If lockdown taught us anything, it’s that all our homes could do with a bit of TLC, and many of us discovered that we can actually make a big difference to our space with very little effort.
So if you still have some home goals in mind, here are a few simple, fast and low cost tricks to improve your pad.
1. Front door: the critical first impression of any home. And if you’re thinking of selling, your front door is absolutely critical.
Your front door sets the vibe for your entire home and yet most of us completely ignore and neglect it, and fail to notice when it needs a bit of a sprucing up.
A weekend painting project awaits… Not sure what colour to go for? Remember that the traditional colours of black, red and grey never let you down. Every year, magazines tell us to go for the colour of the moment, but beware fads: mind green looks cold in winter, and orange soon starts to jar once autumn leaves have fallen.
Before you start, don’t forget to prepare the dfoor, otherwise you’ll soon be looking at cracked paintwork.
Cost: €60 will cover paint, brushes & sandpaper
2. Give your kitchen a facelift
Still on the painting vibe, the kitchen is the most important room in any house, so give it a well deserved make over with freshly painted cabinets. Caveat: not all kitchen doors can be painted, so do your homework first.
Painting the doors will certainly take more than a weekend, but it will be so worth it. Navy blue is the big look at the moment – but it will work best in a bright space. A dark kitchen will look even darker if you paint everything a dark colour. In that case, a mid smoky grey might be a safer option.
It’s definitely worth testing a few options – you’ll want the doors to go well with the walls, the floor and any tiling on the splashback.
Another great way to refresh the kitchen is to change the door handles and install some under cabinet lighting.
Paint option: €100 for paint and materials
Handles: €50 – €100 depending on quantity and quality
3. Nature calls
Research tells us that having plants in the home massively improves the air of a space as well as our mental wellbeing from sharing our space with plants. So why not inject some outdoors into your home with some plant therapy? Trick is to get advise about what works and where – what plants like a sunny windowsill and what ones like a quiet corner?
Be sure to buy the correct plant pot – ideally not one with a hole in the bottom that will leak onto the floor or carpet.
Also, a more mature plant is less likely to die, and will also look the business.
Most plants are pretty low maintenance – but don’t be completely neglectful either. Check out what care they need. Dying or dead plans add nothing to a home!
4. Skip to the loo
How badly do we treat our bathroom? We leave wet towels on its floor, empty toilet rolls on top of the cistern, and what about all those empty shampoo bottles on the floor of the shower!
If you even stand in the bathroom and look around, you’ll be amazed what little jobs you can see that need doing.
Here are a few bugbears straightened out:
5. Light up your life
If you’ve been living your life under a single ceiling light, then you’ll definitely appreciate a bit of focus lighting.
Lighting massively impacts our impression of a room. It’s amazing how much a small lamp or floor lamp will soften a room, as well as give light to a focus space like beside an armchair or a bedside table, for reading or just relaxing in softer light.
Big tip here: if you have 2 bedside tables / lockers, invest in 2 matching lamps. You can buy a cute lamp in Dunnes stores for €25. A floorlamp is a great way to use focus lighting without having somewhere to sit it. Cost: €25 – €100
Whether you’re a seasoned house hunter or a first timer, there are always important things to remember when viewing. Here are the top 8 things, according to expert Joanne Lavelle, that you should remember when you’re viewing a property.
Are you preparing your house for sale? Here are the 6 most important things you need to do NOW.
Joanne explains: We want to be able to show your house looking its best. Buyers don’t want to be distracted by a messy laundry room or a smelly loo! So be ready for your viewings. A good looking house will always out-perform one that’s not been properly prepared for sale.
IPAV, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers, has announced it is spearheading a new initiative to speed up the conveyancing of property – the legal process in transferring property title.
This week it has written to the Law Society of Ireland seeking its support for the introduction of a Seller’s Legal Pack, a collection of documents that would be provided to aspiring buyers when a property is placed on the market for sale, thereby front-loading the current process that takes an average of about four months.
IPAV’s Chief Executive, Pat Davitt, says his organisation’s recent Conveyancing Survey found 79pc of auctioneers are experiencing conveyancing delays from the time a property is deemed ‘sale agreed’ to when the sale eventually closes.
“We found the average time it takes from when a property is ‘sale agreed’ to when contracts are signed is ten weeks, and it takes a further six weeks from the signing of the sales contracts to the date on which the sale closes,” he says.
Mr Davitt says IPAV has now begun the process of seeking the support of all stakeholders within the industry, including the legal profession and policymakers, to streamline the conveyancing process and make it more efficient.
“As the representative body responsible for driving standards for the property sales industry, we have no doubt, the Seller’s Legal Pack would satisfy these objectives while substantially reducing the delays incurred in the current sales process which is unaligned, rife with uncertainty and presents legal risks to the Vendor,” he says.
And he said the ultimate objective was to influence the development of a sustainable property market where people can buy, sell or rent properties in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Number of residential dwellings sold: 509, down 35% from same period in 2019
During the first half of 2020, especially during lockdown, there was a falloff in supply of both new and existing homes.
