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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You will get one email a month with a summary of posts from that month so you can keep up-to-date with my progress and failures. Grand job!