Youthful purchase abroad disbars couple from first-time buyer status

Q&A: Dominic Coyle

 Revenue-sharing rules mean information about your partner’s property ownership and mortgage are available to Irish tax authorities. photograph: Getty Images

Revenue-sharing rules mean information about your partner’s property ownership and mortgage are available to Irish tax authorities. photograph: Getty Images

 

I am a first-time buyer renting with my partner, who is originally from eastern Europe. He moved here 15 years ago. Years ago he bought an apartment is his village back home, planning to move home but never did. He has never lived in the apartment, he still has a mortgage on it as the housing market is poor over there and to sell it would incur a loss.

As we are both full-time working professionals and he has never lived in that property or owned a property in Ireland, is there anything available to us or would we automatically be classed as non-first-time buyers, so needing a 20 per cent deposit?

Ms V.C., email

Unfortunately for you once either of you has previously acquired property – regardless of the circumstances – you will both lose access to first-time buyer status.

Lenders will require a declaration on this, and new revenue-sharing rules mean information about your partner’s property ownership and mortgage are available to Irish tax authorities. Trying to scam the system could prove very costly in the long run.

The only way around this is if you were to buy the property alone in your own name. You are a first-time buyer if purchasing by yourself, and would have access to a lower deposit threshold and even Help to Buy.

Of course, the problem is making the numbers work. Working on the salary multiple available to you by yourself could be challenging to secure the home you want.

If you are living as a couple the banks would almost certainly be looking for both of you to sign any mortgage agreement so that their risk is spread and the numbers stack up better. If you are buying solo you would certainly need to be sure there are clean lines to sources of funds.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or by email to dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

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