Property viewings reopen: 10 houses that you simply have to see in person

As the lockdown on in-house viewing lifts, here are homes to suit every budget

Celebrate the return of in real-life viewings by making an appointment. But hurry as estate agents’ diaries are filling fast.

Monday is the day that home hunters can once again go beyond the hall door. Savvy buyers have already made their appointments, says Marian Finnegan, managing director of SherryFitzGerald. “We’re completely booked out,” she says, which means it may well be easier to schedule a haircut than try and see the interior of a home, at least for the next few weeks. Stock levels remains tight she warns, down 24 per cent from January 20 to January 21. “Demand is strong. It’s going to be a very busy trading summer.”

In west Cork, second-generation agent Maeve McCarthy of Skibbereen-based Charles McCarthy has also been inundated with queries and requests, in particular from prospective buyers eager to get inside a fine modern outside Goleen who have already seen it virtually. Built by owner and interior designer Terry O’Driscoll, the “video does not capture the tranquility of its lakeside setting,” she explains.

Margaret Fogarty of Remax Property Specialists in Waterford agrees. “While video gives some feeling for the house, it is no replacement for the in-situ viewing.”

Stephen Day, a director at Lisney, is selling 84D Mount Albany on Newtownpark Avenue in Blackrock, and is of a similar mind. “People may have been viewing homes online but it’s just not the same. First impressions are really important. Viewing in real life is a bit like speed dating. You get a good idea of whether you like it or not within the first few minutes.”

Under the lockdown restrictions agents had to up the ante to give browsers a more indepth “look” at a property through the use of video and 3D floorplan imagery. All help with separating the proverbial tyre kickers from genuinely-interested parties. Philip Byrne, director at Coonan Property found the request to show proof of funds to also be a “very progressive move”. Before, he says, would-be buyers looking may not have been ready to purchase or needed to sell to buy. “It makes the viewing process much more efficient. It also saves vendors from having to ready the house for people who are not ready to buy.”

Here are 10 properties to suit home hunters on every budget from €190,000 to €1.3million

1. Hamptons-style elegance on the Copper Coast

Address: Baytree, The Fairways, Golf Link Road, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Price: €749,500
Agent: Remax
Link to listing:

This five-bedroom property is within 15 minutes of downtown Dungarvan but feels an ocean away. Its look is inspired by east coast American shingle homes such as those in the Hamptons and has a Potterton timber-frame construction using post and beams. Set over two storeys, the main house, which has an open plan layout with underfloor heating at ground level and extends to 250sq m ( 2,700sq ft), was designed by Declan Collins Architects and has a Belgian-tiled roof. The B3 Ber-rated residence has high-speed broadband, partial sea views and is set on a third of an acre.  Built in 2005, it includes a separate, two-storey garage that extends to 1,000sq ft and has a gym and home office.

2. Beside the seaside in Baldoyle

Address: 15 Parochial Avenue, Baldoyle, Dublin 13
Price: €395,000
Agent: SherryFitzGerald
Link to listing:

This tiny little cottage, just a block from the sea in Baldoyle village, has been completely extended and modernised with its original layout streamlined for a far better sense of flow. Its two bedrooms are adjacent to each other, at the front of the property, which means the second one does not have a window. The open-plan kitchen/living room is to the rear and overlooks a west-facing back yard. There is a guest WC and utility also at this level, which measures about 55sq m (592sq ft) as well as a further 24sq m (258sq ft) of attic space and a bathroom upstairs under the eaves. The B3 Ber-rated cottage last sold in 2016 for €320,000 according to the Property Price Register.

3. Period charm with stables in Co Longford

Address: Dromard, Moyne, Co Longford
Price: €425,000
Agent: Property Partners Quinn
Link to listing – not yet live

If you always wanted to keep horses and live in a fine period home then this 1920s-built, double-fronted house which comes to market with 8.7 acres of land set out in paddocks as well as stables and a separate studio office might be just the property to lure city slickers to north Longford, near the borders with counties Leitirm and Cavan. The four-bedroom house is set on 3.4 acres of land with the rest of the land across the road. There are formal reception rooms on both sides of the hall with the sitting room and kitchen to its rear both dual aspect. There’s a separate home office or studio that has exposed brick walls and could also work as a short-term rental.

4. Canadian-inspired modernity in Greystones

Address: Celada, 3 Blacklion Springs, Greystones, Co Wicklow
Price: €1.15million
Agent O'Gorman Properties
Link to listing:

Set high on a hill above Greystones is Celada, a five-bedroom, high-spec, detached home in a small gated development built on lands once owned by artist William Orpen. The timber-framed family house has a Canadian design with input from local Delgany-based BBA Architecture. Built in 2003 it has a C3 Ber rating, a heat air exchange system, honey-coloured, Canadian birch timber flooring and a broken-plan layout at hall level with its living room stepping down into a sun-filled kitchen diner that opens out to the garden. A balcony off the main bedroom on the first floor level boasts sea views, while you can see Bray Head from the first floor landing.