House prices in most of the key markets held relatively stable across all three key house types, three- and four-bedroom semis and two bedroom apartments for the first six months of 2020 compared with the last six months of 2019. This is the main finding in the latest House Price Barometer from the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers. In as many as 64 of the market segments monitored by the Barometer, prices either increased or were unchanged. In the 55 segments showing declines many of the falls were less than 2%.
Despite the impact of the pandemic on the economy and the uncertainty it is creating, a key factor underpinning prices appears to be the cutback in supply not alone of new homes but also of existing properties.
According to the Barometer, the average price of a 2 bed apartment in Co Louth was €130,000 (up 7.69% from last year), a 3 bed semi was €213,334 and a 4 bed semi was €258,334.
Online property search data indicates shift in attitudes among potential home-buyers.
Sat, Jul 18, 2020, 06:00
The last time the telephone rang so frequently back in his Skibbereen office was amid Cold War hysteria in mainland Europe during the 1970s, when German newspapers argued that west Cork was the safest place to avoid the impact of nuclear conflict.
“The Germans and the Dutch came over in their droves. It was to do with the prevailing southwesterly winds,” he says.
In recent weeks, the phone has been ringing off the hook again.
“The interest is unbelievable. Covid has made a lot of people think. There is a realisation now you can work remotely, hold meetings on Zoom. People are hankering for a better lifestyle, they want to raise their families as well.”
Last week, he put up a property online asking €575,000. A City worker in London made an immediate offer of €550,000.
The Government could capitalise on this now, to revitalise towns and villages
“I said you need to come see it. They said: ‘No, we’ve seen it online. We know the area well. We want to get out of London’.”
While the recent high-profile sale of nearby Horse Island, for €5.5 million to a mystery overseas buyer who bought without seeing it in person, has drawn “high-end” attention to the area, McCarthy says interest is “way up” in all price brackets.
The claim is borne out by an analysis of online house-hunting.
Angela Keegan, managing director of property website MyHome.ie, which is owned by The Irish Times, says searches for houses in west Cork have gone “through the roof” since the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions – “Up about 9,000 per cent.”
The figure is based on relatively small numbers. However, trends nationally show a definite shift by would-be house-buyers, many of whom have been forced to reflect on their way of life since the pandemic.
Online searches for properties in Schull in west Cork during June were up 300 times compared with the same month last year. Rosscarbery saw a 4.5 times jump, while searches for Clonakilty and Kinsale were 3.5 times greater.
There has been an almost 150 per cent spike in interest in Kerry properties, mainly in Kenmare, Killarney and Tralee, with similar surges for Waterford, driven mostly by a fourfold jump in queries about Dungarvan.
Outside of Dublin in Leinster, the focus is moving further away from the traditional commuter belt counties of Wicklow, Kildare and Meath. There has been a 200 per cent rise in searches for Louth – mainly Drogheda and Dundalk – with similar increases for Wexford, Westmeath and Kilkenny.
While there has been a twofold jump in searches for holiday homes, Keegan says the data – which shows numbers seeking cottages, farmhouses and country houses are all up significantly – suggests people are re-evaluating the way they live.
“My gut instinct is that while everybody has been at home for a number of months, perhaps they have decided they can live a little bit differently,” she said.
“We are seeing increases in searches in areas you wouldn’t expect. They’re not all first-time buyers when you see where they are looking.
“I think people are seeing opportunities to live elsewhere. Working from home for months in a small house with three or four children, you might be thinking well, actually, I can have a better quality of life and still work from home.
“People living on the commuter belt, spending three hours a day getting to work and back – they don’t have to do it and they are still producing really, really good work.”
The data also suggests people are looking for a bargain.
Searches for properties valued at up to €100,000 have risen fivefold, there has been an eightfold jump in those looking for houses priced under €200,000, while interest in properties under €300,000 has tripled.
Keegan says that because of limited supply and pent-up demand, a nosedive in prices is unlikely over the coming months, but it will be the end of the year before the full impact of the Covid-19 crisis becomes evident.
But is it a temporary shift in attitude, or a permanent one?
“Whether it will be radical or not remains to be seen, depending on how employers adapt to the new norm, but I think we have a better chance of a cultural shift than we would have had before.”
Lorcan Sirr, senior lecturer in housing at Technical University of Dublin, believes a “serendipitous opportunity” has arrived to regenerate rural Ireland.
“The Government could capitalise on this now, to revitalise towns and villages,” he says.
“It could be levered quite well to attract people into towns and villages. Now there are people willing to do it. It is probably easier to persuade people to move into towns and villages now than it would have been 24 months ago.”
The pandemic, says Sirr, has exposed the unsuitability of cramped city apartments without balconies or outdoor spaces, which are forcing people to think about whether they can live better elsewhere.
The coronavirus has focused minds on where people want to be
However, the Government must manage a drift to the country into towns and villages, not unsustainable one-off houses, he suggests, adding that the cost of providing extra GPs and schools could be done at relatively little cost.
“I don’t think we are going to see a sudden mass exodus of half a million people down to Carrick-on-Shannon or wherever,” he says.
“There will always be people who want to live in a city and people who have to live in and around a city.”
Meanwhile, four in every 10 of the premium houses now being sold by Savills are going to overseas buyers. James Butler, head of country sales at Savills, said it registered more buyers in June for “prime country properties” than in any month in the previous three years.
