Buying an Irish Cottage – Part II

This is Part II of this article – for Part I see – Buying an Irish Cottage – Part I   The Offer  Most properties advertised have a guide price, an indication of its worth as estimated by the Auctioneer.  However, recent events in Irish economy have created an unstable housing market – guide prices can vary widely from the selling price.  The property sale procedure is much like an open auction except that the buyer sets the opening bid.  The auctioneer passes this bid to the seller, if there are no other bidders interested in the property the seller will accept, reject or request a higher offer.     If there are other bidders in the market for the same property, the auctioneer will put your bid to them and give them the chance to bid higher or counter offer.  All clients who have an active bid on the property are notified and given the chance to place a higher offer.  This process of offering and counter offering continues until only one offer remains. This situation used to be the normal way property was transacted in Ireland during the boom times as demand for property out stripped supply.  It is not the most pleasant of transactions as there are many variables that can lead to suspicion and dishonesty such as the fabrication of false bids to raise the price, sellers accepting higher bids after sale agreeing (also known as gazumping) and alternatively, half hearted bidders who pull out after the offer has been accepted.  Sometimes bidding is unavoidable but it is preferable to negotiate directly with the seller and decide on a...

Buying an Irish Cottage – Part I

The process of buying any property in Ireland is a daunting experience – never mind the added stress of buying a cottage which will most likely have inherent structural issues. For people buying in the Irish market for the first time, the process can be very confusing and frustrating. This article will give you an overview of the process. The Budget The very first step to take is to ascertain your budget, especially in these times of economic uncertainty. If you are lucky enough to be in control of your own finances and don’t need any help from the banks then you already have this step covered. However if you are at the mercy of the financial institutions like the majority of people you will need to jump a few hoops before you will be granted a mortgage. In recompense for past errors in judgment, banks are no longer welcoming buyers with open arms despite what their glossy adverts might say. Every bank has different application criteria and they are constantly changing, if you secured a mortgage in the past that doesn’t mean you will be successful now. When applying for a mortgage it is important to be aware of what the mortgage offer entails – the interest rate, what kind of breaks you will be allowed. As an example of this, when I was securing a mortgage to renovate a property the bank I was dealing with didn’t give an option of a 3 month payment break before starting the first repayment – important for renovators on a tight budget. I didn’t find out this information until after...

Discovering the age of your cottage

Discovering the age of your cottage is much like trying to uncover your family tree, the further you go back the more difficult it becomes. As a general rule, cottages are an architectural style all of their own, transcending the years and fashions. The style is rarely indicative of its age, a larger style cottage may be deceptive as it could have started out as a two bedroomed cottage and have been extend over the years as the inhabitants became more affluent to become a thatched mansion. Conversely, that run down turf shed or ruin on your land could be a cottage hundreds of years old who’s owners fell on hard times. The following are some of the best ways of tracing the age of your property: 1. Word of mouth We are a nation of storytellers, that’s for sure. Many of these stories are pure fiction but they also contain the threads of our history and heritage. Villages and townlands tended to be very small places and a lot of neighbors were quite closely related, it is very possible that a neighbor of your cottage could know a good deal about the property through tales handed down. 2. Census Ireland has an unfortunate history when it comes civil records. Our earliest records were decimated through a series of petty thefts, damp damage and fires in the surveyor generals office and in the Bermingham Tower of Dublin castle prior to the 1800’s. Around that time, the British decided to conduct census of Ireland however the censuses from 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 were mostly destroyed by fire as a result...

Thinking of Renovating a Cottage?

Whitewashed walls, neat golden thatch, glossy red doors and dancing fireplaces are all images brought to mind when contemplating cottages and modern media such as magazines and books help to perpetuate this fantasy. What you don’t see is all the work that goes into bringing a derelict cottage back to life and maintaining it. Although cottage enthusiasts love their homes and wouldn’t change a thing, most do agree that renovating a cottage is once in a lifetime experience, best left behind them. The process requires endless reserves of patience, adaptability and creativity, not to mention a substantial budget.   Before you consider buying a cottage, take the following points into consideration: Costs It is immeasurably easier to build from scratch than it is to retrofit modern conveniences to an old property. Costs you may have to take into account, outside of the regular build costs include –  Reinforcing or creating foundations  Installation of services on difficult sites Damp proofing and insulating existing stone walls  Higher electrical & plumbing costs  Hiring craft trades people eg: thatchers, stonemasons etc… Bespoke windows & doors to fit non-conventional openings Higher insurance costs Even after the cottage has been completed there are the maintenance costs which may be considerably higher then a new build for example:  reapplying lime washes to the exterior maintaining thatched roofs repairing damp spots excluding draughts & coping with unwanted guests such as mice which are dealt with below. Locating good trades people and professional advice. One of the main difficulties faced when renovating and living in cottages is access to competent, reliable, like-minded trades people. Cottages are not a passion everyone...