5.  Slick extension overlooking a gorgeous garden

Address: 84D Mount Albany Newtown Park Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin
Price: €850,000
Agent: Lisney
Link to listing:

At first glance the interior of number 84D Mount Albany may seem a little on the ordinary side but as you step through the yellowbrick-fronted house you come to a really smart extension added in 2014 that overlooks a gorgeous landscaped garden that is a suntrap and extends the property to a sizeable 176sq m (1,894sq ft). These works by Shomera give this family residence everything it needs to accommodate all family members in a location close to schools and to the green playing fields, tennis courts and playground of Newtownpark which is pretty much just next door. All the hard work is done. Any décor changes you want to make will be superficial – music to the ears of home hunters in a market where building materials and labour costs continue to rise.

6. Contemporary cool in historic setting

Address: Claddagh Lodge, 33 St Nicholas Road, The Claddagh, Galway city
Price: €575,000
Agent: SherryFitzGerald Galway
Link to listing:

Within minutes of Spanish Arch, the Claddagh is a historic neighbourhood in the City of the Tribes that features a mix of artisan cottages and a lot of former corporation housing stock. One of the latter, Claddagh Lodge is an end-of-terrace house that was transformed  in 2005 by Kilkenny-based architect Carol Cantwell into a sizeable, two-unit property, comprising a three-bedroom house of 97sq m (1,044sq ft) with an adjoining a one-bed unit of 41sq m (441sq ft) that has a separate entrance giving you an income stream or indeed a separate space for a college-going kid. Claddagh Quay with its beguiling views of Galway Bay is less than 70 metres away from the property.

7. Lakeside designer pad

Address: The Lake House, Goleen Co Cork
Price: €695,000
Agent: Charles McCarthy
Link to listing:

If you fancy lakeside views with birdlife and otter action as well as epic star-gazing then the Lake House, home of interior designer Terry O’Driscoll offers light, space and privacy in spades. O’Driscoll whose work includes The Castle, a boutique hotel in Castletownsend, built the property between 2008 and 2010 and it includes lofty ceiling heights of up to 12 feet high with the layout structured around large uPVC glazing that frames the surrounding landscape. The four-bedroom home is beautifully sited and comes with a summer house, where you can watch the local wildlife, and observe the heavens above at night when the darkness is punctuated by the pulse of the beam of the Fastnet lighthouse.

8. Pedigree property in thoroughbred county

Address: Red House, Portgloriam, Kilcock, Co Kildare
Price: €1.3million
Agent: Coonan Property
Link to listing:

Set on 19 acres this pavilion-style house was designed by architect Greg Tisdell back in 2005 and its block and steel-frame construction overlooks a man-made pond creating a very soothing space to situate yourself within commuting distance of the capital. The four-bedroom house (three upstairs and one downstairs) is on the outskirts of Kilcock in the thoroughbred county of Kildare.  The two-storey house, which extends to 278sq m (2,992sq ft)  has underfloor heating, 9 feet high ceilings and an air heat-recovery system that all contribute to its C1 Ber rating. The main bedroom overlooks the water and has a dressing room and ensuite bathroom.

9. Borderland cutie in Co Monaghan

Address: Gate Lodge Monage, Dartrey, Cootehill, Co Monaghan
Price: €190,000
Agent: SherryFitzGerald Declan Woods
Link to listing:

Set behind the walls of the former Dartrey estate, once Dawson Grove in Ireland’s Lakeland district on the Cavan/Monaghan border is a brick-fronted abode that was built in the early 1800s as a gate lodge to the big house. The forest backdrop includes a west-facing garden and a walkway through the Coillte-owned forest to Inner Lough. Now a three-bedroom house it was gently modernised two years ago with new flooring, kitchen and bathrooms, its extension sympathetic to its original brick. It now extends to 84sq m (904sq ft) and has a very reasonable C1 Ber rating. The M50 is about a 90-minute drive.

10. Get your groove on in Loughshinny

Address: Copper Hill, 4 St Damien's Court, Loughshinny, Skerries, Co Dublin
Price: €745,000
Agent: DNG McKenna Healy
Link to listing:

This ranch-style house is stuck in a serious retro décor groove but in a really good way. For if you look beyond the abundance of timber panelling you have a really smartly-constructed, well laid-out, four-bedroom house of 281sq m ( /3,025sq ft) with on-trend arches, raftered ceilings and mezzanine levels. It also has balconies and a roof terrace with sea views while the main bedroom opens directly out to the south-west facing back garden, where there is mature planting and vast tracts of lawn. It’s been upgraded to include a new boiler and has a very decent - for this era of build - C3 Ber rating.