All of them – apart from one looking to move closer to family – were seeking more space than they already have.
While some of the surge is just the backlog from a three-month lockdown, the coronavirus has “focused minds” on where people want to be, said Butler, who believes there is a “Covid factor” in about half of all his enquiries.
“People dealing with some pretty big changes to their lifestyle has resulted in them thinking differently about how they live their lives, where they are based. They realise they can get substantially more for their money outside of Dublin.”
Joanne was on the radio today – 25th March 2020 Chatting with Dundalk FM about how the real estate market is coping with Covid 19 and giving great tips on what you can do around your property to improve its appeal and value during the lockdown.
You can listen to the interview or read the transcript below.
Dundalk FM 0:00
97.7 Dundalk FM town talk Joanne Lavelle, welcome back.
Joanne Lavelle 0:06
How are you? I’m here but I’m not here!.
Dundalk FM 0:10
I said what is the virtual? It’s kind of Yeah, you’re on the phone. We’re doing our social distancing or physical distancing. But we’re still gonna have a proper chat and we haven’t had one for quite a while. So there’s a good bit to catch up on.
Joanne Lavelle 0:22
Absolutely. I’ve been going back to the table and creating a whole new list of things to talk to you about. Although now, of course, today, you know, an unexpected list of things to talk to you about.
Dundalk FM 0:32
Okay. But, you know, a challenge that you like other businesses are rising to at the moment because people are still and always will need somewhere to live.
Joanne Lavelle 0:40
They completely do. And here’s the thing, you know, for example, in lettings side and of the business, we’re really busy because as you say, people still need to move house for one reason or another. And so for example, today, we’re doing about four viewings of apartments today, I expect they’ll all be gone by the end of the day. And you know, we’ll accommodate getting people moved in there as quickly as they want to be. Because everybody has different needs, for example, I have a couple who working in the health care section. And they don’t want to be coming home to their family. And they’re going to rent the space. There are a couple of they’re planning to later in the year move in together. So they’re bringing that plan forward. And just things like that. So there’s a whole range of reasons and needs that you wouldn’t even imagine. And we’re here to accommodate them.
Dundalk FM 1:25
Indeed, oh, and we have seen in there was a call for people to come back out and work for the HSE and in an unprecedented response to it. But I’ve even seen up on social media, wherever you just said, Yeah, I’m calling back to or I’m coming out of retirement and I got to move out of my area, I need to do temporary accommodation. So I think we’re going to see quite a lot more of that.
Joanne Lavelle 1:44
Yeah, we are I have a landlord now. He’s just very happily agreed to rent his house for three months for exactly that reason. So that a healthcare worker who has somebody at home who would have you know, compromised immune system, and they’re worried about bringing Covid 19 home after work. So they’re going to move into this other place for three months really good solution to people’s concerns. It’s not for everybody and it doesn’t always work, but where it works is a great idea.
Dundalk FM 2:08
Okay, now obviously people want to see where they’re moving into before they make a decision on whether or not they will. And you’ve introduced some protocols are in keeping with that.
Joanne Lavelle 2:18
That’s right. So for example, today on the viewings that we’re doing today, and we have really strict protocols. It says social distancing outside the property. So there’s a very clear cue with social distance in the two-metre distance between parties. We asked everybody to adhere to that. And we’re not going to be polite about it, okay. When you get the property it’s only one person or one, for example, couple at a time into the property with whichever me or my clients is doing the viewing inside and on everybody else waits outside and you’re asked to sanitise your hands we have sanitizer before you go in and when you leave, we’re wearing gloves as well and really, it’s not, you know, this is going to be a brief feeling. It’s not going to be you know, half an hour long. Viewing is going to take about five or 10 minutes to do the viewing, and we can follow up with absolutely everything else on the telephone or online afterwards, we’re set up to provide the leases to be signed electronically. We have banking for the funding, everything can be done outside of that room that needs to be done, we can do electronically or virtually.
Dundalk FM 3:21
Right, that’s the rental market sales. We’re not if it was ever who’s going to be looking to buy a house or not at this stage, but there were a number of people who would have been right in the middle of, closing on their house saying, etc. when all this started. So I presume that still has to, to some extent be followed through on
Joanne Lavelle 3:40
Oh, absolutely. And those deals are usually still going to go ahead unless something else occurs. But I have lots of sales in the pipeline. The solicitors are working away for the vendors and the purchasers. And we’re playing our usual very important role in the middle of that to help facilitate everything to keep moving along. So Where we’re very much open, I mean, our doors locked and we’re working virtually remotely or whatever we need to do. But it’s very important that the work that we’ve started be completed where it needs to be completed. So yeah, though that work is still ongoing. And then for properties that are on the market, we’re doing virtual viewings, where we can, so this morning, I was out at this apartment in the Saltings in Annagassan. And I was pretty lucky actually being out there this morning. It was beautiful. And I’m going to put that virtual viewing up online later on so people can get a good look at the property virtually,
Dundalk FM 4:32
this is something you’ve pioneered in the last few months because even before any of the restrictions that came in with the current covid 19 situation, you’ve been doing a lot of these virtual viewings of houses,
Joanne Lavelle 4:44
People really love to get a little look at properties and from the comfort of their own home before they decide to look at it. So now we’re doing more of it. And we’re really giving people a sense of it. And you know, even if somebody’s looking at a property virtually, if they’re not in a position to come out and look at that property or You can still begin to engage with them and talk to them about it and answer their questions. And, you know, help them to feel like they’re, they’re getting the information that they need to even shortlist the property so that when we are all able to be out and about again, that people are very focused on what they’re looking for, and come to look at it and make the decisions
Dundalk FM 5:18
Now, Joanne, people are still looking for valuations. Maybe they’re applying for switchers and stuff, and you’re still getting instructions in that respect.
