Saturday 24 March 2018

Family's joy as daughter buys back house taken over by bank

Mulvey, with
her husband
Martin, who
bought back
her father’s
house in
Orla Mulvey, with her husband Martin, who bought back her father’s house in Westmeath
The house in Westmeath

Charlie Weston and Colm Kelpie

AN EMOTIONAL woman has bought back a house that had been repossessed by a lender from her brother -- for a quarter of the boom-era value.

It is one of the first instances of its kind where a close relative has publicly bought back a property after a bank took possession of it.

Seamus Farrelly had re-mortgaged the Co Westmeath house, which was estimated to be worth about €300,000 during the boom, and yesterday it was bought for €76,000 by his sister Orla Mulvey at an auction in Dublin.

It is understood the family had offered €20,000 to sub-prime lender GE Money for the house, which rejected the offer but allowed the family buy the property at auction.

The Irish Independent also understands GE Money intends to pursue the father for the balance of the mortgage.

The saga began when Mr Farrelly found himself unable to meet the high interest payments charged by the subprime lender as the economy collapsed.

Ms Mulvey made an emotional appeal to those at the Merlin Auction in Dublin to be allowed to buy back the Castlepollard, Co Westmeath, property for her family.

The €76,000 sale price was €6,000 above the reserve.

Ms Mulvey said her family was "very happy".

"All the land around the house is my father's land," Ms Mulvey said. "He remortgaged the house to buy a building site. I'm delighted. I can't believe it."

Estate agents yesterday estimated the property's value during the boom at about €300,000

Ms Mulvey ended up as the only bidder after another person interested in buying the large house withdrew.

Property expert Carol Tallon said the sale of the property to a related party would have to have been agreed by GE Money for it to be allowed into the auction.

"If the lender felt it was being outsmarted by a connected party it would have pulled the property out of the auction," she said.

Ms Tallon, whose firms Buyers' Broker represents home buyers, said more and more repossessed properties were being bought by family members, with the agreement of banks.


"An agreed debt write-off would be in place before the property would go to auction. But no one is getting off scott-free. Lenders always put in place provision for a personal loan of €30,000 to €40,000. Whether they pursue this or not, is another matter."

The Castlepollard property was built by Seamus Farrelly. When the farmer lost possession of the house there was a dispute about access to it, while the auction was told by Ms Mulvey that there was no running water.

This complicated the sale of the property to those outside the family.

Westmeath estate agent Aidan Davitt said the house could have been sold for at least €140,000 on the open market.

The Templanstown, Castlepollard house was one of only five properties to sell at auction and one of only four whose bidding exceeded its guide price.

A further 13 failed to sell but the auctioneers are hopeful of concluding sales and have entered negotiations with most of the highest bidders.

Denis Mahon bought a three-bedroom house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, for €86,000 -- €6,000 more than the reserve price.

Mr Mahon said he and his fiance had been waiting to buy for a number of years.

A story published yesterday erroneously stated that Ms Mulvey had bought back a property repossessed from her father, Michael Farrelly. In fact the house was repossessed from her brother Seamus Farrelly. We are happy to clarify this matter.

Irish Independent

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