If you’re unsure where and what to buy, the best course of action is usually to rent for a period. The secret of successfully buying a home in Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter) is research, research and more research, preferably before you even set foot there.
You may be fortunate and buy the first property you see without doing any homework and live happily ever after. However, a successful purchase is much more likely if you thoroughly investigate the areas you’re interested in, compare the range of properties available and their prices and relative values, and study the procedure for buying property. It’s a lucky person who gets his choice absolutely right first time, but there’s a much better chance if you do your homework thoroughly.
For centuries, Ireland’s principal export was people, with the result that millions of people the world over can claim Irish ancestry. Now the tables are turning and many of these, as well as others without a drop of Irish blood in their veins, are being attracted to Ireland by its new-found prosperity. Whereas a few years ago the only foreign property buyers in Ireland were American ‘showbiz’ stars and business tycoons, Europeans now predominate, accounting for some 80 per cent of purchases in the early ’90s.
At first, the Germans and Dutch were the keenest buyers, but the recent decline of the Irish pound against sterling as well as easier and cheaper travel have brought the British back in force. They currently account for around 60 per cent of property buyers, other Europeans 15 per cent, and Americans around 10 per cent, while Irish émigrés constitute around 15 per cent of buyers.
(After centuries of British occupation, the Irish take it as a compliment that so many Britons are ‘returning’ to Ireland now that they no longer own it!) In particular, Ireland is attracting artists (musicians, painters and writers), largely because their royalties are exempt from income tax.
Tourism is also on the increase: the number of visitors to Ireland rose by an annual average of 12 per cent between 1994 and 1998, compared with a European average of around 3 per cent. In fact, Ireland is very much the place to be, whether temporarily or permanently.
This section is designed to help you decide what sort of home to buy and, most importantly, its location. It will also help you to avoid problems and contains information about the different regions of Ireland, the importance of research, the choice of location, renting as a prelude to buying, the cost of property and the fees involved in house purchase, buying new and resale, leasehold properties, timesharing and other part-ownership schemes, estate agents (known as auctioneers in Ireland), inspections and surveys, conveyance, purchase contracts and completion, renovation and restoration, moving house, security, utilities and heating, property income, and selling a home.