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Episode 5 Buyers Bootcamp – Ciara and Claire

15 January 2020

From saving the deposit right through to going sale agreed on your dream home, navigating your way through the home buying journey is no easy feat. With that in mind, we’ve teamed up with Virgin Media to bring you an insightful new short form content series called “Buyers Bootcamp”, which brings to life the trials and tribulations of First Time Buyers on their home buying journey.

This series follows six couples who are at different stages of the process and Episode 5 features Ciara and Claire on the search for their dream home, with plenty of helpful tips for First Time Buyers throughout the show. From budget woes to house viewings and bidding, join them as they explore potential properties with TV Presenter Darren Kennedy and Buyers Agent Liz O’Kane and struggle to make their dream home a reality.

Getting your Deposit Together

If you’re starting out on your home buying journey and are struggling to get your 10% deposit together as a First Time Buyer, don’t forget to take a look at what schemes or grants are available to help you. In Episode 5 of Buyers Bootcamp, Ciara and Claire are fortunate enough to qualify for the “Help-to-Buy Scheme”, which gives them some flexibility in saving the full deposit amount for their first home.

 “For many First Time Buyers today, the Help to Buy Scheme has been crucial in helping them to save the deposit for their first home”.

The Help-to-Buy incentive helps First Time Buyers by contributing to the deposit they need to buy or build a new home up to the value of €500,000. The incentive is based on the Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) that you have paid in Ireland over the previous four years. Full details on the qualifying criteria can be found on the Revenue website but remember these schemes won’t last forever!

There are also various grants which are available for doing up your home, improving the energy rating and bringing it up to modern standards. The “Better Energy Homes Scheme” which is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is a good example and full details can be found on their website. Before committing to any work though, it’s important to do your homework and ensure you qualify!

Relying on Rough Estimates

When you’re in the early stages of your home buying journey, figuring out exactly how much you can borrow is both exciting and daunting! Many people tend to use the online mortgage calculators provided by most banks which incorporate a baseline of three and a half times your salary. While this can be a good indicator, it’s really important to book an appointment with a Mortgage Advisor at your local bank to confirm that your calculations are correct as these calculators are just an indication and may not be entirely accurate.

“Our mortgage calculations were not where we thought they were”.

In Episode 5 of Buyers Bootcamp, you’ll see Ciara and Claire learning the hard way that it’s important to have these conversations with your bank early on in the process before you go looking at houses as you don’t want to be disappointed when you finally go for the house of your dreams.

 Compromising on Location

When starting out on your home buying journey, you may have an ideal house and preferred location in mind. As you move through the process however, if you’re really struggling to find what you’re looking for, then it may be time to reassess your priorities.

One of the most important things you’ll learn to do when buying your first home is to compromise. Whether it’s giving up that fourth bedroom or that massive garden you’d promised yourself, in order to get across the line and into your first home, you may need to give up a few items on your wish list.

 “My absolute ideal dream house would be a detached house with a massive garden but that’s not in the budget, definitely not in Dublin”.

In Episode 5 of Buyers Bootcamp, you’ll see Ciara and Claire struggle to make the home of their dreams happen in Dublin, within their budget. For a lot of First Time Buyers, one of the elements that they often need to compromise on is location. If you can be flexible in your location, this will open up so many more opportunities to you as a home buyer and like Ciara and Claire, this may even give you access to some new build developments that you hadn’t considered before.

Extra bits you’ll need to save for

You’ve done it; you’ve saved the 10% deposit for your first home and are ready to put an offer in with the estate agent. It’s all going so well until the extra costs starts racking up and eating into your deposit. To save stress later on in your home buying journey, it’s important to make yourself aware of all the extra costs involved at an early stage.

In Episode 5 of Buyers Bootcamp, you’ll see Ciara and Claire discovering that they actually need to pay Stamp Duty on their first home which amounts to 1% of the cost of properties up to €1m. To take a real world example, on a property selling for €300,000, they’d need to factor in saving an extra €3,000 to cover this.

“The other thing that we didn’t realise is that you have to pay stamp duty…and then you’ve got legal fees”.

After Stamp Duty, remember that you’ll also have extra charges in the form of Legal and Solicitors fees! These can vary but many solicitors charge a percentage amount of your mortgage (normally around 1% approx.) to look after the legal aspects of buying your first home. If any of your friends have recently been through the home buying process then why not ask them for a recommendation? And finally, when you find your dream house and are going through the mortgage process, you’ll also need to allow for valuation fees and home and life insurance so it’s handy to consider these costs early on in the process and factor them into your savings.

In Buyers Bootcamp, you’ll see Ciara and Claire navigating through the home buying process from savings and mortgage applications right through to viewing houses and putting in a bid on their dream home. You can find out how their story pans out by heading over to watch Buyers Bootcamp on the Virgin Media Player today.

The content of this blog does not constitute advice and is for general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice before relying on anything stated in the blog. Some of the links above bring you to external websites. Your use of an external website is subject to the terms of that site.

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