Buy Local & Support Local Businesses
Buying the home of your dreams seems trickier than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all spheres of our lives and the residential market was no exception. We’ve seen many changes in the past 12 months from interrupted construction of new homes, increased prices of properties to buyers’ income impacted by the pandemic.
As we faced and are still facing so many challenges, it was important to us to go to the experts and ask for advice as we’d love to see more people moving to our town and its locality and our community to grow.
We were fortunate to talk to two brilliant estate agents who were generous with their tips for property buyers, the latest trends, as well as their insights on why Dun Laoghaire is a perfect town to choose as a place for your new home.
Let’s hear what they have to say.
Barry is an estate agent rock star and we had an absolute pleasure talking to him. We were amazed by the depth of his knowledge of the residential market. If you are buying a new home or know someone who is doing it, please share this article with them and be ready to take notes, as you’ll learn so much from our conversation with Barry.
Barry loves the industry. He was supposed to be an accountant but changed his mind and became an estate agent 18 years ago. He’s always loved properties and working with people who buy them because he gets to work with the lovely properties, but also meet all sorts of different people. For an estate agent like Barry no two days are ever the same. There’s ongoing stuff that always needs to be done, but there’s lots of variety too and that’s what he loves about it. In the last six years Barry started up his own company.
Ruby Slazenger and Barry Finnegan, owner at Haines
Tips For Home Buyers
Have Your Finances Sorted
The biggest thing when buying a property is to be prepared.
If you’re buying, have your finances sorted.
Make sure that all your financials are up to date, that your loan offer is up to date. What you don’t want to happen, and particularly now, is that you find the house of your dreams, and everything looks good, and then you go to the bank and the bank says: “Hang on a minute, we need to reassess your application.”
The person taking out the loan has to have a job and be fully prepared. The big issue at the moment are mortgages for people working for companies for which government COVID 19 support has been availed. That is becoming an issue because the banks will have a concern about the company’s future once the government support ends. That’s why the banks are being a bit tricky about this area.
Research The Area
Do your homework and research the localities you are considering for your new home. Go to the area during the daytime. Go in the evening time. If it is a road that you like, check it out at night time, check it out on the weekends. If you see a house on Saturday, it might not be obvious that there’s a parking issue during the week. Maybe this is not much of an issue at the moment because people aren’t moving as much, but when things improve it may be an issue.
Check the planning and check with the planning authority in Dun Laoghaire County Council and see what developments are planned in the immediate area. See if there’s a new road going in that might affect your house, is there a green area behind that’s not actually a green area, but fields that will be built on by developers? All these things you can find because it is publicly available information.
Research the Prices
The other thing Barry would advise is to research the property price register. This is for you to know what the house is sold for in the area, what a fair price to pay is, and also a fair amount to offer. Be prepared and knowledgeable about how did you arrive at an offer. If you just decided to offer without much thought that’s not very convincing, It can sound like you just made it up and it won’t be considered seriously. Whereas if a buyer knows the price of sold homes on the road, and bases their offering on that price, then that offer makes more sense. It’s also important to pay attention to the size of the property and the time frame when researching the property price register. These parameters play into the value as well.
Barry’s job as an agent is to get a good price for the owner, but also to sell it to the right person in terms of a person that has the finance, that knows work is involved, and knows the area.
Decide On Your Hard No’s
Be realistic and decide what you want or don’t want, and what you won’t compromise on. Sometimes people won’t compromise on a garden, i.e. a house must have a south-facing garden. Or people don’t really mind if they’re near a park that’s good for them. Whatever it is, make sure you think it through and write down your checklist before you start searching for a property.
Think about how much work you’re going to do. It’s important to have a clear idea of how much the renovations are going to cost. It is not enough to think “Oh, my dad will help me, or my friends will help me.” That’s not the way to approach the matter because you need to have the full idea of what the renovation is going to cost. Barry saw people who agreed to buy the house, who thought it’s going to cost a certain amount of money, and they get builders inside the house just to realise it’s going to cost them three times more than what they originally estimated.
