Having the Last Word!

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There I am now, only on the radio chatting to the Matt Cooper on Today FM’s ‘The Last Word’ – on their ‘Stretched’ series about the cost of living in Ireland.
This week – Mortgages.

Have a listen to my contribution to the show HERE – spot the non-expert!

Live Radio is a terrifying, but slightly addictive experience – I would totally do it again. Iano, Dermot & Dave…if you’re reading this, my rates are very reasonable 😉


Your baby is ugly!

The day has arrived. You’ve done the dance with all the other suitors, seen a lot of frogs, watched people steal away what you felt was rightfully yours (howiya Sarah!), and been stood up and left crying in the rain (ok possibly an unnecessary metaphor, but for the drama it’s staying in).
It’s happened, you’ve finally found ‘the one’ – and you’ve gone SALE AGREED.


It’s at this moment, reality bites. This is real.
Money is going to start leaving your account…and fast.

So I’m going to let you in on a little secret; I had some help in the initiation process for
The First Time Buyer’s Club. I’d consider myself a fairly smart person (what?) but this is handing over the best part of €300k for the next 30 years, not just deciding if you want plain cheese or bacon & cheese fries from Eddie Rockets at 2am you know (always bacon & cheese though, right?) This was big, the biggest in fact. So I brought in the experts.

Now I’m not being paid to say this (my blog is only a few weeks old sure, hardly Pippa O’Connor! hey @pipsypie) so I say this only because it’s true; I could not have got through the last couple of months without the amazing Gerry Hiney and his team over
at Park Financial. I went to them as soon as I had my deposit, and to get the original mortgage offer they submitted all my paperwork to the various banks.
Eh, hello, the dream!
And once I found my little gem of a gaff, Gerry talked me through each of the offers on the table (I’ll do a bit about why I chose Permanent TSB in another post) Anyway, there was not a question Gerry couldn’t answer nor a problem he didn’t offer a solution for.
I won’t gush on about them, but if you’re at the start of your process, give these guys a buzz. Genuine ledgebags.

So first, the holding deposit  – this was 5,000 smackers and needed to be paid to the Auctioneer the day I went sale agreed. I got a bit of a fright when this was asked for, nobody had really mentioned this was the norm, but all was cool. It’s totally refundable and if something, god forbid, does go wrong with the sale, you’ll get it back.
So if you’ve found ‘the one’, stick that €5k down.

Next up, the bank’s valuation. The bank basically needs to know that the house is worth what they’re going to lend you. Makes sense right! You’ll need to pay for this valuation, ‘that’ll be €150, please’. Once all is sound, things can start moving.

Then comes the beast; the structural survey. This is the bad boy that separates the women from the men (see what I did there! #whatwouldBeyoncedo)
Now, before I scare the living shite out of you, the reason I had issues with my survey is down to the fact that I decided nothing other than a 100 year old hipster artisan cottage with original features (yes, that’s how I explain it when people say – ooh what did you buy? I don’t care.) was going to be good enough for me – so yes, I kind of brought it on myself.

Now I’ve watched enough episodes of Location, Property Ladder, Houses Under the jaysus Hammer – all of them, millions of times. I know what a sh*t hole looks like. My new love was not a sh*t hole, but my god did I get a fright when the report came back.
Imagine someone scanning every single inch of your body and telling you exactly what was right and wrong with it, I mean it just hurts. Other than that the only thing I can compare it to, is someone telling you your baby is ugly….over and over again, over 23 pages.


So in the next post I’m going to bring you through the process that happens to your new love, the scrutiny, the fault finding and public shaming (again, it’s staying for the drama).

Grab a blanky ladies and gents, cause sometimes the truth hurts!





Dude, I’ll see your €300k and raise you…

Let’s jump ahead now for a second; you have your deposit, you’ve spent every god damn waking hour looking at property sites, you’ve queued in line to view them (oh did I not mention that, yeah that’ll happen) and you’ve only gone and found one. You’ve found somewhere you not only think is pretty sweet, but somewhere, something, that you’re willing to spend more money on, than anything else in your life.