Joanne Lavelle 5:27
We’re still getting instructions from the bank. Now what happens today, I don’t know if there’s gonna be more updates today from the government, about movement and so on. But we’ve been really busy up until now doing valuations for people as you say, perhaps they want to switch their mortgage to get a better deal. Or perhaps they’ve already gone sale agreed on a property and they need to get the valuation for the mortgage. So we’ve been really really busy doing these things. As I say, our door is closed but our work is not done.
Dundalk FM 5:55
A lot of people are at home at the moment. Some people are working from home some people unfortunately, you weren’t as lucky and found themselves now temporarily unemployed or hopefully it is temporary. And, you know, they might have a bit of time on their hands. And it’s an opportunity maybe to do all the things that you keep putting off, particularly in the winter months.
Joanne Lavelle 6:15
Oh, absolutely. But before that, let me mention as well, that there are strict rules. Now, if somebody is paying rent, and they, their job has been put on temporary hold, or they’re not able to pay their rent, get in touch with us, let us know that that is your situation if we manage your property because there are new guidelines from the government about dealing with that. So don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or to email us and let us know about that. Because, you know, we’re here to help you okay. But yeah, so if you’re at home, whether you’re working at home, or whether you’re minding the children or whether you’re whatever you’re doing, and we’re all going to be spending so much more time at home now than we would ordinarily at this time of year. So, it’s a chance to look around and think about all those little jobs. Think about it over the jobs that you’ve been putting off because you’re usually too busy. Now is your chance
Dundalk FM 7:01
Some of the things you’ve suggested, obviously, some of it can be a bit boring. I mean, there will be repairs in everybody’s house repairs that, you know, we put off and we put on the long finger. And I think a lot of people are now going to find themselves a dab hand at home improvements as well because obviously, we can’t just bring somebody else to come in and do them.
Joanne Lavelle 7:19
No, we’ll all be DIY and she YI experts again, which is great. Now, I know some of it is boring, but, you know, when I read about how to deal with exclusion and isolation, all the advice seems to be to try to be a bit industrious, have a bit of a routine and have things to do every day. So if the thought of you know dusting down your cupboards seems like hell to you, nonetheless, it’s something that will occupy at least a half a day in an otherwise really boring dull day. So you know, get to it!
Dundalk FM 7:51
Yeah, yeah, put on the radio, put out a bit of music or something and then just go for it. And of course, when all of that’s done then you can start to get a bit more creative.
Joanne Lavelle 8:00
Oh, absolutely. And I was thinking about all the things that we could do now on social media. I don’t know if other people have found this, everybody’s talking about getting your pictures up on the walls, you know, all those pictures and photos that you’ve been meaning to put up on the walls, well, now’s the time to get them up. And there’s loads of advice online about creating your picture gallery, whether there are pictures and photos going up the staircase, or whether they’re in your living room or your favourite spot. It’s a great idea now when you’re at home during the daytime to look and see what you want to do with all of those pictures.
Dundalk FM 8:29
Now, the way that you mentioned you were out by the seaside this morning, and it was such a lovely morning to be there. But we are seeing spring, it has definitely arrived at this stage. And it’s an opportunity for us to get those windows open and let the air through the house.
Joanne Lavelle 8:43
I think that’s really important Rosa that you know, even if we’re stuck inside, whether we’re in a house or an apartment or wherever we are, open the windows and let a little bit of light in, let some fresh air in. Because, you know if you’re at home all the time, and it’s understandable to not be in great humour and great form with all this going on. But if you find your housework is building up on top of you, and it’s easy to feel a bit frayed and a little bit frustrated, so let the air in and try to use your space as well as you can, particularly if you have little ones in the house because that’s frustrating for everybody, but also with all the toys and everything. So do a little bit of restructuring reorganising in your house, create your inner Mario condo about how to use all of your storage.
Dundalk FM 9:30
And if you’re lucky enough to have a garden and we’ve seen all you know, the use of the balconies initially have been put to me maybe we’re gonna start doing this ourselves, little performances or something in our gardens, but we want to get them in shape so that they’re, you know, social media ready?
Joanne Lavelle 9:44
What absolutely what can you imagine if you don’t cut your grass during this time and you stay inside, you’re going to have a little jungle outside by the time Covid 19. Finally, you know, goes away and we can all get back to normal. So yeah, keep on top of the garden if you can. And don’t forget, if you have a petrol lawnmower get out there and get a wee can of petrol so that you’re not stuck and trim your hedges do a little bit of weeding. I’m always a bit cautious about planting too early in the year. I don’t know if it’s still too early have we still got some frost ahead but you know, go out and do big tidy up around. Also, the weather’s so good and put out garden furniture, paint your garden furniture to get another summer out of it. I know my summer furniture is looking a little bit wrecked and I’ll certainly be getting around to painting that in the next few days.
