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First-time house hunting? Here's what's worth compromising on and why

8 January 2020

Everyone has a dream house. It's the one we've spent hours constructing in our heads, with a pool, a cinema, a massive kitchen island, a huge garden, you know - all the necessities.  Some of these we know are just the stuff of daydreams (goodbye, swimming pool) but others we feel like we really do need in a house.

When you start your house-hunting journey, you'll most likely have that long wish list of all the features you absolutely need in your new home. But as time drags on and you're not finding that perfect house - at least not within your price range - reality starts to sink in and you realise you might need to shave a couple of items off that list.

So starts the hard part - what do you take off? What is worth compromising on and what should you really be digging your heels in for?

Location, location, location

Or relocation, that is. You may have a spot that you really want to settle down in but you're finding that the only house you can afford in that area is roughly the size of a shoebox.  If you're prepared to be flexible on location and broaden your search area, you'll give yourself a lot more options and often for a much lower price. Who knows? The exact house you're looking for could be out there and you're missing it because it's just a bit down the road from your focus area.

Also, don't forget to look to the future. Sure, Dublin might be the place to be right now but what about five or ten years down the line? Think of what kind of a house you want to raise your family in, if you plan on having one. Or if you're choosing the location based on where your friends live, do you think they'll be sticking around there for much longer?

Commute Time

This may be a tough one. If you've been spoiled by years of rolling out of bed at five to nine and still being at your desk with a cappuccino by nine, this won't be the nicest change. However, being flexible on how far you're willing to commute could really increase the number of properties open to you.

Have a little look into what transport links are available in different areas. If there's a good bus or train service nearby or one starting soon, it might be worth it to make the move. You'll get used to the longer journey time and, who knows? You might even enjoy that extra little time to yourself before the workday begins.

Make sure to test out the journey yourself though. Make the trip during rush hour one day to see just how manageable it is. You want to make sure it's something you're happy doing every day.

Detached vs Semi-Detached

While most people would prefer a detached house for that extra bit of space and privacy, semi-detached homes are significantly cheaper. So ask yourself whether that extra bit of privacy is really worth the extra cost?

If you are willing to make the compromise, the key things to look out for are making sure the house is well soundproofed (being able to hear people walking around in the next house is not ideal) and, of course, making sure you suss out the neighbours. Think about how you'll affect neighbours too - if you're an avid drummer or opera singer maybe a semi-detached house isn't the way to go unless you're able to agree on practice times with the neighbours and then stick to those times.

Going over your budget

Is your budget really your budget? Sometimes you have no choice in whether or not you can go over, but what if you have the option and you find your actual dream house that is just a teensy bit over current budget. What do you do then? Hold off on those planned renovations for a few years?

If you plan on this being your forever home then it may definitely be worth the stretch. Consider how liveable the house is at the moment - if it's in good condition and you're willing to wait a while before starting any upgrades or renovations then go for it, but if the house is in a pretty poor state, you may resent having to live on a building site for the next few years because you've spent all your budget on the actual sale.

Really, take it on a case-by-case basis but don't overstretch yourself. If paying over the odds means you'll have to sacrifice holidays for the next ten years and you can never go out with your friends, it might not be worth it in two years when the gloss of living in a new house has worn off.

A turnkey vs a fixer-upper

You've always imagined moving straight into your house once you bought it but you've found a pretty great house that needs a lot of work before it's move-in-ready. You need to ask yourself if you're up for the challenge. Can you really see yourself donning paint-covered overalls and getting stuck-in?

If you are considering a fixer-upper, make sure that you cost every bit of work that needs to be done carefully and that you have the budget to complete it. See if you can do the work before you move in or if you can live in it while the work is being done. If not, you may need to factor in the cost of living somewhere else in the meantime.


Buyer's Agent Liz O' Kane on what's worth compromising on and why

Everything in life requires a bit of give-and-take and buying houses is no exception. Just don't think of compromise as a bad thing. Sometimes when you see what's available and what you're ruling out by being too picky, it can open up some great options that you'd never even considered.

So next time you're house hunting, have a little look farther afield, or visit a house that you don't think looks that great on the outside. Take a little peek at that fixer-upper that's going for half your budget and meet the neighbours of that semi-detached that's oh-so-perfect that you wish it had been detached.

It might seem like a struggle but hopefully you'll get there in the end.

If you're looking to start your own home buying journey you can book an appointment with the permanent tsb team today to chat through your options.

Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Security and Insurance required. permanent tsb p.l.c is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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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