When this happens remember these words…dude, chill.

Try and be less…..

And more…

This is the start of a process, you’ve got to keep your cool and get ready to possibly play the long game. On my journey as a First Time Buyer, I put bids in on just two houses – both very different experiences…and actually both very different properties.

“Oh, sure if it’s meant for you, it won’t pass you by” – jaysus, if I heard that once I heard it a thousand times. But you know, I kind of feel that’s what happened in the end, so get ready to hear it, smile and push on.

First, I’ll tell you about the house I didn’t get…

I viewed it on a rainy February Friday evening and got all of the feels – you’ve gotta get the feels – it was a 1930’s terraced house in D9 and needed fair bit of cosmetic work, but the bones of it were good. A decent investment. And the current offer on it when I viewed it was under the asking price…boom! For the purpose of the story we’ll say the asking price was €260k. Cool? Great.

“Sarah” – the other bidder had offered €253k and I thought I was on easy street.

Me: Yeah, so eh I’m gonna close this down, nothing to see here,€257k. You. Are. Welcome!
Sarah: €258k
Me: Alright Sarah, calm down. €260k
Sarah: €261k
Me: I don’t think you get what’s happening here love? €263k
Sarah: €264k
Me: €265k
Sarah: €266K
Me: Now Sarah, you’re starting to get on my wick. How about €270k, take it outta that!
Sarah: €271k
Me: Christ Almighty. €272k
Sarah: €273k
Me: €274k
Sarah: €275K
Me: Right that’s it, I’m smokin’ Sarah out – €280k *mic drop*
Sarah: €281k
Me: *picks mic up* Oh for jaysus sake, is this one for real. €282k
Sarah: €283k

…and on and on it went, up to €295k. €42k over the original offer and 4 weeks of mental torture against my arch nemesis. I often wonder did she curse me as much as I did her.

Sarah eventually got the house, but for one main reason – I found the house I’m currently buying in the meantime, and loved it more. In hind sight I had been in serious danger of paying more for a house than it was worth….to me anyway. I couldn’t pull out of it, I mean I could have, at any stage. I just didn’t want to.
There was no way Sarah was getting my house.

Now whilst I wasn’t about to bid more than I could afford (remember our 10% deposit sums kids?), I was slowly upping my mortgage repayment, and giving away savings that
I was going to need for a house that had a periwinkle-blue bathroom suite to replace.

Thankfully my soon to be new home came along and saved me. I saw it on a Sunday, put an offer in on the Monday, and went Sale Agreed on the Tuesday. No lie.

But that was only the start of the next eye-opening chapter in world of a First Time Buyer. Tune in, next time to see what happened then – except you Sarah, you can piss off.






House Hunting #nofilter

Let’s take a breather from the cash for a second, I don’t want you to give up all hope and move back in with the folks. So a side step to actually looking for the gaff then (note: for those of you not from Dublin, I apologise if the word gaff is now getting annoying …but listen, it’s better than ‘dwelling’ or ‘property’ and I can’t keep saying ‘house’, so I’m sticking with it).

Right, so I’ll keep it simple. The obvious and best places to look, (and if nothing else to start getting excited about buying your first home) are daft.ie and myhome.ie. I am addicted to property searching anyway, always have been – sometimes I like to play the lottery game and pretend I’ve a crazy budget with neither care nor sense to how I spend it….well that’s just me #propertyporn

In my actual real life search, I did find that myhome.ie seemed to have some extra properties, especially houses – maybe that’s a legacy thing as daft used to be all about the renting. So note to self, go on both sites even if the same stuff keeps coming up, you just never know.

Now lads, listen up…we all have social media sites – Insta, Snapchat, Facebook, and we all know how we curate, filter and edit the crap out of ourselves til we’re barely recognisable; well the world of property porn is no different.


