A Closer Look
at my New Investment Property
in Wicklow, Ireland

Well feck lockdown anyway. COVID has really interfered with my new investment property in many ways. It’s not just the obvious stuff of travel restrictions. I have spent only two nights in my new house.  I am legally compliant and actually safer when I go to my place in Wicklow now. Legal because I can travel to/from work to my house and safer because I am totally alone in Wicklow as opposed to sharing in Dublin.

But the other knock-on effect of COVID has been work. I am a teacher so deemed an essential worker. I will be the first to say that teachers have it easy a lot of the time (remember I  work in the public and private sectors so I get to say stuff like that).

Anyway, I can honestly say that I have never been so stressed in my teaching job before. We are in a blended learning environment and working to what can only be described as a Rubik’s cube timetable. I describe myself as a very organised guy;  I am also very comfortable with technology. But even I have been pushed to my limits with work. Managing the added admin has taken up all of my free time and has me working evenings and weekends just to keep up. 

Locked down and still time-poor

Given that I have been so busy with my job(s), I haven’t had much time since acquiring the second house to either start formulating a clearer plan or begin any renovation work. On the two very short occasions when I did visit, I managed to:

  • meet the neighbors and learned their names (lovely people, still don’t know my next-door neighbours in Dublin).
  • try out the local chipper (twice).
  • move a bed and a room heater into one of the bedrooms.
  • start clearing out the stuff left behind by the previous owner.
  • install two fire alarms.
  • get an engineer out to see about installing the internet (didn’t go well).
  • inspect the oil burner and confirm that it is pretty much a write off.
  • uncover the oil tank under loads of ivy and confirm that it contains a small amount of liquid (I’m a city boy who has only ever had gas, I don’t know about such things).
  • test the chimney for blockages (lol… by lighting a fire and hoping for the best).
  • buy a kettle and a coffee plunger (essential!).
  • bring up the bare essentials such as a towel, some cups and cutlery.
  • bring up some spare tools.
  • try the shower (electric, goes from hot to cold).
  • begin exerting dominance over the neighbor’s nine cats that have been shitting all over my lawn and make them understand that they are not welcome. 

Photos of My New Investment Property

Ah! It’s yourself, come in, come in. Sorry the place is barren. 
I literally juts bought a kettle but I don’t have teabags, sugar or anything remotely useful

Hallway and Stairs

You can just make out a fuse box above the door. Has old school ceramic fuses. Needs to be updated and replaced. 

Hallway 3
Door needs a bit of attention as it is hard to close from outside
Hallway 2
A small storage room under the stairs and plenty of space in front of it too
Hallway 1
Yep, the bathroom is downstairs and the end of the hall, to the left is the sitting room and the next door is the kitchen

Sitting Room

This room is a little small, but still cozy. An old aerial line comes down from the chimney and in the front of the house. There is also an old disused telephone line

Sitting Room 2
Sitting room
Sitting Room 3
The sofas are comfy, they will do until I get a chance to modernise
Sitting Room 1
Net curtains bring me right back to my own Granny's house

Bathroom

Downstairs bathrooms suck, nobody wants to go downstairs during the night – its freezing. I don’t have the budget to move the bathroom upstairs and extend the kitchen. It might be a project for the future but for now I just need to modernise this bathroom.

Bathroom 2
Kitted out for easy access and use by a less able body person
Bathroom 1
The shower works but oscillates from hot to cold while functioning

Kitchen

The kitchen is small and sparse with the back door in the corner. There is a sink, some cabinets and a countertop oven that looks like it would start a fire if I turned it on. Even I feel nostalgic in this kitchen. My gran had a council house with that exact same sink and taps combo. Even the cabinet doors are the same.

