Louise Meade bought an apartment in February 2017 – she writes about her experience as a first-time buyer:
We bought an apartment in Silverbanks, Baldoyle, Dublin 13. We put our deposit on in February. We got the exact apartment we wanted – one with an uninterrupted sea view and views of Howth.
My mam and dad live in Portmarnock and I was living with them until myself and my boyfriend Stephen got our apartment. We wanted to live together, but we thought: ‘We’re not going to rent, it’s absolutely crazy.’ If you start renting you’d never be able to save.
I would say to anyone to absolutely go without a few things for whatever length of time it is that you are saving for. Every cent that you save is worth it. There were times when I was saying to myself, ‘I’d love to do this or do that’. But I just kept saving and it was worth it. When you actually get the keys, all those months of being good, having nights in instead of nights out, are just so worth it. It can seem daunting to save that amount of money, but just keep going.
If you’re renting and trying to get on the property ladder, you have to say to yourself: ‘If I’m renting and paying €1,600 a month, how would I save upwards of €50,000 for a deposit?’ So we said, ‘Let’s stay at home and save’.
The way it is at the moment with rent, people will never be able to get ahead. It keeps going up and up. We’re quite lucky that we had the option to stay at home until we had our deposit.
It was 100pc always going to be an apartment that we bought because of our lifestyle. We’re very busy in our jobs – we’re both progressing in our careers. When you have that kind of busy lifestyle you think – an apartment, fabulous; a house, I’ll wait a few years.
In the future, if you have children or stuff like that, you’ll need a house, you’ll need the extra space. We’re still young, we’re still enjoying ourselves – an apartment just seemed like the right decision.
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At a viewing, always ask about car parking spaces. We found out we just got one so we purchased an additional one. Sometimes, the additional spaces are limited so when you’re putting your booking deposit down, ask about the car parking spaces.
My brother did my snag list and he was amazing. I would say when you’re doing your snag list, get someone who knows what they’re doing because there are things that you wouldn’t notice but a professional would.
On the day of the viewing, bring your ‘approval in principle’. That’s very important because when you’re putting down your booking deposit you need to be able to show that you will get the amount from the bank to cover your property. You’ll also need to bring your booking deposit.
Another thing that’s so important is the solicitor looking after the legal end – because this is someone you’re going to be working with for upwards of six months before you get your keys. They talk you through the process and help you with the Help-to-Buy scheme. It’s a bit of a legal maze once you put your booking deposit down. I work for a solicitor in the area, Neil Blaney Solicitors, and he made the process so easy for me.
One other thing I would advise is to pick up your bits and pieces as you go, even if you’re not moving in for six months or so. Because when you move in, you’ll be buying all these bigger things, like washing machines and dishwashers. So pick up little things like nice bed stuff and small kitchen appliances as you go, so you have them when you move in.
We bought off-plan and it is a bit scary when you go in and you’re putting your deposit down, especially when you’re signing the contracts and you still haven’t seen theapartment. It’s about taking chances.
You have to be confident in the area and you have to be confident in the apartment. If you have that gut feeling about a place, go for it. Because it really paid off for us.