Monday 19 March 2018

Moving concerns: The single mum - Budget: €220,000+

From first-time buyers to downsizers, the same concerns are felt. Deirdre Reynolds speaks to the movers and shakers

Ellen Fitzpatrick from Dublin.

As a single mum buying for the first time, Ellen Fitzpatrick was "surprised but delighted" to get rubber-stamped for a mortgage in just six weeks last year - and has been searching for the perfect place to raise her four-year-old son, Cathal, ever since.

Ellen Fitzpatrick and her son Cathal McKeown aged 4 at home in Tallaght. Pic: Bryan Meade
Ellen Fitzpatrick and her son Cathal McKeown aged 4 at home in Tallaght. Pic: Bryan Meade

One of Ireland's growing number of 'boomerang kids', the 38-year-old moved back in with her folks in Tallaght two-and-a-half years ago in order to save towards a starter home.

Now Ellen - who works at an investments bank in the city centre - says she's ready to go for it: "I saw a place just before Christmas and I loved it, but I was outbid. The asking price was €190,000 and it went for €222,000. I think there was maybe seven people bidding at the time.

"I am in a situation where there's not much in the area that I want to live in, so when a place comes up that's in really good condition, you have to be ready."

Originally, Ellen was scouting for a two-bedroom apartment in either Firhouse or Ballycullen. As little Cathal gears up for 'big school' later on this year, however, now she's got her heart set on a small house with a back garden in the same area.

"Cathal is in montessori at the moment," says Ellen. "I had kind of hoped to get a place by the time he gets into school. A house really is the dream, even if it's a small two-bed house. Just to have a garden.

"Between a small mortgage and my savings, my budget is €220,000. Obviously the longer I save, the more possible a house becomes."

As well as scouring websites including MyHome and Daft, Ellen also applied for her mortgage online.

The loan approval, however, is due to expire next month and now she's crossing her fingers that she'll get re-approved for the same amount: "I was really nervous but I was delighted that [AIB] approved the mortgage for me.

"I used online mortgages and would recommend it. You upload the documents that they require and that's it. There was no going into the branch. Nothing has changed, so I'm really hopeful that I get the same amount approved."

Determined not to be outbid for a fourth time, Ellen admits holidays and other luxuries are out in 2016: "When I'm bidding, I'm thinking, 'OK, there goes a new car' or 'There goes our holiday'. It's scary - it can be going up in €1,000, €2,000 and then go up to €5,000, and suddenly you're at your limit and have to back out.

"It's really hard," she adds, "but it'll be worth it just to get into our own place and be completely independent."

Irish Independent

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