'Chat to your mortgage advisor now... even if you're a year from applying'
How we did it - First-time buyers Aoife McGovern and Fergus Gildea bought their three-bed semi-detached in Citywest Village with Sherry FitzGerald
Aoife and Fergus hadn't expected to buy as early as they did.
They were house hunting more out of curiosity than with a definite plan to purchase. "We were looking at new-builds because of the Help-to-Buy scheme. We were in Citywest anyway, and thought we'd go have a look, but we 100pc thought they would be out of our price range," says Fergus.
Once in the show house, they realised that the Citywest homes fell within their budget. "That shifted everything for us," says Aoife. The couple drove straight to Aoife's parents' house to discuss whether they could move back into the family home to begin saving.
The couple stress that it is never too early to get yourself mortgage ready. "If you are thinking about going for a mortgage, I would go and chat to your mortgage advisor now, so you know from the start what you need to do to get everything in order for when you do decide to apply for the mortgage," says Aoife. "Even if it's a year off from you applying for a mortgage, it saves you a lot of time."
The couple availed of the Help-to-Buy scheme. "A lot of people I talked to didn't know about the Help-to-Buy, they had no idea it even existed," Aoife says. "It's really simple to do, all done online, we had no issue with it.
"The team at Sherry FitzGerald helped us through the mortgage application and the process of picking the house; they guided us through the whole process."
Layout was a priority when it came to selecting their home at Citywest. "We had been mulling over a couple of different layouts in the development we're buying in," says Fergus. "Where we ultimately chose is located near the main road, and people were warning us about noise. Ultimately, I think if there's a little bit of noise you get used to it, but day after day, living in it - the layout was something we wanted to be comfortable with. What's going to be right for you, not what's the most convenient decision to make, is what is important."
Aoife had been researching new homes on Daft.ie for some time, something she says helped them clarify exactly what they wanted in a home. And she knew what worked in her own family home.
"I had always had a vision in my head of what kind of a house I wanted in terms of layout. In my parents' house we have a kitchen with a sitting room area as well, and then a separate front room. I have always thought the kitchen is the heart of the home and I wanted an open plan, free-flowing area."
Good transport links to the city centre were also a priority, particularly as Fergus works in town. As such, the proximity to the Luas was a major factor in their decision.
Early in the week of the launch, the couple went to the development and received a ticket. "This put us in a queue," says Aoife, "and then on the Saturday, they were launching at 10am. We were there for half eight, and basically waited around for them to call our name to go into the sales office."