Saturday 24 February 2018

'I would advise any couple looking for a home to do this' - First-time buyers guide to dream home

Andrew Caufield and Aoife Manahan. Photo: Frank McGrath
Andrew Caufield and Aoife Manahan. Photo: Frank McGrath

Independent Business Desk

First-time buyers Aoife Manahan and Andrew Caulfield bought a three-bedroom semi in the first phase of Seagreen, Greystones, with Sherry FitzGerald, which at the time was priced from €395,000.

'We were living in Australia, and we came back in May 2015. We had been out of Ireland for a year-and-a-half. We were horrified at the rent prices. We had thought we'd come back, rent, and then save and buy. When we saw the rental prices we thought, we'll be renting for 10 years by the time we can afford to save a deposit.

"Luckily we have very patient and supportive parents so we both moved home. We thought, whatever we were going to put into rent, let's save it. So we met with a financial adviser. We thought if we want to move forward with this, we want to be in the best financial position possible. The financial adviser was able to say to us, 'Okay you need to do X, Y and Z.'

"You might think you're in great financial standing but there might be just one little thing that you're doing that needs to be tweaked. And if you can do that six to 12 months in advance of going for the mortgage, it just makes the process much smoother.

"In March last year, we had the deposit behind us, so we thought now is the time to look. And within the same week, the Seagreen development launched. I'm from Greystones, but we never thought we'd be able to live there from the start. We were really lucky. We met with the banks a week before it launched. We had our approval in principle sorted from a couple of lenders. I actually grew up in a Wood Group home myself - I had confidence in them. We ideally wanted something that was ready for us to move in to; we both have demanding jobs, we didn't want to have to put a lot of time into renovating the home.

"There is one thing I would advise any couple going through this to do: we opened a Dropbox folder online that we both had access to and we put all of our documents, like payslips, bank statements, proof of address, in there. So if a bank came back looking for things, we both had access to that. It just sped up everything from our side. Update it monthly with payslips and statements.

"On the day of the launch, I think it was starting at 1pm but we went up at 7am and there was already a queue at that point."

Sunday Independent

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