'We've basically got a new house'
AILEEN Doyle and her husband Pat Whelehan are among more than 9,000 homeowners to have benefited from the Home Renovation Incentive, introduced in last October's Budget.
The couple had ambitious plans for a two-bedroom bungalow they purchased in Tallaght, Co Dublin, last September, fully realising it needed extensive works.
Unsuitable for their needs, they planned to convert the attic and extend downstairs. Electrics, plumbing, a new roof, insulation, heating systems and windows were all needed.
With the help of building firm House2Home, the couple spent some €130,000 on the property. They qualify for the maximum tax relief of €4,050, paid over two years by way of tax credits.
"The house was built in the 1970s," she said. "It was old, tired and needed decorating, and the inside shape didn't suit, but we bought it for the potential.
"It had a small kitchen and bathroom downstairs, had little or no insulation and so we essentially stripped in back to the shell."
Work began in April after the design was completed and planning permission secured. The project was finished in 14 months, on time and on budget. Their builders also help secure grants to upgrade the heating systems.
"We put two bedrooms, a bathroom and en suite bathroom into the attic," Aileen said.
"Downstairs we put a big porch on, which allowed us to put in a stairs, and renovated the bathroom.
"At the back of the house there was a small kitchen and bedroom, and we knocked those into one to create a kitchen diner.
"We also got allowances of €2,610 from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for insulation and heating systems.
"I read about it (Home Renovation Incentive) in the newspaper, and it was a bonus. We've been left with a new house. One of the conditions of the incentive was the builder was tax compliant and House2Home provided it. They were extremely professional.
"I definitely think it should be extended, even to kick start the building trade. It's a fantastic scheme. In the previous house we were in, we got the attic insulated and there was no incentive."