Some people visit Ireland and wistfully think, “It would be so great to actually live here…” But very few actually follow through on that thought. If you have made the decision to go ahead and buy a house in Ireland, good for you! You are living the dream!
Unfortunately, before you can get to that whole “dream” state, you have got to go through the research and paperwork to find and buy the house. It is not an impossible process, but it is a very good idea to do lots of your own research ahead of time so that you are not going in blind.
Here are some things to think about before you buy a house in Ireland:
- Know where you want to live. This may sound simple, but it can be a really tough decision. Making a decision about where you want to live based on only having seen two or three cities may not be the wisest move – especially if you have only visited those places during the summer! If you think you have found the town you want to live in, it is a very good idea to make return visits at different times of year so you know what the weather will be like. And do not forget to take into consideration what facilities are nearby – do you need to be close to a school for your kids? Will you need to be within walking distance of shops and post offices, or will you have a car? Do you want to be on public transport routes?
- Consider renting first. Instead of buying right away, it may make sense to rent a house in the town you think you want to live in for awhile first. This gives you a chance to find out what the area is like year-round, and to get to know the community, before you make a more permanent decision. It also gives you a chance to scout out potential properties that you may want to buy, without the pressure of needing to do it during the two weeks you have taken off from work.
- Know what kind of property you want to buy. You will know from the start how big of a house or apartment you will need, based on how big your family is and how much living space you will want. Will you need a cozy one-bedroom apartment without a garden, or will you need extra bedrooms for the kids, a home office, a guest room, a garden, and a garage? Knowing what you need in terms of space is critical.
- Work with a professional. This means more than just working with an estate agent in Ireland, but also a solicitor (attorney). Working with someone locally is invaluable, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area in which you are buying. Having an attorney working for you will ease the process and give you peace of mind, and trying to buy a house in Ireland without a solicitor is not recommended (unless you are yourself a solicitor).
- Know how much of a loan you can get. While you do not have to apply for a loan until you have found the house you want to buy, it would be very sad to find your dream home and only then find out that you cannot get a loan for it. When you get a “loan approval in principle” before you begin your search, you will know from the bank how much they are willing to lend you and will have yet another parameter to help guide your house hunt.
There is much, much more involved in the process of buying property in Ireland, and there are a few websites out there that have great resources on the subject. Some worth looking at are listed at the end of this post.
The bottom line when you are talking about buying Ireland real estate is that while this may not be the simplest process, if you do your homework and work with professionals to see you through it, it can be the start of an amazing adventure.
Some resources for buying real estate in Ireland: