Journalists

Monday 10 December 2018

A bridging loan isn't available to a couple who wish to downsize

Home Economics: Our property finance expert answers your questions 

Question: I read with interest your paper's article about older folk freeing up their houses and downsizing. We are such a couple and find banks are unwilling to help us. We have a five-bed house ready for the market which is mortgage free and valued at €650,000. Our plan is to build a smaller house in our side garden. Ideally we wish to remain in our family home while the new house is being built as we have a disabled daughter who needs a downstairs bedroom. We have asked various banks to borrow the build cost while offering our own home as a guarantee. Each one has declined...

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Home Economics: Our property finance expert answers your questions 

Question:My wife passed away and we have no children. My home is worth perhaps €400,000, and I have around €25,000 in the post office. I live more or less on my pension, which is €16,200 including the old age pension. My wife's death has brought my own mortality into focus. I am 79 and while I have five nieces and nephews I would certainly leave something to, I would prefer my house to be left to a charity where it could be used to house people in need. How would one go about this?

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Home Economics: Our property finance expert answers your questions 

Question: My father is in his late 80s and gets around independently with a walker. He does not need a nursing home and would refuse one in any event. What he does need is someone around most of the time as he is in danger of falling and he can't even do light housework so things are piling up, but we have found the private care agencies very expensive. At €25 an hour he simply cannot afford them and he was refused a Home Care Package. We considered a student under the rent-a-room scheme but I was worried they would be coming and going. I live 50km away and can't be there...

Energy bills have become a nightmare. Stock image

Home Economics: Our property finance expert answers your questions 

Question: We are three people renting a house together and the utility bills are becoming a nightmare. One of us wants to install a pre-pay meter as she says it’s the best value for money and we can tightly control our spend. I don’t agree, because I’ve heard these are actually quite expensive, but I would also like the control. As it is, we don’t really know where our costs are going. Now with electricity prices rising we really need a solution. The house itself is quite old (1980s) and wouldn’t have great insulation. Our landlord says we can change supplier if we want.

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Home Economics: Our property finance expert answers your questions 

Question: My brother and I were left our mother’s home when she died last year. We have cleared it out and tidied it up, but are still deciding whether to sell it or let it. I have two children and my brother, who is separated, has three. Very sadly, we have recently learned that he now has a life-limiting illness and are both anxious that his family is looked after. What steps should we take to ensure that his ‘half’ of the house (or its proceeds) is kept intact for his children — and where does that leave me in terms of making decisions about it? I don’t want my brother’s ex-wife, for...

Revenue (stock image)

Home economics: Our property finance expert answers your questions 

Question: I received a letter from Revenue telling me that income I earned from a room letting in 2015 is suddenly liable to tax. I rented out my spare room on Airbnb for five months while I was between tenants (I live in the property).  I only earned around €2,000 over the entire period and it cost me money in terms of linen changes, painting the room etc. This was before I understood the income was subject to tax, which I believe was clarified last year. Am I exempt under Rent-A-Room, and how do I go about proving it?

Compulsory purchase order

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

I've had the same tenant for 10 years in a property I bought as my 'first home' in 2006, deciding to keep it after I got married and moved. It was supposed to be my pension and I've been on an interest only arrangement which is due to revert to a normal mortgage. I've been advised my repayments are to go up from €825 to €1,450 per month. The 4pc rent cap is proving the final straw and I don't think I can afford this. I have deliberately under-charged the tenant in order to keep him, but is there any way I can increase his rent to market rates which may help me keep the house?

Photo: Stock Image

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

We have a mortgage on our property which is 10pc of its value. As pensioners we cannot extend the term to reduce monthly repayments but we have a guaranteed monthly income, which allows us to meet our day-to-day expenses. However we would like to have a reserve for unusual expenditure. Can we do this using our property as leverage? We are not interested in life products which hit the market before the recession but understand that mortgages are freely available in the UK up to your 85th year.

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...

'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?

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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?

Revenue (stock image)

Home economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions 

I have an old house in relatively poor condition which has been let for the last six years. I now want to knock it and build on the site, for which planning permission was given some years back but I wasn't in a position to proceed financially. My question is this: when I sell I will be liable to Capital Gains Tax but is there any offset of this against the new build, or any way to reduce the amount payable? The house is worth around €425,000 as it's in a great location but I only paid around €180,000 for it originally.

'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?