Searching for the perfect first home? Download this free guide to getting it right

Choosing a property is the most exciting part of buying a home. Let Bank of Ireland’s First-Time Buyer’s Guide help you make the right choice

Bank of Ireland First-Time Buyer's Guide

Decision time: While a two-bed terraced house might seem like the dream home right now, perhaps you should consider the additional space needed as your family grows. Photograph: iStock


On your journey to homeowner, there are numerous steps to be taken along the way and it can all get a bit daunting.

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

But, to help you succeed, Bank of Ireland has produced a free First-Time Buyer’s Guide to lead you successfully through the mortgage journey. 

On that journey, one of the most exciting steps is choosing a property. It’s not a simple step but with easy to follow checklists and advice, the mortgage guide can make it that bit little less complicated and, hopefully, much more enjoyable.

As you’ll read in the guide, before you settle on a property, it’s a good idea to create a priorities list that will help inform your decision making.

This list might include factors like the number of bedrooms you require, the size of the garden and the aspect of the property. Some will be deal-breakers; criteria that you are not prepared to budge on, while there may be room for manoeuvre with some of your other priorities. But remember, you should be prepared to compromise as it’s very hard to find a property that will match everything on your wish list.

After you have settled on a location, and have drawn up your priorities list, it’s time to contact auctioneers who can present you with a selection of properties in your chosen area.

You may have already noticed a number of houses for sale while checking out neighbourhoods, so start by calling the selling agents to arrange a viewing.

It’s important to get expert advice when you do choose a property; the cost of a surveyor or an engineer is money well spent. They will be able to look at any structural issues within the property and will put your mind at rest before you sign on the dotted line. Any problems that are found now could save you thousands in the long run.

While a two-bed terraced house might seem like the dream home right now, perhaps you should consider the additional space needed as your family grows. If the property is small, ask yourself, is there room to extend and will you get planning permission easily? Consider these factors now before you buy.

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

This will be the most expensive purchase of your life so take the time to get it right. Walk through the property and imagine yourself living there. Look past old wallpaper and an overgrown garden, as these are cosmetic issues, easily rectified.

While you might have your heart set on one specific type of property, take the time to view other options. You may have dreamed of a period house with lots of character and features but a new build may be a better option for you.

Lastly, never stop asking questions, from the auctioneer, the surveyor and the neighbours. The more questions you ask, the more informed your decision will be.

Case study: John’s story


You will find the house that is right for you but you might have to wait for it to come

“If you are part of a couple, make sure your priorities match up and you really want the same things from a house. I think compromise will happen naturally as you start to go to places and realise what your budget will get you. Your dream house might have to change a little. You have to go in with a positive attitude and be patient. You will find the house that is right for you and that you are happy with but you might have to wait for it to come.

“Compromising on the house comes naturally; we feel so happy with the house we bought in the end but I think that had it been the first house we had gone to see we may not have felt that way. At first you want every box ticked but you soon realise that’s not going to happen. We really wanted to be close to the sea and we got a house within walking distance so that was a big deal for us. In terms of expert advice, for a new build I don’t think you have to be as cautious with a surveyor or engineer but for a second-hand property, then it really is a good idea to get someone decent to look over the house.

“My advice to any first-time buyer is to go for it. We were sort of giving up hope as we had been outbid on many places but I think we eventually got lucky with the house that we bought. And it’s the right house for us. It’s really worth doing it and was worth the wait.

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