Cork becomes focus as first-time buyer's mortgage event heads south
Ulster Bank is inviting prospective first-time buyers to a free informative event with hints and tips about finding the right home, the right mortgage and renovating
Free events are being held in Co Cork and Co Dublin to advise first-time buyers on buying, renovating and mortgages. Photograph: Getty Images
For anyone looking to buy and redevelop a family home, architect Peter Crowley understands exactly what you’re going through. The founder of architectural practice PAC Studio doesn’t just work with people going through the process, he recently did it himself.
“We moved family home two years ago, so I’ve gone through it personally,” said Crowley, who is one of the main speakers at an Ulster Bank event for first-time buyers, which takes place in Cork’s River Lee Hotel on Thursday, April 25th, at 6.30pm.
Award-winning architect Crowley will pass on the benefit of both his professional and his personal experience, to help aspiring first-time buyers make the best choices possible when it comes to deciding whether or not to renovate.
To attend the event taking place in Cork for first-time buyers, register here
The most important first step is to consider how much work you want, or will be able, to do, he says. “Renovating is one of the biggest undertakings you’ll ever do. You need to be up for it because it is very demanding."
“I was looking for something I could redesign and I knew what I wanted. I bought a 1970s house with almost nothing done to it, stripped it back to the bare walls and started from there.”
If you don’t have the appetite, or the budget, don’t do it. Opt for a turnkey home instead.
If you are thinking of renovating a property, do your homework. “It’s important to determine the scope of the work that will be required. The cost of renovating is probably a lot higher than you think. People may have a pot of money of €50,000 or €60,000 and think it’s a lot – which it is in other respects – but not in terms of construction, because of the high cost of materials.”
Selecting the right mortgage can help you keep control of costs too, says Kevin Byrne, Ulster Bank’s mobile mortgage manager. "It's partly why we launched our Ulster Bank First Five mortgage campaign, as it focuses on five great benefits for first-time buyers," he says. Byrne explains that there will be a team from Ulster Bank present, ready to answer queries from first-time buyers. "We want to be of real help to our customers at every stage of the process," he says.
Peter Crowley recognises this need to offer real help also, as first-time buyers can often can get overwhelmed with the volume of high-cost issues they need to get to grips with. Typical big-cost factors to consider, even if you’re not doing a full overhaul, include replumbing or rewiring, the costs of which can be “huge”, he says.
Don’t be deceived by what he calls the “fabric” of the house. “A lot of houses that are 15 to 20 years old can look quite modern, but don’t hold any heat. With mortgage costs people know exactly what’s going out each month, but utilities can be harder to budget for, so you need to know what to expect.”
Reduce the risk
There are things you can do to reduce the risk for your project. “Firstly, get an architect you can work with and are comfortable with,” says Crowley. “There is no reason why a project has to run out of control. The most likely reasons are ‘unknowns’, so budget for a 10 per cent contingency fund and consider it spent, because things like opening up the ground and finding a pipe no one knew was there always happen, yet can’t be foreseen.”
Control the brief. “Accept from the outset that your pot of money won’t allow you to get everything you want - life isn’t like that, so pick what you need.”
Then, have the discipline to stick to it. “Guard against the ‘sure while we’re at it we might as well do it’ mentality. It’s all very well if there is budget for it but, if not, guard against project creep. Remember too that with the building contract, at the start, costs are reasonable because there is competition. With add-on construction it’s open season because there is no competition.”
“Our move changed our life as a family,” says Crowley. “Our kitchen island is the most sociable part of the house, and all the glazing in summer means the house and garden are all the one space, with the kids, who are five and six, in and out all the time. It has transformed us.”
Other speakers at the Ulster Bank first-time buyer event include Angela Keegan, managing director of MyHome.ie. Architect and judge on RTÉ’s Home of the Year TV show, Hugh Wallace, will MC the event, with his colleague Peter Crowley, featuring as a speaker along with interior designer Jo Linehan, and Ulster Bank area manager, Wayne Kirby.
For those looking to find out more about their own mortgage eligibility, and perhaps get the ball rolling with an application, Ulster Bank’s mortgage team will be on hand to walk people through the mortgage process.
With rents currently costing more than mortgage repayments, now might be a good time to consider it.
“The key questions we get are how much can I borrow and how much will it cost? With mortgages, the basic information is the most important,” says Kevin Byrne. “There’s no such thing as a silly question. For us, it’s all about demystifying a subject that can sometimes seem a little daunting.”
“We’ll be able to explain the features of today’s mortgage products. Our aim is to take the mystique out of mortgages for first-time buyers - and indeed any buyers - and to answer any questions at all that they may have.”
The Cork event takes place on Thursday, April 25th, in The Mirror Room of The River Lee Hotel at 6.30pm.
Speakers on the night will be:
- MC: Hugh Wallace
- Peter Crowley, architect and judge on Home of the Year
- Jo Linehan, interior designer
- Angela Keegan, Myhome.ie
- Wayne Kirby, Ulster Bank area manager
To attend the event in Cork for first-time buyers, register your interest here.
For more, see ulsterbank.ie/firstfive
Security and insurance required. Product fees may apply. Over 18s and residential mortgages only. Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Credit facilities subject to repayment capacity and financial status.
Warning: Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any other loan secured on it.
Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future.
Ulster Bank Ireland DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.