Buying a House in Ireland
Irish Property Sites
that keeping track of house prices is a full time business. So, I'll leave
it to the estate agents. I've looked through many, many Irish property sites.
The better ones that I've seen are listed on the Full Site.
Be aware of some of the infamous practices
that may be encountered from auctioneers, the real estate agents of this nation.
First, multiple bids can be entertained by the seller. In the U.S. (or California,
at least) when one bid goes in, no others can be submitted by a real estate
agent until the first one is agreed or rejected. Some auctioneers here reportedly
charge a fee of the buyer to perform the same service of submitting no further
bids, and this without the seller's knowledge.
The market is now stagnant, but in earlier sellers' markets, the stories were choice. It was standard practice
to quote a selling price that is much lower than what the house was actually
worth. This low price brought in more lookers. Then the house was put to auction,
and the selling price was typically higher than that originally quoted - as much as 100% higher.
Buyer beware is very much the rule on older
houses. Before you make an offer on any house, you'll want to hire a building
inspector to look over the property. One of my brothers-in-law did just that
and was assured that the house in question was structurally sound. But, after
buying and moving in, my brother-in-law found that the older part of the house,
dating back more than a century, was riddled with dry rot and the walls weren't
even bound with mortar, but with the more ancient method of simple mud. Caveat
Why has nothing been done? Tthe major party in government throughout the past decade of huge house building is well known as the party of the builders. The Taoiseach/Prime Minister himself took briefcases of cash from builders. So, it's no surprise that, despite constant promises of better oversight, not much has been done. The game is rigged and you're the riggee.
All this sounds rotten. Actually, many people
have no such problems when they buy a home. It is because they are unusual
that such cautionary tales reach the newspapers. I have dealt with several
auctioneers and have mostly received honest, professional service.
Due Diligence and the
When you go looking for a house, bring along
a good topographic map. Irish planning authorities, for all their experience
with H2O, apparently regard the stuff as an inert substance. And flood plains
seem to be regarded as an overlooked housing resource.
The most egregious example was when Westmeath
County Council approved for residential development a floodplain. They gave
the go-ahead during a wet week when the acres in question were actually 6
feet beneath the water.
Similarly, Wicklow County
Council has now acknowledged it harbours 88 illegal dumps, including an
old quarry where the Council itself allegedly dumped 69,000 tonnes of waste
going back 20 years.
O surprise, surprise!
This in a country where the County Councillors can tell you the property
boundaries and children's communion dates of every farm in the parish.
There may be no golden
lamp for you, but your "wretched refuse" is always welcome.
The lesson is clear.
Don't count on a real estate agent/auctioneer telling you about the existence
of such a dump behind the lovely stone wall of that auld cottage you're
planning to buy. Due diligence is a phrase not much used here, but which
is entirely applicable when dealing with the housing industry.
The government has put up a website - http://www.floodmaps.ie - that contains detailed reports and maps of all flooding events in the country over the past 15 years. Use it, along with the sister site http://www.flooding.ie BEFORE you purchase a home.
- The Full Site
The Full Site covers
a whole lot more. A partial list includes
- Irish property web sites - links and recommendations
- Stamp Duty
- Land Prices
- The current state of the housing market.
- Building Methods
- Standard items that will be left out of any
house unless you specify them.
- Avoiding pitfalls and problems.
- Average prices.