Home economics: Our property finance expert answers your questions
Question: I recently bought a 1940s house opposite the sea shore where it gets hit by sea spray, especially in the winter. The windows and wood surrounds are badly affected and were replaced in the 1980s with UPVC but I don't want the same again as it looks so fake. What would you recommend?
A A house by the sea is a lovely idea but it comes with problems, as you have discovered. Salt water is reactive because of its electrical charge and easily penetrates materials causing corrosion.
Eamon Hetherington of property developers GPD.ie says: "There are fantastic alternatives out there at present, and I would recommend doing some research into these. Houses built in the 1940 timeframe would have originally had metal framed windows. I would recommend an external powder-coated aluminium window instead. For the internal window, I would recommend a timber leaf, preferably with a sliding sash. Don't rule out hardwood if the budget allows for same."
Alu Clad frames are very good, he adds. "It is a combination of aluminium and timber and is easily found with window manufacturers. It is low maintenance and you have a lovely timber effect on the inside which you can also paint if you wish. Aluminium windows come in an increasing variety of factory finishes with protective coating to protect from fading from harsh weather conditions."
Q I am a first time buyer. I work in Dublin and am currently paying €750 in rent a month for a room in a three-bed property. I have a deposit of €27,000 and could make the repayments on a mortgage of €243,000. I plan to rent the second room to ensure I am financially secure. However, this is more than 4.5 times my salary. My brother is willing to complete a joint application for a mortgage as he will have our parents' property. However, the banks wouldn't accept a joint application between siblings and we aren't entitled to a mortgage with the county council scheme as it will not be his primary property. Are there any other options for me that I have not considered? If not what should be my next step? Increasing my salary substantially is not possible and I won't find my line of work outside Dublin.
A While banks regularly accept mortgage applications from siblings, what they might not accept are situations where a person is signing up to a property they won't be living in, so that another sibling can purchase a home, says Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers.
"If your brother doesn't already own a home he could go ahead and buy with you and live in the property you are jointly purchasing but it's unclear from your question why this isn't being considered and whether he is simply 'living at home' with your parents and they have given him an interest in their property, or whether he a going to inherit a tenancy by staying there." He would not be precluded from being considered a first-time buyer if he is simply living in the family home with his parents, despite awaiting a potential inheritance in the future.
There is no skirting around the loan-to-income rule as this is laid down by the Central Bank. Although some derogation is permitted (15pc of cases), these are generally reserved for potential high-income individuals, say doctors or college professors who can guarantee a future income in excess of their current one.
You mention local authority loans. These are of course an option, however, they are quite restrictive as you have alluded to. You can't earn more than €50,000 as an individual and are limited to a maximum house value of €320,000 in Dublin.
My advice would be to sit down with a mortgage broker. They will be able to explore every option with every lender. There will be new mortgage providers next year, including credit unions who will be anxious to lend.
* Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to send your questions to Sinead
The Ryan Review
A ministerial aspiration is a wonderful thing. The further down the road it aspires, the better the minister comes out of it because, almost invariably, its failure won't be on his or her watch.
That said, setting out a bold goal, particularly a worthy one, is a good thing to do. It sets the nation's tone. So, when Minister for Older People, Jim Daly announced that there would be no such thing as nursing homes in 20 years, those fearful of ending their days in total dependence on strangers were delighted, while those in the know did an eye-roll.
We're going to have 'retirement villages' instead, he told us. There are some lovely examples of such things and for those who want to live in communal, supported settings, it's a great idea.
Others would prefer to stick pins in their eyes, so Minister Harris dropped in to announce that the HSE would be providing more Home Care Packages too.
For those already in nursing homes - rarely by choice and still necessary - many have left their own home boarded up because Fair Deal doesn't allow you sell or rent it without financial pain.
Elder care is a massive issue and growing exponentially, so putting lots of different options out there is vital. The problem is that every single one is predicated on the already precarious housing market. Let's continue the conversation; it's important, but let's not lose the run of ourselves either.