Thursday 19 July 2018

Raising the roof: NUIG students protesting against the steep 18pc increases in purpose-built accommodation costs on campus, which they describe as a

Home truths: Students in residence for a princely sum 

My daughter is finishing up a Masters in Amsterdam and will be handing back the keys to her student flat - before it's turned around again for the September intake. The studio is self-contained with a kitchenette, living/study space and bed, with ensuite. It's in a new building of 300 or so units, freshly kitted out by Ikea and costs around €350 to €550 per month including utilities and wifi, depending on size. There are four such blocks, and that's just for one university. The Dutch government even offers a subsidy towards it - the huurtoeslag - if you find €3,150 for the...

Inheritance tax. Photo: Stock Image

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

I am a widow who was left my husband's estate in its entirety when he passed away in 2010. It is our family home which is worth around €720,000, and about €115,000 in the post office and some shares which I think are worth around €25,000. I survive on my pension which was from his company and the old age pension, which is sufficient. My concern is, at 82, that we only had one child, our daughter who has four children. I don't want her to be left a big tax bill when I die. Would it be very large and is it possible to leave everything instead to my grandchildren via trust which I...

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'Mum now needs a nursing home'. Stock image

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

My father and mother separated many years ago and she came to live with me. My dad and his partner live in what was my parents’ home. Mum now needs a nursing home. I can’t afford this, and it would need to be under Fair Deal. However, the problem is that the house technically still belongs to Mum and Dad, as they never legally separated and the HSE is saying it has to be included in the costings. But Dad and his partner are avidly refusing this and I’m caught in the middle. What advice can you give?

Stock image

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

Q: I purchased a house in 1974 which has been rented continuously. During that period I have carried out numerous renovations on the house from wiring to heating, putting in new windows and replacing the bathroom and kitchen. I am now selling it but do not have receipts for the work, which was carried out years ago. Does Revenue allow concessions for work like this carried out over 40 years against my Capital Gains Tax bill as I couldn't offset it against rental income?

'You cannot retrospectively re-write a will'

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

Q. My mother has left me her house in its entirety, a fact I only discovered after she died and which has upset both me and my sister, who expected it to be shared equally. The date of the will coincides with a particularly tough time in my life, and I expect she thought she was doing me a favour. But I want the inheritance rightfully shared with my sister - what are the tax implications, if any, of splitting it with her? The house is worth around €500,000 and we propose to sell it.

Rabobank’s head office in the Dutch city of Utrecht

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

I recently received a letter from Rabo Bank telling me that they are closing my account. They have given me options to move my savings, but I am worried — are they in trouble? I have €600,000 from the sale of my house spread across four banks on the advice of my son, who said this was safer while I am waiting on a house to be built. Some €240,000 of it is in Rabo in a fixed-term account until the end of this year. Where can I get the best return now and how can I keep it secure?

It can be a challenge to secure a mortgage and find a house. Stock image

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

We have saved €40,000 toward our first home thanks in part to my parents giving us a generous gift. Now that we're finally in position to go it's all got real. Is it better to find a house first and pay a holding deposit before looking for a mortgage or the other way round? Which bank is best? We're tempted by the cash-back offers which would make a huge difference when we're furnishing, but can we pay them off the loan instead? Also, we'd very much like to fix the loan so we can be certain of our outgoings.

Moratoriums can prove expensive

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

Q: I am looking to pay off an educational and kitchen loan I have by taking a six- month moratorium on my mortgage. It will cost me an additional €30 on my mortgage every month afterwards but would save me €300 per month on these loans and give me breathing space. Is this a wise decision and are there any implications that the bank is not telling me like whether it will affect my credit rating or issues with switching mortgage to a different bank at a later date?

New kitchen: home-improvement loan or mortgage top-up?

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

Q. When my parents died last year, they left the family home equally to their children. My portion from the sale amounts to around €76,000. I plan to pay off some debts and change my car, but I will still be left with around €38,000. Rather than put this on deposit, with rates so poor, can I put it into a pension plan and, if so, what one is the best value? I work in the leisure industry, but my employer doesn't have a pension plan.

It is wise to declare any income from a holiday home

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

I am letting out a house I own for the first time. I have fitted it out with furniture, which is sturdy but not expensive, and just prints on the walls, Ikea fittings, etc. My question is about insurance. Should I maintain contents cover on my policy on the house or is it enough that my tenants do this? I see little point in having two sets of insurance in place for the same thing. Do I need to inform the insurer I'm letting the property?