As part of our AIB Livin Dublin series, we spoke to top Dublin estate agent Owen Reilly and he gave us some great advice on everything to do with searching for and buying your first property.
Owen started his own agency in 2008, providing a professional estate agency service in Dublin city centre, Docklands and suburbs from four branches, with a team dedicated to providing a superior service based on trust, transparency and innovation.
"I would advise anyone to first speak with their bank or a mortgage broker to get an insight into what is involved in making a mortgage application. A mortgage broker can shop around for you and get you the best mortgage deal".
"Your price budget will dictate the property and location you can buy in. More importantly, it will also put you in a position to bid on a property should you find the perfect one. The estate agent and seller will not consider a bid from you if you do not have mortgage approval in place. It can even be difficult to arrange a viewing without mortgage approval now that agents have to reduce any unnecessary viewings. When deciding on the right property and location for you I would always recommend thinking long term. You might think you will only be there for a few years but what if that changes?
"Is the property suitable for your lifestyle today and in the future? How close is it to where you work, socialise and your family and friends? Will there be demand from buyers for it in the future when you sell? It is close to good schools? Does the property require work? Make sure you get accurate quotes on any work that might be required. The BER rating can give a good indication of this. Will you have the time to manage the renovation process? There are grants available if making your property greener.
"If buying a house you should ask what the property title is, what the neighbours are like (and investigate this further), are there any other developments happening in the area that could impact on the future value."
"If buying an apartment, ask about the management company and sinking fund as you will become a member of the management company if you buy. Has the development carried out a fire audit recently?
"When it comes to deciding on the value and the amount to offer be sure to research selling prices, not asking prices. Agents and the Property Price Register can be a good source of data on this. All offers should be made in writing and the bidding process is regulated by the Property Services Regulator to protect the interests of all stakeholders.
"Asking prices are a combination of what the seller wants and what the agent thinks. It should be underpinned by sales of similar properties but not always. Work out the average price per sq. ft. in the different neighbourhoods you are looking to buy in. There should be a reason any asking price is above that average. This could be the condition, size of garden, view etc.
"For every property selling above the asking price, another one is selling below it. Do your research. During a viewing ask the agent how long the property is on the market, what price the vendor is hoping for and when they are looking to move.
"Remember the agent acts exclusively for the vendor but they can be a good source of information on the property, seller, neighbourhood, sales data in the area and what the trends are. Like you, they just want to do a deal.
"Since coming out of lockdown we have seen strong activity and pent-up demand from lockdown with really motivated buyers. People are looking at properties in very different ways like can they work from home, are there parks close by etc."
"September is a month a lot more property will come onto the market so buyers will have more choice. There is huge uncertainty and because of this, we are seeing less demand from investors. This means first-time buyers will have less competition. Important you organise your mortgage now to avail of the opportunities."
For more first-time buyer tips, tricks and advice, make sure to head to our bespoke AIB Livin Dublin hub.
You can also follow top Dublin estate agent Owen Reilly on his social media channels for more insider information and advice: