Q I’m 24 and need to buy a car for work. I’ve never owned a car before . My budget will only stretch to a second-hand car and I’m worried about getting scammed or making a bad decision. What should I look out for? And what rights do I have if something goes wrong?
Shane, Co Louth
A Know who you’re buying from. If you’re buying from a dealer, you have rights as a consumer – including a new straightforward right to cancel and get a full refund in the first 30 days after you’ve purchased a car if you discover a fault.
This right is in addition to the usual redress options, namely a repair, a replacement, and a price reduction.
However, if you’re buying from a private seller, you do not have consumer rights. If you go down this route, be very careful and always have the car checked by a mechanic before you buy.
Make sure you give full consideration to exactly how you will pay for the car. Be aware that personal contract plans (PCPs) are particularly complicated so you need to know exactly what you are signing up to.
Get the full history of the car.
There are companies that will do this for a small fee and then issue you a report so you can see if the car was ever crashed, find out its true mileage and the number of previous owners, and learn if there is any outstanding finance on it.
Do your research and don’t rush into a decision.
‘I’ve been seeing a lot of ads lately about equity release. Should my wife and I avail of it or are there hidden risks?’
Q I’ve been seeing a lot of ads recently about equity release, and my wife and I have been looking into it as an option to fund some travel over the next few years. Is it a sensible option or are there any hidden downsides?
Pawel, Co Wexford
A Equity release is not something you should enter into lightly. Look at the risks and examine your alternatives. Get independent financial and legal advice, do your research, and speak to your family or other beneficiaries of your estate.
There are two forms of equity release: home reversion and a lifetime mortgage. Home reversion involves selling a share of your home in return for a lump sum. What you receive is usually far less than the actual market value of the stake. You can live in your home for the rest of your life.
With a lifetime mortgage, you borrow money against the value of your home, but interest rates are usually considerably higher than standard mortgage rates. You can find information on our site (ccpc.ie).
Other options include moving to a cheaper home, getting a different mortgage, renting out rooms, or transferring ownership to a family member in return for the cash you need. Those considering equity release to pay for nursing home care may wish to consider the HSE Nursing Home Support Scheme instead.