Dundalk FM 10:26
And as you said, Joanne, we’re all going to be a depth hound anyway to at this, you know, do it yourself stuff. So when we were finished fixing everything in the house, we can get out the garden furniture that maybe we’re going to discard because you said Oh, I’ll go and buy some more. And you suddenly realise if I take a nail or if I take a paintbrush or a bit of varnish isn’t that – that’s perfectly good.
Joanne Lavelle 10:45
I think so. And the other thing that I believe is that when we get back to normal and charity stores will be really doing very well because we will have done a little bit of decluttering a little bit of clearing out and we’ll have boxes and stacks of things that we don’t need anymore and they’ll go to charity Which is a good thing because then it’ll raise funds for whatever charity your chosen charity shop is working with. So that’s really important. Now the other thing that everybody’s really talking about now is, of course, virtual meetings. Okay? So Zoom seems to be the new Facebook where you can, have meetings with multiple people. I know that we did Zoom for my mother in law for Mother’s Day on Sunday. And, and so if you’re having these, these face times, or zoom times, or whatever way, you’re communicating with people, don’t forget that they’re looking at your house. So create a little corner in your living room or in your kitchen or wherever it is, where you’re happy to be seen. And they don’t necessarily need to know that you’re in your jammies. But if they’re looking at your kitchen, whatever is behind you, create a little space, a little corner in your house or that’s your virtual meeting space, and you can meet your friends, you can have your book clubs, do whatever you need to do. And you know, it’s a little bit of fun to spend time making that little corner nice.
Dundalk FM 11:57
I never thought we get to a stage where we’d be putting on makeup to make To phone call, but it’s happening!
Joanne Lavelle 12:03
is the other thing. everybody’s busy looking at makeup tutorials, but here What are we going to do with that the hairdresser is more important.
Dundalk FM 12:10
Well, we will get inventive. We definitely get inventive and it’s not going to be for long. And look, there’ll be plenty of work. That’s the other thing. When all of this is you know, has past they’ll be plenty of work for the hairdressers and the barbers and beauticians to deal with
Joanne Lavelle 12:25
locally. I don’t know about you. I’ve already started to plan my street party for when we’re all up and running again.
Dundalk FM 12:30
Oh, well, I have said from the outset, we are we’re known for our parties down the valley and it’s going to be the mother and father of one Believe me. Very good. Listen, Joanne, lovely to have a chat and lovely to have you back and we’ll be talking to you more regularly. But in the meantime, some really, really sound advice there from you. And as you said, You’re still open for business albeit in a different fashion and most particularly if somebody is concerned about paying their rent and they actually are renting from Lavelles. Get in touch and talk to you.
Joanne Lavelle 13:05
Yeah, absolutely. We’re done here at Michael Lavelle estate agents in Bridgestreet. You can get us online and on all the social channels, keep in touch and folks, you know, be kind to your home and be kind to yourselves because you’re going to have to rely upon each other for the next couple of weeks. And, and I wish you all good health and we will speak soon
Dundalk FM 13:22
Joanne Lavelle, stay safe.
Joanne Lavelle 13:24
Joanne was on the radio today – 25th March 2020 Chatting with Dundalk FM about how the real estate market is coping with Covid 19 and giving great tips on what you can do around your property to improve its appeal and value during the lockdown.
Is your Tree Tree-Mendus?
Does your Tinsel Twinkle?
Is your Crip In-Crib-ible?
We want to see your FAB Chrizzy Decorations!!!
To Win Shop Local Vouchers:
Send a photo of your decorations to
firstname.lastname@example.org by 16th December
The winners will be announced on the air on Tuesday 17th at 10am
And the winners are….
Best Tree – Liz McCourt
Best Front Door – John Callen
Cleverest Elf – Holland Kids (Blackrock)
Most Dazzling Outdoor Lights – Mandy Stevenson
Well done to everyone who entered and congrats to the winners – enjoy your vouchers!!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Joanne is regularly on Dundalk FM where she gives practical advice on all things to do with Buying and Selling property – she also answers and listeners questions – you can see this weeks interview below or if you would rather listen to it you can do so here…
Dundalk FM 0:00
97.7 Dundalk FM town talk Joanne Lavelle. Good morning.
Joanne Lavelle 0:05
Maria on congratulations to mark. It was a lovely interview and it’s such a great venue I love so delighted for them.
Dundalk FM 0:11
Yeah, yeah, I can’t believe it. 20 years honestly. It’s like yesterday or anyway, we’re going to talk this morning about first time buyers.
