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'It's hard to get a mortgage even with good credit history'


HOUSE OF CARDS: Laura Wood and Glenn Thompson. Photo: Gerry Mooney

HOUSE OF CARDS: Laura Wood and Glenn Thompson. Photo: Gerry Mooney

HOUSE OF CARDS: Laura Wood and Glenn Thompson. Photo: Gerry Mooney

When Glenn and Laura bought their first home in 2003 they believed getting on the Celtic Tiger's infamous property ladder was the only way forward.

Like many other young professionals in their late 20s, they were convinced that if they didn't buy today, prices would balloon by tomorrow.

And so "on a whim" they put a deposit on a three-bedroom house at the hugely popular Charlesland Development in Greystones, Co Wicklow. No paperwork, no references - all they needed was a cheque book and a pen.

Now as the couple search for a bigger place to raise their family, they say finding a dream home is a financial nightmare.

"Buying this house was done on a whim. We bought it at the height of the good times and paid a €3,000 booking deposit. It was like a free for all," said Glenn Thompson.

The civil engineer said buyers were queuing out the door with many putting deposits on three or four houses - a sharp contrast to viewings Glenn and his wife, East Coast FM and Newstalk broadcaster, Laura Wood, have attended over the past year.

"It's totally different now, the process has been normalised. People are choosing the area and analysing if it actually suits their needs - rather than feeling panicked to buy," he said.

However, by the time all these boxes are ticked, they say the prices become extortionate - whether you want to build or buy.

"Lots of people in Charlesland are in the same boat as us where they've outgrown the house," he said, adding the couple had originally wanted to build.

"If you want to increase in size you are have to move away from where you want to live - that is our main issue and it's very frustrating," he said.

Ideally the couple want a four-bedroom house, detached, with a garden and increased storage space.

Glenn said finance is still a nightmare, even though they've a good credit history with a local building society.

"We've some equity in this house and I inherited some money that I put into my mortgage - but I wasn't allowed to take it back out again with a view to buying another site," he said."They've tightened up so much on the mortgage process. It's gone from one extreme to the other in the last few years," he said.

Despite the complications they believe they've finally found their lifelong home in their native Greystones area.

Sunday Independent