First-time buyer guide: 'Have at least another €10,000 on top of the deposit'
Jennifer Walsh Salmoran and Victor Salmoran bought a three bed semi-detached house for €325,000 in Parkside, Balgriffin, Dublin 13, with Hooke & MacDonald
"We had been renting for the last six years. We were debating whether we would buy in Dublin, or go down the country to my parents. And then it was whether we would stay in Dublin or go to a commuter town to get a slightly bigger house.
"We had an idea in our head that we didn't want a new home - we were going to have a doer-upper. Once we started looking into that, we realised how much money was needed on top of the cost price. We knew the help-to-buy scheme was coming down the line, that's when we started looking at the newer builds.
"We went to a lot of new builds in Dublin to compare what was around and became familiar with the fact that there were a lot of similarities. Maybe you're not getting the big garden that you had in your head - the front tends to be just parking space - but we readjusted to that.
"For us, family time is really important. We knew if we went outside the commuter belt we would get the big garden and more space, but we'd also lose two hours in the working day.
"You can take a gamble on a place from site plans. We had the luck of coming in when there were already a lot of people in their houses and they gave really positive feedback.
"Some positive things that we hadn't taken into account about a new home? The heat, the storage space, the finish on the house, the insulation, the sound-proofing. Small things, like there are plug sockets and a light outside. This house came with the utilities, which was another saving.
"You can't over-estimate the benefit of a good solicitor who keeps you in the loop, gives you timelines, and commits to responding to emails.
"You can choose to do the snag list on your own, but we did hire someone to come in. It's great that you can be there at the same time. Cairns [the builders] were excellent. Any extra request, an extra plug or light socket, you can ask for it. As we're in the first phase, we know the builders are on site for the next three years. If you're buying a second-hand house and the boiler goes, that's your responsibility, whereas here we have someone to ring to come over and fix it straightaway. So from an expense point of view that's really reassuring.
"One other thing: everyone talks about the deposit, but I'd advise anyone to have at least another €10,000 on top of the deposit, for their solicitor, stamp duty, moving costs, and paying for the snag list."