For those of you who don’t get the above ref. it’s from Game of Thrones and I suggest you get on it ASAP.

So, the people putting up property pics online are pros, like proper pros – wide angled lenses, photoshop, filters – the whole shooting match. They suck you in so bad, you’ll be ready to buy online. So really the only way to know if a place is of any use, is go and see it. And I hate to say it to you, you will be very disappointed at least 60% of the time. I got myself proper excited about places only to turn on my heel the minute I got there.

As I say it’s no harm in the early stages of saving, go to a few open viewings, get to see the online versus reality for yourself, and at least when it comes to the time when you’re chomping at the bit, you’ll be well wise to the tricks of the trade.

In the next instalment, I’ll tackle the cold harsh world of actually putting an offer on your house – the poker face players and the ruthless bidding wars.

It’s a jungle out there kids, be careful.





It’s all about the money, money, money…

So they say it’s rude to talk about money, but when it comes to buying a house there’s no avoiding it. It’s literally all you will think about when you first decided to join ‘The First Time Buyer’s Club’. How much can I borrow? How much should I save?  How much will I get away with saving? How much will I need? And the list goes on…

Quite honestly, there’s been a load of things that I had no idea about and lots of little extras that will eat away at your savings and before you know it, you’ll be like..


So first off; savings. If I could give my 20 year old self some advice it would be to open an account and chuck €50, €20, even €5 in whenever I could. Honestly it’s the best thing anyone can do – I of course did not do this, so I’ll carry on.

Open an account in the Credit Union or Post Office, somewhere where you can’t get to it when you’re drunk on a Friday night and someone suggests an impromptu holiday booking. I chose the Credit Union and now with everything online it’s easy peasy. ‘Well that all sounds very obvious’ I hear you say – yes it is, so get up off your arse today and open an account. Simples.

Decide if there’s stuff you can do without – all those coffees at €3 a pop, that tenth pair of Top Shop jeans (but they’re not the same, these have frayed ankles!!!). Do you actually go to the gym you pay €50 a month for. Really? And holidays…this was the biggest thing I sacrificed. I was a well seasoned traveller doing big €2-3k holidays a year – Nepal, Thailand, US road trips, all put on hold for the years I was saving hard – well places aren’t going anywhere, it can wait. World; I’ll see you soon.

Decide what you can save every month, and just stick to it. If you don’t, you won’t get there, so it’s entirely up to you how long you want to save for – harsh but true! If you’ve any cash left in your current account at the end of the month, lash that in to your savings too. It all adds up.

So what are you saving for? Well theres..
The Deposit
The Stamp Duty
Solicitor Fees
Valuation Fees
Surveyor’s Fees
….and some other stuff you wont have thought about.
Continue reading “It’s all about the money, money, money…”

Peter Pan Syndrome

Pembroke Gardens

So this is the street where I live….for now. A beaut of a place nestled in the heart of Ballsbridge, with every single god damn thing you could imagine on your doorstep – most recently a Boojum (yeah, I know – drool!) It’s a beautiful house, a fabulous place and I have lived here for many amazing years with many amazing house mates – hi guys 🙂

So, why move? Why join ‘The First Time Buyers Club’? Who knows for sure, but I think similarly to the salmon who just frickin’ have to swim up stream, there is an innate sense in me to own somewhere to call ‘my own’.

I don’t drive, actually can’t drive (judge someone who cares, ok!) and I have no children, so in a way I feel I’ve been living a bit of a Peter Pan life – just floating along and never really growing up, whatever that means. It helps of course that I look about ten, ok five years younger than I actually am so can pretend I have lived less years than I actually have. But the time has come to leave Wendy, Tink and Lost Boys and do this…grow up and buy a gaff.

So this humble little collection of thoughts, learnings and let’s face it, very likely lots of mistakes, is about the journey I’m embarking on out of Never Never Land and over to my spiritual home – Dublin’s North Side, Phibsboro to be exact.

Want to come along? Cool. Will you hold my hand though, I’m a little scared!