Selling and Buying At the Same Time
The other thing that’s coming up a bit now is that it’s very difficult to sell and buy a house at the same time. Unless you have the money to buy the new house or the new apartment before you sell your old one, it’s very tricky to do both at the same time. So what people need to do is to sell their house first and then buy another property. Barry understands that people could be concerned and wonder where are they going to live in the meantime. But if you try the other way and try to buy the house of your dreams first you risk not being able to do it because your current house isn’t sold. It’s a catch 22, but it’s better to be prepared financially.
Renting is a whole different story because there aren’t enough properties at the moment for certain types of people. This includes families and single people. There’s a lot of pressure on rentals. But just like for buying a property, when renting, having all your paperwork ready is crucial. Barry advises people to call into a specialist agency. Now it’s not as easy because the agencies are closed at the moment, but it’s better if agents can put a face behind the name.
The agents are responding over emails to the inquiries. Barry has advice for people sending inquiries over email and that’s to customise it and not overload the agency with the same email for lots of different properties. It just takes away from the value of putting together a nice email in the first place.
Make sure you have your references ready.
Other than that it’s the question of being adaptive. Barry advises his clients when they’re renting to set up the alerts on Daft.ie. As soon as a new property is listed, you’ll get an email. It’s a very useful thing to have as it allows you to contact the agency straightaway or the landlord if it’s the private lender to try to book the viewings.
Most Attractive Properties in Haines At The Moment
Family homes are most attractive at the moment. Three or four-bedroom family houses with garden. People who are renting two-bedroom apartments realise they are working from home a bit longer now and having a garden became important to them. People also look for houses in good condition. They don’t want to do big renovation jobs.
Why Dun Laoghaire is a Perfect Town For a New Home
People love Dun Laoghaire because it’s right beside the sea and a lot of properties are in the harbour area. The Dun Laoghaire community is a lovely mix of people and that’s what makes it special. It’s a great place for raising kids and this is Barry’s opinion not just as an estate agent, but also as a parent of three.
The privacy and transport are good. The places that were vacant in the town are changing now and there’s more activity which hopefully will just improve further with the reopening.
What Makes Haines Estate Agents Special
Haines estate agents are great at matching buyers and sellers. They find tenants for properties and manage properties. Barry’s team always strives to give personalized service and advice. Not being a part of a large chain makes this possible and in Barry’s opinion is one of their benefits. Haines all work together as a team, but also their clients like to say to them: “Oh, I like how I can always get on the mobile, the same person that deals with me.” Barry’s team likes to be approachable and fair.
How to Get In Touch With Haines Estate Agents:
65 George’s Street Upper, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin
(01) 284 5677
Another amazing conversation about the estate industry in our area was with Lorraine Maher, a powerhouse associate director at DNG Dun Laoghaire.
Lorraine started working in the Dun Laoghaire branch 17 years ago. Keith Lowe was her executive chief who offered her the job as a junior negotiator in the branch, and from there she’s worked her way up to a manager position. Lorraine loves Dun Laoghaire and believes it’s a great place to work.
Buying and selling a property is a huge decision for anyone, and probably one of the biggest life decisions any person will make. So knowing that incentivises the whole DNG team to do really well for their clients. They have built a strong clientele locally. A lot of the local people come to DNG to sell their homes because they trust the company, they trust the brand. And they, as an agency, have a lot to offer.
Lorraine Maher, Associate Director DNG
Latest Trends and Tips For Home Buyers
Lorraine told us that she always gets asked is it a good time to buy in the property? Or what’s the market like? While these are important considerations in her opinion the most important thing is a lifestyle and what the area offers you.
