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Bank of Ireland’s First-time Buyer’s Guide has been designed to lead you safely through the home buying journey


Getting started: Some penny pinching will be required but the rewards can last a lifetime


Bank of Ireland has produced a free guide for first-time buyers to buying their first home. Here’s a taste of what it covers.

Click the image to download the guide
Click the image to download the guide

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone. It’s up there with getting married or having a baby. You may currently be saving towards a deposit or have saved a sizeable sum of money and are considering taking those first tentative steps towards becoming a homeowner.

Understanding the process is the key to simplifying it. Bank of Ireland’s First-Time Buyer's Guide will walk you through all the steps to consider before embarking on this exciting journey.

The first step you should take is to talk to the bank to gauge what it is you need in order to secure a mortgage. An informal chat with a mortgage specialist will tell you what you should be saving, what you can expect to borrow and what documentation will be required in order to secure a loan.

[Download the First-Time Buyer’s Guide now]

Some penny-pinching will be required but the rewards will outweigh the hardship. Once you’ve secured mortgage approval in principle, you can start the house-hunting process.

This takes time and energy. You are going to view a lot of properties throughout this process and the more homes you see the better the chances you will choose the home that fits all your needs and ticks all boxes.

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CASE STUDY: Frank, married with two young children

We made a lot of offers and got outbid several times, which is disheartening, but when you find the right property and your offer is accepted, it’s a great feeling

 “We’re currently in a two-bed apartment and have just had our second child, so it was a case of no choice really, we needed to buy a home for our growing family as there is no room where we are.

We had been saving for quite a while. We’re good savers anyway but four or five years ago we cranked it up to the maximum we could afford, penny pinching everywhere. We saved money in lots of little ways and it all added up; we cycled to work instead of taking the train, and brought our lunches to work.

We went to the bank and were told the amount we could expect to borrow and what type of savings we needed. You need to show you can save consistently.

In terms of house hunting, in the beginning we got excited about buying but that excitement soon dissipated when we realised what we were going to be able to afford. We started off on a high and then we started to get a little battle hardened, which was a good thing. We then had an advantage over people who were starting out on the journey and were rejecting places for small reasons.

We saw lots of houses and went to ones we weren’t even interested in. We were looking in the Bray/Greystones area, but we didn’t rule anywhere out. We knew our ideal area was beside the sea, that was our luxury priority, but more space was the top priority for our growing family.

We made a lot of offers and got outbid several times, which is disheartening, but when you find the right property and your offer is accepted, it’s a great feeling.

The paperwork side of things was quite easy. We were a little intimidated as we had heard it is tough, but it really wasn’t. I’m constantly in touch with the solicitor and the bank, to make sure we’re doing everything at the right times.

My advice to a first-time buyer is to look at as many places as you can, it’ll give you an idea of what your money will get you. Also, look at places you might have ruled out - you could be pleasantly surprised.

If you’re buying with someone else, it is a good idea to write out your priorities for your dream home so that your priorities tally.

If you are a renter, and can afford it, I would say go for it. Rents are so high at the moment, it’s a no-brainer.”

It’s important that you choose an estate agent that has a good reputation and the right approach for you. Estate agents will have an in-depth knowledge of the area you want to buy in. They will also be able to answer any questions you might have about the property, the vendor, the price they realistically expect the property to sell for, as well as any offer that might be considered.

With Bank of Ireland you can get house-hunter mortgage approval that lasts for six months, followed by a formal mortgage offer letter that generally allows up to a further six months for the mortgage to be borrowed. [Read more about what's involved in the Bank of Ireland First-Time Buyer’s Guide]. When you have been approved for a loan, make sure to hire a surveyor and a solicitor, specialising in conveyancing.

House prices are rising all of the time so make sure you know the absolute limit to what you can spend. If a property really is out of your price range, then don’t stretch to what you cannot afford and remember, do not lose heart, the right property could literally be right around the next corner.

Download the Bank of Ireland First-Time Buyer’s Guide