Joanne Lavelle 0:19
Yeah, first time buyers and I suppose we can talk about where money might come from where you can get funding for first time buyers, but also just a bit of advice and sanity checking because it’s hot and pressured time for first time buyers. What made me think about this was I visited a friend of mine over the weekend, and she’s bought another friend’s house and just moved in. She was really embarrassed because the house wasn’t looking like a magazine feature. I said, you know, this should be a thing that you will enjoy over the years to make your house the way that you want it. Don’t be in a rush. It feels that sort of pressure of people to have everything looking fabulous at the beginning. It really shouldn’t be I mean, it should take Take your time, save up your money for your next project, decide, prioritise. This year I’m going to concentrate in the kitchen next year, I’ll concentrate on finding yourself. Whatever it is, there’s really no harm in just painting wooden floors until you can afford carpets. But I do feel like first time buyers are under pressure to have everything just looking lovely from the beginning. That’s hard. The other thing about and the simple reality check is I think you have to get into a house and get to know the house before you make big decisions about it anyway, and what the colour is like what the light is like, where you like to spend your time in the house, or your kitchen person or living in person. These things evolve over time. And if you have kids or if you don’t have kids, depending on your stage of life, get to know your house before you worry but spending all your money on getting it looking a certain way.
Dundalk FM 1:48
But it’s what we all do with and when you get your head first you just want to and then as time goes on, you go through periods there are times when you’re really enthusiastic and other times just you know have a bad to have a bad
Joanne Lavelle 2:00
The thing about it is at the stage in life that you’re in now isn’t the stage in life that you’ll be in forever, you know. So if you’re, for example, if we’re in the stage of life where you have small children, babies, you make decisions around that. But Time flies before you’re into a new stage, and you need a new set of requirements for your house. And the things change from having a nap at the table to having storage for the toys, to having homework desk for first year’s lecture has evolved like that. And don’t get too worried about change within the house because that’s what you’re there for.
Dundalk FM 2:30
Now, you said, first of all, first time buyers, how did they become first time buyers? And this is something that is possibly a lot more difficult now than it was, say maybe 20 or 30 years ago?
Joanne Lavelle 2:42
Yeah, it is. It’s really difficult, the cost of houses, the affordability, things are difficult. back before the recession, there were 100% mortgages. Now we are in a good situation that there’s tighter regulation around finance. So a first time buyer can borrow up to 90% of the purchase price, so you have to go and save or receive a gift or do something for the 10% but you can’t get a mortgage to cover that 10% so it’s it’s a kind of a safety mechanism built-in into the mortgage, to ensure that we’re not going back into hundred per cent finance. So there are really three different ways well two and one incoming that’s going to come in I think next year of ways to get financed for the first time by our home obviously have to help to buy scheme So pretty much every first time buyer is going to go for the Help to Buy scheme is worth up to 20,000 euro depending on your tax and the values of property and so on. And on, there is a ceiling on a tree houses that are caught that are valued up to 500,000. Now you’d kind of think that has over 500,000 wouldn’t be your typical first bullet at so it’s up to 500,000. And you get that money back, which is as I say, worth up to 20,000 on your income tax. Now it’s not going to change your USC or your other aspects of your tax but it’s on your income tax. So that How you, you get it back over time. And and you have to be borrowing a minimum of 70% on the purchase price, the value of the property, it is available for new property only not secondhand property, but it is also available on self builds. So, if you’re building one off, okay, and I always say to people, when they come to me looking for valuations for their one off, don’t think about this, they have to buy scheme afterwards, you have to have it right at the start so that you know exactly that you that you’re one off build fits in with the criteria of the health device get of the health device game, you know, so that, you know you don’t be sad afterwards that you’ve missed out on something. So that’s the health device game. It was extended in the budget, and a couple of weeks ago to go on for another two years, and no changes to us. So it’s business as usual for the health device game. Just make sure if you’re buying a new house that the builder is registered under the scheme, most of them are so you can see it on the website and make sure that the builder of the house you’re looking at is part of the scheme and And then you know, it’s paperwork system from there. The next one is the rebuilding Ireland scheme, okay, less well known as it is operating and county allows it’s not operating in every county. So it’s good that we’re here. And it’s really for people who have previously been refused by to Landry’s to get a mortgage. Okay, it’s a government-backed scheme. Okay. And you can borrow up to 288,000 Euro in this county for participating in the rebuilding Ireland scheme is the thing that’s different to the health device game is that it’s also suitable for secondhand houses. So you can apply it to a new house a second and has and itself build. So really, that’s the prize for the second hand, second-hand house that you find on the market. And as I say, you can borrow up to 288,000 for that,
Dundalk FM 5:46
and is that you have to be 90% that you can’t get over 90%
Joanne Lavelle 5:51
You can never borrow more than 90% on a mortgage,
Dundalk FM 5:54
who you borrowing from in that instance, then is it the local authority? Yeah,
Joanne Lavelle 5:58
it’s a local authority arrangement. Yeah. So it works in pretty much the same way insofar as the council will get the highest valued and the same way the Help to Buy scheme, you will still get the highest value by the mortgage provider. So that you know you have your paperwork in order
Dundalk FM 6:12
and the criteria you said you have to be refused by two lenders but is there any anything else that would be similar to when you’re applying for local authority housing are there to they take all the things that
Unknown Speaker 6:33
no, there’s a third option for that. So this isn’t for people who are on the housing list. And but there are it does have reduced rates, the mortgage rates are lower, and that’s attractive, but you wouldn’t want to proactively get yourself refused a mortgage in order to be eligible, because when you refused a loan, like a mortgage, that’s a credit rating matter. And you know what I mean, you want to be refused. it’s if you have been refused by two landers and you have legitimate and eligibility for that. The third one is an affordable purchase game. And it’s not really up and running yet. And but it’s interesting, we’ll see what happens when it comes to being. But it is basically to there’s a gap there for people who are eligible for Social Housing, but they’re on the housing list, and people who can’t get a mortgage. it’s the third one-third rundown. It’s for people between qualifying for social housing and the mortgage criteria. what is this difficulty there with being compliant with either the rebuilding Island or the Help to Buy scheme more so for the people who aren’t eligible for the rebuilding Ireland scheme, and as you say, it’s not quite up and running yet? Hopefully next year, we’re going to see more coming on about that. And, and I think that that will be particularly helpful. For example, if you think in the values in Dundalk properties from the 100 Well, up to say 150, hundred and 60,000 because a lot of those properties now have been purchased by investors. That’s a good thing. as well, because investors are putting the property back into the rental stock. So then there’s properties available to rent. And but it might create more of a balance in that particular price segments. So there are basically two-three ways that you might go about, looking at finance for your 90%. And obviously, when you’re in the hip device game, you still going back to the normal high street lenders and online lenders, I say online lenders, you know, those with no high street presence and for your 90% on the very competitive at the moment,
Dundalk FM 8:32
that road recommends anymore and in particular, and,
Joanne Lavelle 8:36
I don’t advocate anyone.
