When it came to buying a house I got lucky. Real lucky.

While the recession in Ireland was awful for so many people there was a silver lining for me at least. By 2012, I saved up a deposit by being fortunate enough to stay in contracted employment (working one full time and one part-time job). I was ready to apply for a mortgage.

Being a single applicant with an average combined salary of circa 35,000 with a deposit of 22,000. AIB were willing to offer me variable rate mortgage of €130,000 at 4.5%. At that time, the housing market had hit rock-bottom. But still, my upper-limit of 150,000 meant that the areas available to me included Ballyfermot, Blanchardstown, Balbriggan and of course, the lovely Finglas (historically one of the cheapest places to buy property in Dublin). If you are not familiar with the socio-economic status of the areas in Dublin, none of the above would be considered especially affluent.

Finding My House

I should note here that I was looking at houses, not apartments. A few things put me off appartments:

  • You’re potentially surrounded on all sides.
  • If the place above you floods, you’re screwed.
  • You have to pay management fees and in 2012 there were plenty of reports of management companies going bust or not doing much with their tenants fees.
  • Building regulations during the Celtic Tiger, when many apartments were built, were not stringent enough.
  • There’s no garden and drying clothes is a nightmare as many places restrict the use of balconies for this purpose (if you have a balcony)

In the spirit of being a true millennial I did most of my “viewings” online and actually only physically viewed three houses before making my decision. That might sound shocking to some people but to give a little context; I was very clear on what I wanted and I used Daft.ie to find it fast. Shopping is boring to me so viewing house after house seemed equally dull. I also got a surveyor’s report on the property which was very comprehensive. The guy who showed up to do it was kitted out like a Ghostbuster.

The Buying Process

The buying process was pretty straight forward. Standard application for mortgage will all the paper work of bank statements, credit history, savings, employment history, payslips, etc. I worked with a local solicitor and estate agent. The estate agent told me after the bidding process that every other interested party was a family – I was the only single person. Sorry kids. Bidding added about 10k to the final purchase price which was €144,000 which was 6k shy of my upper limit.

One thing that my friends and family found odd was how I kept the entire thing quite. Throughout the viewing and buying process, only my boss and my physiotherapist knew that I was purchasing a home. This took a lot of stress out of things because my friends and family would have been filled with questions for me at every stage of the process. Keeping my mouth shut about what I was doing meant I avoided a lot of repetitive questions from friends and family.

The Costs of Buying My House
Stamp Duty1,440
Legal Fees1,584
Mortgage Valuation130
Balance on Sale of House122,000
Interest Paid on MortgageTBC
Vacate FeeTBC
Running Total147,504
Refurbishing and Adding Value to My House

When I first moved in I had to clear out the previous owner’s leftovers. I only read after the fact that you can force a seller to complete empty the house. In this case they left beds and some furniture. Obviously the beds got dumped but admittedly I did use the kitchen table for a while. They previous owners were smokers so all soft furnishings had to go. Took me a few weeks of cleaning to get rid of the smell but I suspect it contributed to the lower price point of the house.

Since then i have been making slow and steady steps forward in refurbishing the house. I keep a close eye on what I spend to improve it and I only count the items that I consider to be permanent fixtures rather than the stuff I buy to decorate or make use of in the house. Some of the major improvements include a new bathroom, new floors, insulating the attic, upgrading the alarm system and landscaping the garden. Other refurbishment costs are more trial like paint and new door stops. Costings are below.

Attic stairs350
Paint, sandpaper, silicon49.67
2x hooks, double socket, switch, moulded box, bulbs x 432.75
Lagging Jacket14.99
Boiler Upgrade2000
Electrical Wiring Supplies165.58
Electrical Wiring Supplies7.5
Door bell10
Security light and sample tile11
Bathoom tiles and furniture1030
Shower enclosure, tray and waste340
Ikea bathroom cabinet50
Ikea toilet bathroom accessories12
Ikea towel hook5.25
Extra border tile18.84
Two extra boxes of wall tiles32.29
Bathroom renovation2250
Spare keys17
Kitchen Tap30
Outdoor tap and installation (inc kitchen tap)115
Seven cement blocks for shed5.08
Door stop for bathroom12.15
Door handle on hot press3
Floors for house3050
Blinds for all windows490
Chimney Balloon24
2 x caulk tubes4
Weather door strip8.5
Vent for sitting room6
4 x pendant light fittings8
Matt white wood paint32
Waste disposal35
Manure (3 Bags)6
3 x White paint48
2 tonne Clonard Gold, 25kg bag Scottish Pebble, Delivery (60)250
Alarm upgrade250
2 x white gloss, 1 x white spirits24.27
2 x door hooks, 2 x door stops, 2 x door seal47.9
4 tonnes of Clonard Gold stone plus delivery460
6 x floating shelf brackets6.35
6 lengths of 2×118.43
2 lengths of 2×1, 1 length of 9×1, I length 2.4m, 9mm dowel23.94
2 x drawer slides9.65
sheet of 9mm plywood20
Continuing to Add Value

I have a list of DIY projects that I want to complete in the house over the coming year. Having tenants limits some of these but I will work around that. Some of these project include:

  • adding raised beds to the front garden
  • making two parking spaces by removing part of the front wall
  • possibly building an outdoor room in the back garden
  • Building storage spaces under the stairs

I will post progress on my blog.

Current Market Value

Out of curiosity I wanted to get a rough idea of the value of the house now that the economy has recovered and the housing crisis is driving prices up.  Looking at the Residential Property Price Register I can see that similar houses in my area have sold this year in the region of €250,000.  Sounds great but if I sold it now I would not have anywhere to live and all the other houses have increased in line with this. I may also have to pay Capital Gains tax but I am not sure? I need to research that.

Post Date

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