Kitchen 3
Lots of light, nice big window
Kitchen 2
Some pipes running down the left corner, boxed in
Kitchen 1
Three generations of a family had tea at that table.
An Irish kitchen design classic

Bedrooms

The three bedrooms are accessed immediately at the top of the stairs with only a tiny “landing”, there is a window at the top of the stairwell.

stairwell
How am I going to clean that window?
landing
A very short landing
attic access
Attic access
bedroom
Smallest bedroom at the rear
bedroom
Smallest bedroom
bedroom
Largest bedroom at the front
bedroom
Largest bedroom
bedroom
Mid-size bedroom at rear
bedroom
Mid-size bedroom (there's a water tank inside that wardrobe)

Out the Back

There are lovely dogs on either side of my garden (and a few cats…boo!). There are two sheds in the garden and both need replacing. As does the oil burner. After I took these photos, I uncovered the oil tank from the ivy in the back right corner of the garden.

Can't wait to transform this
Back garden detail
Sheds will have to go
Oil burner
No heating until I can afford a new system ... lol

Talking to Wicklow County Council

I thought it would be a good idea to talk to Wicklow County Council as I was formulating the list of things I will need to do to the house before I rent it out. There is a standard list that will be my guide for renovation standards.

A few people in the FIRE Whatsapp group have spoken very favourably about HAP and RAS schemes with local councils. Wicklow Co. Co. have already indicated that they would be provisionally interested in my place. I will be discussing the process with them soon. 

The To-Do List So Far

At this point, the plan is for a slow, part-time live-in renovation. If I can get decent internet and a few more basics (desk, fridge and oven) then it will be able to live and work there. 

I’m not doing anything structural because I don’t have the budget. In fact, I don’t have any budget at all yet. I guess 10-15k at least? I will be running the numbers in another post soon enough. But there is another consideration; my father has offered to buy me 10K worth of renovation work and furnishings because his pension paid out over the summer. 

I said no immediately telling him that he should take a (post-apocalypse) holiday and spend his hard-earned money on himself. He keeps pestering me about it but I don’t feel comfortable taking it. I may consider a loan. 

Either way, I am busy with formulating a to-do list for the house, which currently includes all of this:

  • Get a radon test
  • Replace the heating system
  • Clean roof and gutters
  • Get chimney cleaned
  • Repair chimney plastering
  • Insulate the attic
  • Get a new fuse board
  • Renovate the bathroom and kitchen
  • Build new wardrobes
  • Demolish two rotten sheds
  • Rebuild a larger shed with a fuse board and insulation (maybe an outdoor room?)
  • Landscape two low maintenance gardens
  • Demo and replace a fireplace
  • Lubricate and clean all windows
  • and much, much more.

There really is a lot to do and a lot I don’t know about. Oil fired central heating being at the top of that list. How does that even work? Argh… fossil fuels… not really what I want but, can I afford to switch to electric heating with solar? I’m sure it would be worth it. As an investment, it needs to “wash its face” but I don’t mind spending on features that will make it more environmentally sustainable. 

If anyone out there is a property investor who can give me some pointers I would really welcome the advice. 

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7 thoughts on “A Closer Look at my New Investment Property”

  1. Way to go on the purchase! Sorry you’ve been having a tough time during lockdown. My father-in-law has the SAME kitchen table, still in use today lol. On getting the gift from your dad, consider if there was a way for your mom to gift you a portion from an account in her name as well to reduce Capital Acquisition Tax (CAT), you can get a gift of 3k from each parent each year without paying any CAT, but if it all comes from your Dad then I don’t think you can claim it’s from them both. Something to look into if you go that route 🙂 If you have a partner they can also gift them money so you could get 12k/year CAT free in that case.

    1. Thanks a million Meagan, with lockdown and my busy work schedule right now it’s going to be a bit of time before I get much work done in the place. Thanks also for the advice on CGT, I had read that each parent can gift a child with 3k per annum. I have an aversion to taking hand outs from my folks though, I don’t really know why. But if I do decide to accept I will do as you suggest.

      1. Ah I totally get you on the handouts. You could take it as a loan though in order to help get the work done more quickly and then pay them back with the proceeds of the rent until it’s paid back. Quicker time to market for your investment to start generating income 🙂

  2. Just discovered your brilliant blog
    Really honest and informative writing style
    Looking forward to to following your journey

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