Dundalk FM 8:37
Yeah, I am. So the deposit then.
Joanne Lavelle 8:41
The deposit, so not so hard. Yeah. I mean, you know, I know people who have been saving for years to get their deposit together, and it’s difficult. One thing that people often ask me about is what they call the Bank of mom and dad. the the situation where your parents are giving you a cash gift if you like to go towards your deposit, Now it’s important to remember that you are allowed to receive from your parents 310,000 euro over your lifetime before your due for taxation, But if you receive a gift that could be part of the 310,000. And then if you receive an inheritance, you don’t have 310 left, you have to balance left, and then you get into the capital gains tax issue. So I do always say to people if they’re looking at receiving a gift from the parents, that everybody goes and gets some tax advice, because it’s not to say that you’re avoiding tax it’s that you’re being taxed smart. Okay. So for example, the parent can give anybody a gift every year of 3000 Euro in any year, they can simply give a cash gift of 3000 euro which is not subject to tax, so if dad gave 3000 year and mom gave 3000 a year, that’s 6000. Okay, now dad can also give 3000 a year to a child’s partner, and a mum can even give 3000 a year to a child’s partner. So that’s 12k Okay. It’s completely legitimate, and it’s allowable. And it’s just a really smart way, if you’re, if you’re going to be relying upon a gift from a parent to do that, okay, so if you know in reality, you’re not going to be saving in the short term for a deposit for how it’s going to take you an amount of time. Do that over and amount of time in order for you to accumulate if your parents are in a position in a lucky position of being able to give that kind of money. Then there’s also a lot of solutions out there for when you get the money where are you going to put us put it into a Smart saver account or put it into a life insurance account. So that it’s working out it’s possible hardest for you whilst you’re accumulating as I’m getting ready to find your house. So it’s not only how you get it, it’s where you put us when you get it to put it And let it work with for its interest gain its interest or whatever it is, until you’re ready to put it into a house
Dundalk FM 11:06
And if there was just just two fingers, you mentioned there you mentioned the 310,000 over a lifetime. But if say for instance, you needed 30,000 for your deposits, can mom and dad give you 30,000? Or
Joanne Lavelle 11:22
what if mom and dad, if I was looking for a deposit and mom and dad, gave me 30,000 euro which day? Well, then that’s fine. I don’t have to pay tax on it. But then I only have 280,000 remaining situations where then I am in the future to inherit, for example of property from my parents. If you are over in that property’s value or at the stage I should say worth over 200,000 your straightaway into tax
Dundalk FM 11:46
where’s the 3000 gift doesn’t come out of that yet. Yeah. Okay. I’m with you on that one. What about mom and dad don’t have us but at Auntie Mary, our uncle Peter dollars and they don’t have their own children. Can they bestow the same amount of money or
Joanne Lavelle 12:05
Yes, as I understand it, Auntie Mary or a neighbour or anybody can give can go with the 3000 year situation. Yeah. And another is also a small threshold for Auntie Mary to gift to give a gift of cash or property or something. Before there is capital gains tax or inheritance tax, it’s a lot smaller than the parent to child tax, but it is there but that’s the sensible solution is 3000 year.
Dundalk FM 12:32
Okay, so you have your deposit. And then,
Joanne Lavelle 12:36
then you’re, you’re out into the wilderness looking at properties. And you know, and the weekends very quickly become taken up with looking at properties and making decisions. And I always say to first time buyers, listen to the advice around you. Okay, I know that people who first time buyers now they’re different generation, there may be two generations off the people who are giving the advice, but often the advice is sound. You know, think about This is a property something that you’re going to own for decades potentially. So think about it for the future as well as for the present and make sure that it’s future proof. You know, for example, if you’re going to buy a two-bedroom apartment because that’s within your affordability zone, that’s fine. Make sure that it’s a two-bedroom apartment, which in a few years is going to be something you can sell and upsized to something bigger if that’s something that you’re going to want to do
Dundalk FM 13:24
a couple questions in first one and yeah, this is something I think went on maybe before the crash to that you mentioned to get a loan for the deposit cuz I know people used to maybe go to the credit union and got their deposit there and then went back and went to the bank or building society for mortgage but cannot be done. No, no,
Joanne Lavelle 13:42
no, it can’t be done. And also, as I said earlier, that banks used to give 100% mortgages but no, it’s a sneaky, sneaky way to try and get a deposit. You can’t get a mortgage or you can’t get a loan for the deposit. And you know it all of our loans information. all that detail is stored centrally. It’s not as though one banks not going to check with the credit union, if they’re giving you a loan credit union doesn’t give a loan for a deposit anyway, saving is your only man.