There’s really not a bad time to buy in the Dun Laoghaire area. Life will keep moving, so it’s important that you know your lifestyle is met. Even in the pandemic, for example, the quality of life that Dun Laoghaire has to offer is just brilliant. It’s great for mental health and general wellbeing.
There’s not a bad time to buy or rent in that kind of location. It’s all about where you are in your life at that time, and what the area has to offer you. Whether you’re a senior citizen trading down or younger and want to travel and get to the airport quickly, Dun Laoghaire has so many advantages. You can have a lot of leisure facilities at the weekend right on your doorstep.
Most Attractive Properties in DNG At The Moment
At the moment, the period homes in Dun Laoghaire are very sought after. They are in the park, Royal terrace, Crosswaite Park, some of them were quite rundown. But now we’re seeing families go back and investing money in those properties. Beautiful terraced houses are coming back and the squares are well cared for by Dun Laoghaire County Council. They also have a high demand for apartments all the time but there’s a demand for every style, depending on people’s budget.
Why Dun Laoghaire is a Perfect Town For a New Home
Dun Laoghaire has great amenities. The coast is offering people all the benefits. We are able to walk, swim. We have a lot of outdoor public space. We have the People’s Park, the farmers market on the weekends. There are many fantastic things to do. Lorraine believes that especially now we are starting to realise that it’s not all about work, it’s about the lifestyle as well. People get themselves thinking: “Oh, I love running.” or “I love the new bike track.”
Lorraine is aware that the Dun Laoghaire community has mixed feelings about the new bike track, but she personally thinks it’s brilliant. It is a safe space for children to go off beside the coast with their families.
The people, the locals in Dun Laoghaire are fantastic. There’s a lovely sense of community in our town. Lorraine knows almost all the people who are working in their local shops by their name and they know her.
Last but not least, there are many hidden gems like the Crosswaite Park with a tennis club. The Royal Terrace with its beautiful square as well. There are some squares and little parklands that people who are not from Dun Laoghaire don’t know about, but we have a lot of beautiful open space.
What Makes DNG Dun Laoghaire Special
DNG has always been quite a young company, the staff is young and dynamic. Also the business has a modern approach. DNG always follows the trends and moves with times. They are constantly improving and training the staff. Even with the pandemic, they adapted quickly totally changing the business model.
They went online and did it very fast. They’ve been doing virtual viewings. For many years Lorraine has never seen anyone buy a house over the internet, but now that’s the reality. DNG moves quickly to adapt to any situation that was thrown in their way. They’re using all platforms to reach their customers including social media channels. They’ve updated all their systems and everyone gets trained consistently, to move along, which is great because the business is moving online. They are aware they can reach a lot of young people with online marketing.
Lorraine believes that all these changes are good for the business. Now they can reach people all over the world. For example, they have a client from Africa who has never seen a house in person but is still bidding for the property. Lorraine goes with her through something that’s called an agent replay. She talks to the client over a call. She goes through every room, gives more details about every room, and realistic descriptions.
How to Get In Touch With DNG Estate Agents
76 George’s Street Upper, Dún Laoghaire
(01) 230 1616
Ready to buy a home of your dreams in Dún Laoghaire?
We know the estate market is a hot topic at the moment, so we are truly grateful to Barry and Lorraine for sharing their expertise selflessly. We learned so much from both of them and we hope their advice will help you to make smart decisions for one of the most important things in your life – buying a property. One thing is certain though, Dun Laoghaire is a perfect town for life and creating memories. If you decide to buy a property here, it will certainly be your home.
Thank you for supporting our Dun Laoghaire business community!
COVID 19 note re photos – Please note that all participants in the above photos kindly met at their business location by appointment in a socially distanced manner and temporarily removed their face masks to pose for the photos for this feature.
For a list of all the estate agents in our town please see our Dún Laoghaire Town business directory.
Would you like us to include your business in future Love Dún Laoghaire features?
We would be delighted to, please send an email to [email protected] with details of your location in Dún Laoghaire and we will be in touch.