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Episode 6 Buyers Bootcamp – Jennie and Damien

17 January 2020

If you’re just getting started on your home buying journey then you’ll know there’s a lot to consider! From saving up that all important deposit to getting your head around house viewings, it can get a little overwhelming. To help you navigate the process, we’ve teamed up with Virgin Media to bring you an insightful new short form content series called “Buyers Bootcamp”, which follows six couples who are all at different stages of the home buying process.

Episode 6 of Buyers Bootcamp features Jennie and Damien who have moved back home to save the deposit for their dream home. Helping them on their journey is TV Presenter Darren Kennedy and Buyers Agent Liz O’Kane, as they struggle to get to grips with the home buying process. From the benefits of choosing a new-build house to the potential of a fixer-upper property, there are plenty of helpful tips for First Time Buyers along the way.

Saving Sacrifices

Whether it’s your morning takeaway coffee or your summer sun holiday, unfortunately when you’re saving the deposit for your first home, there will be some sacrifices along the way. Before setting out on your savings journey, it’s a good idea to look back at your spending for the last 3 months and group your expenditure into essential and non-essential items. Obviously you’ll have certain bills which you have to pay every month but take a look at the non-essential items and figure out what small changes you can make on a daily basis that may add up in the long-run.

Homemade lunches and coffees can be a good start, we’ve heard of people saving up to €50 a week with this one hack alone! From there, at-home movie nights instead of cinema trips can be fun and why not consider a come-dine-with-me event with your friends instead of heading out on a Saturday night, you’d be surprised at how good it feels to see your savings building up. In Episode 6 of Buyers Bootcamp, you’ll see Jennie and Damien make a big sacrifice to get their deposit together, moving back to Damien’s family home. Saving on rent has allowed them to get their deposit together in a shorter space of time, but obviously this isn’t a realistic option for everyone. It’s important to remember that all the little changes will add up in the long run though so try to be patient.

The Mortgage Journey

Before getting carried away with house viewings, it’s a good idea to figure out how much your final budget will be. Using the online mortgage calculators is a good starting point but 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 may not be entirely accurate.

 “We haven’t actually viewed anything yet because we’re still really unsure on what we’ll get approval for, so we don’t know what our budget is! We don’t want to go viewing something that we fall in love with and there’s just not a hope of us having”.

In Episode 6, you’ll see Jennie and Damien talk about why they haven’t actually viewed any properties yet as Liz and Darren help guide them through the process. When saving your deposit, remember that there will also be some extra costs involved once you find the house of your dreams and put an offer in. From Stamp Duty (usually 1% of the cost of properties up to €1m), to legal fees, valuation fees and home and life insurance, try to factor these extra costs into your budget so that you don’t end up coming up short when you finally find your dream home.

Location, location, location!

When starting out on your home buying journey, there are so many different factors to consider that it’s hard to know where to start. Deciding on a location can sometimes help to make the process more straightforward and streamlined. If you’re living in a community you know well, with neighbours and family all around, moving away can seem a bit daunting but depending on budget and availability, you might have to be flexible.

You should make a list of the location criteria that are important to you, such as distance from your friends or family, your commute into work or nearby amenities such as parks, supermarkets, schools etc. By using these criteria and deciding what’s most important to you and your family, you can open up your search and maybe even find your dream location! It’s easy to stick to the areas you know but this will limit your search, so the more areas you’re willing to consider, the more opportunities you’ll have to find the best home for you.

“Commuting is a big consideration when buying your first home, so it’s important to take in all the options”.

In Episode 6 of Buyers Bootcamp Jennie and Damien begin house viewings for the first time and struggle to decide on a location for their home. Will the temptation of lower prices tempt them to leave Lucan village, a community they have grown to love over the last five years?

New-build, New you

When it comes to choosing the right type of house for you, it can be difficult to make those tough decisions. Compared to a fixer-upper, a new-build property may seem expensive but when you take into account the potential savings that a new-build property allows for, you could be surprised at the value on offer. Some new-builds come with a kitchen or bathroom already fitted for example which can cut down significantly on your furnishing costs.

“When you’re talking to the sales agent, ask what’s included in the price. I always ask about flooring, tiles and kitchen appliances, you don’t need any surprises!”

Another consideration is to check with the estate agent to see all the different fixtures and furnishings that are included in the price. Some new builds come with flooring, appliances and other fundamentals included, which can be a great perk when settling in, just  remember to ask what is included.

Be sure to look up any grants that may be available to you for a new-build, for example you may be fortunate enough to qualify for the “Help-to-Buy Scheme”, like Jennie and Damien which gives them some flexibility in saving the full deposit amount 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 so be sure to check if it’s open to you.

If you’ve found your dream new-build development, only to realise that all the houses have been sold like Jennie and Damien in Episode 6, then you’re not alone.  Even if all houses currently have a deposit, hope is not lost! Did you know that new housing developments have a cancellation list in case someone pulls out?

‘’Ask about the cancellation list, put your name on the cancellation list, there are people who put deposits on properties who do not proceed with the sale. It costs noting to go on the list and you might get a call’’

Buying your first home can be a long journey but it’s also exciting and rewarding when it eventually pays off and you find yourself with the keys of your new home! Find out how Jennie and Damien’s story unfolds 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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Episode 5 Buyers Bootcamp – Ciara and Claire

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.

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