Dundalk FM 14:12
Okay, I’m really Guys, can I get the have to buy scheme?
Joanne Lavelle 14:15
Yes you can, you can get to have device game, remembering that you have to be borrowing at least 70% of the value of the property on completion. Okay, that’s the property on completion, not the side value or anything like that. So say if you think that your house is going to be worth 300,000, when it’s finished, well then you need to be borrowing at least 70% of that. Okay, so that’s, that’s the real it has to be 70% minimum borrowed. And again, the 500,000 ceiling applies. And so if you’re building a big Whopper of a house that’s going to be worth over 500,000 Well, then you’re not going to get the Help to Buy scheme.
Dundalk FM 14:52
And finally, I think you’ve already answered this, but maybe we’ll just sort of clarify my daughter is saving like mad for deposit. I have Have some savings can I give it to work with that would
Joanne Lavelle 15:02
be the best not to do it over a bulk amount because the threshold – go with the 3000 euro year possible And remember, if she’s buying with somebody else, partner or friend, you can always big caveat about buying a operty with friends by the way…
Dundalk FM 15:18
Joanne Lavelle 15:19
yeah to 3000 can also be given to non family member
Dundalk FM 15:22
could you know, your mother gives you 3000 on your sister three times and on your brother 3000 and then your sister and brother who don’t need it right at that time. Give it over to you and then you’ve got 9000
Joanne Lavelle 15:36
Yeah, that’d be great.
Dundalk FM 15:40
You know, because there will be people out there who necessarily are by the road and you know, to try and
Joanne Lavelle 15:45
That can work that’s fine. Keep in mind as well that where you receive a gift or you receive money from somebody, you need to have a letter confirming that person is giving you the money because your mortgage provider will want that Because they want to know where you got it when we’re dealing with a non loan funds, ie cash, we always have to demonstrate where the money came from. That makes absolute sense. So
Dundalk FM 16:11
listen, Joanne and another great property chat I know you were back in two weeks but in the meantime just to let people know where you are if
Joanne Lavelle 16:19
Michael Lavelle Estate Agents down on Bridge street in Dundalk – www.lavelles.ie we’re always here for helpful advice if you need us, and we do sales, lettings and valuations. Its the valuations for mortgages where we mostly hear about people’s issues and we always offer advice – so we’re always there if you need us!
Dundalk FM 16:35
Excellent stuff that was Joanne Lavelle
Land prices in Louth continue to hold strong with the news that c 33.3 acres of land, including derelict house and yard at Rogan’s bend, Kilkerley, sold for €595,000 last week.
The property had generated a lot of interest among farmers from near and far during the summer, with some bidders travelling from overseas on the day of the auction, in the hope of securing the property.
This was an unusual proposition, with 32 acres given to land in three adjacent divisions, and the remaining acre occupied by a derelict house – which would have been a beauty in its day, plus a yard with an array of traditional stone-built cattle sheds, and haybarn.
On the day, bidding was strong and the entire sold in one lot at a final price of €595,000 or almost €17,900 per acre.
Auctioneer Joanne Lavelle, of Michael Lavelle Estate Agents, commented: “This result demonstrates that Louth continues to command strong land values, in spite of a difficult summer for farmers.”
A 77ac residential farm at Heynestown, Dundalk, Co Louth sold in lots under the hammer of Joanne Lavelle of Michael Lavelle auctioneers, making an overall price of €1.337m or €17,141/ac.
The four-bedroom farmhouse with an array of sheds is located 1.5km east of the N52 Ardee Road and 2km south from exit 16 off the M1.
The former home of Mr Lavelle’s late brother, the roadside holding was bought by their parents in 1941.
They built it up as a mixed farm over the years and, in its most recent incarnation, it was a beef holding. Outside there are two yards, an older cut-stone courtyard and a modern yard with 20,000 sq ft of roofed accommodation with cattle-handling facilities and silage pits.
On auction day, the property sold in lots with the farmhouse and yards on 41.8ac, making €800,000. A 20.23ac parcel of ground in three divisions located in the townland of Dunmahon and 380m from the house was sold for €290,000.
At the Dundalk side of the M1, an 8.7ac piece at Mullaharlin Road zoned ‘Employment Mixed Use’ made €152,000 while the last piece, a 6.5ac parcel – located off the N52 Ardee Road in an area that is home to a number of one-off houses – made €95,000.
“This is a great reflection on the excellent land in Co Louth,” said auctioneer Joanne Lavelle about the overall sale.
“A farm of this quality is quite rare, but local demand is very strong.”