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Buying a property - Here's where to start

Here's how to save for a property, apply for a mortgage and find the perfect home

You've probably already heard it but buying a home can be one of the most stressful things you can do. But don't be alarmed, there are some tips that can make the process so much easier. Read this 12 step guide and you will be much more prepared to take the best steps forward.

To get Ready to Search

1. Start Saving Early

  • Deposit: If you're a first time buyer you will need a deposit of 10% of the value of the home in order to secure a mortgage. If you have bought other properties before you will need to have at least 20%.

  • Closing costs: There are loads of hidden costs to buying a home. From stamp duty to structural reports the costs can build up. You can save money by shopping around so it's worth taking time to research. You can find out what these are in our Buying Budget Calculator.

  • Move-in expenses: Once you are moved in you will need some cash to do immediate repairs, furnishing and upgrades so make sure there's funds left in the piggy bank.

2. Find out how much you can afford

It's really important to find out exactly what you can afford right now or how long it will take to save a larger deposit. Daft's Buying Budget Calculator will help you set your price range so you can find out what to look for.

3. Check your credit rating

Your credit rating will determine whether a bank will offer you a mortgage so it's a good idea to check it out before applying; particularly if you missed loan or credit card repayments when you were younger.

In Ireland, there is currently only one organisation that holds credit information about you and can provide credit reports. The Central Credit Register can do this and good news is, it's free.

To get Ready to View

4. Find out what type of mortgage you want

There are a range of mortgage options available and the two most typical types are Variable and Fixed rate. There are pros and cons to both and will depend on your needs and circumstance.

Read this article for more info --> Should i get a variable or a fixed rate mortgage?

In Ireland this longest fixed rate you can get is for up to 10 years.

5. Find out any grants you may be eligible for

The Help to Buy (HTB) incentive is a scheme for first-time property buyers. This can help you to build up the deposit you need to buy or build a new house or apartment. The incentive works by giving you a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) that you paid in Ireland from the four years prior to making the application. This can give you up to an additional €30,000 spending power.

6. Research mortgage rates and fees

Make sure you work with a broker or do research online to find the best rate that you can. This may include cash offers and other incentives that lenders will offer.

7. Get a pre-approval letter

An approval in principle or pre-approval letter doesn’t mean that you have a mortgage yet, or that you’ll be guaranteed that exact amount when the time comes, but it does give you a better idea of how much a lender would be willing to give you. This may help you secure viewings easier for properties and will mean you can start bidding once you've found your dream home.

To get Ready to Offer

8. Pick the right type of house and neighbourhood

Think about the pros and cons of different types of homes, given your lifestyle and budget. A second-hand terraced house may be more affordable than a detached new build, but shared walls with neighbours will mean less privacy. Another option to consider is buying a "fixer-upper", which usually sell for less per square foot than move-in ready homes. However, construction costs are high so you would have to budget extra for repairs and remodelling. Make sure to think about your long-term needs. If you plan to start a family or rent out rooms it make sense to search for homes with more space.

Take a look at our Neighbourhood Guides

9. Stick to your budget

While in the heat of a bidding war it may be tempting to keep increasing your offer. But remember, buying a home is very expensive and there are many hidden costs so once you've set a limit stick to it. Even if it means bowing out of the sale it means you won't be in a situation later where others costs and fees can no longer be afforded.

To get Ready to Close

10. Get a surveyors report

Once you're sale agreed its a really good idea to get a thorough surveyors report done. This will make you aware of any structural issues or problems that may cost a lot to repair once you're moved in. Since this is probably the biggest purchase you'll ever make the €300-€500 that it costs is well worth it.

11. Get good home insurance

When you get a mortgage you must have home insurance and this protects you in case of something like fire. Home insurance can cost upwards from €280 and it's best to shop around to get the best price. Make sure to pay insurance for the cost of rebuilding your new home and not the market value. You can use this calculator from SCSI to estimate those costs.

12. Keep some savings aside

Buying a home is expensive and it's not just the cost for the properties. There are many hidden costs, such as legal fees and taxes so make sure you have some budget for these. Daft's Buying Budget Calculator can help you estimate this costs.


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