suitable new (and second-hand) homes become available.

Irishhouse.ie also provides an updated list of new builds available in Dublin, Wicklow, Cork and Kildare.

Find out early about upcoming schemes, especially those being sold ‘off the plans’ and consider putting down a deposit early.

Next, check if you’re eligible for the ‘help to buy’ scheme, which provides up to €20,000 for first-time buyers.

Snag list

And when you do buy, be thorough when drawing up your ‘snag list’, taking time to go over every nook and cranny.

You may be delighted with its gleaming new paint and fittings but this may be your last chance to fix things that will annoy you for years to come if you don’t take note of them now.

You won’t get any snag list when buying second-hand. When it comes to décor and minor issues, what you see is what you get.

But your lender needs a valuation and it makes sense to get a more comprehensive survey done too.

Structural issues can cost a lot to fix and may even lead to a bank refusing you a loan for a particularly dodgy abode.

Problems usually lie out of sight in rotting joists and rafters – and crumbling plaster.

But canny buyers learn to spot the tell-tale signs of dampness, irregular floors or walls and sagging roofs.

Beware the flat-roofed extension

Another common problem is a flat-roofed extension. Even if it looks okay, the whole house may have to be expensively revamped because of poor design – i.e. the loo is behind the kitchen.

Whether you buy new or second-hand, make sure the price is right.

Check local property prices on www.propertyregister.ie

Don’t forget it’s a rising market and sales can take six months or more to go through. So don’t expect to pay a year-old price.

Take a few strolls around the area – day and evening – and talk to neighbours. Most people are happy to chat.

Ask about local amenities – and issues. Also Google the area and check what’s planned on the local council website.

Flat or house?

Next question: apartment or house?

Apartments are cheaper than newly built houses – but not without reason.

They’re obviously smaller and don’t have a garden.

Apartments also have sometimes-onerous management fees – and some were badly built during the boom.

They are generally regarded as starter homes, which is a major pricing disadvantage into the future, as younger family buyers generally won’t trade up to even the best apartments.

However, a large apartment in a good area may be sought-after by older couples downsizing when their families grow up.

Flip prejudice in your favour

Another tip for smart buyers is to spot up-and-coming areas.

Think Crumlin, Whitehall or Stoneybatter – all profiled in handy Local EBS Mortgage Master blogs.

Also think time instead of distance when calculating your commute. A motorway may shrink distances considerably in terms of travel time.

Parts of Donabate for example, can be within 25 minutes of Dublin city, off-peak.

Try to turn irrational prejudices in your favour. There’s no reason prices should be cheaper on the northside – but they are.

That’s annoying for northsiders but good news for buyers.

Happy house-hunting!

Are you in the market for a new home?

If you find that you and your partner have ticked most (or all) of these boxes, then congrats. You are well on your way towards being ready to buy!

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 Masters, or get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer guide.

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

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.

EBS d.a.c. is an authorised agent and servicer of EBS Mortgage Finance (a wholly-owned subsidiary of EBS d.a.c.). EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. EBS Mortgage Finance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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