Advice on buying a 1 bedroom apartment in Dublin City Centre

Good evening everyone,

My girlfriend and I are considering buying a 1 bedroom apartment in Dublin in the region of €100k.

Now, I’ve spent the last few hours of a Friday evening trying to get a grasp of the situation and I know you’re all busy men/women looking at million dollar pads etc. However, I would really appreciate your advice with our situation. Please be as brutally honest as possible as I’m a bit of a pessimist myself.

Background: I’m 26 and she’s 27. We met in Japan four years ago and we saved about €20k between us over these years. I just landed a decent job in Dublin (I’m Scottish) and between us we’ll be earning just under €50k a year. My job is new/stable and has good prospects and I could be looking at salary increases over the next few years. We were looking at renting places (poor quality to be honest) at about €700-900 a month. However, her mother put the idea in our head yesterday of actually getting a mortgage and therefore we’d only be paying €300-450 instead of throwing away money. We’d also be possibly renting it for a year or two in the future if we return to Japan for short spells.

Now… I was very excited about this prospect today until I started doing my research. You lot seem to hate 1 bedroom apartments and don’t value them. I suppose it’s different if we’re actually buying to live in it though? I’ve also seen some people “predict” that prices will go from -40% to possibly -60% (from the 2007 peak) in the next few years? I’m not looking to make profit on this property but I wouldn’t like the value to go down €20k so quickly. Also, do you think it’s utter madness to consider buying anywhere when the Eurozone is in an absolute mess? A lot of my savings are in pounds sterling so I don’t know what to do. I personally think some of the places listed on daft.ie and the like are still over-valued considering the state of things.

I really appreciate if you’ve read all of this and can offer me some advice. I feel quite nervous and naive about these things but we’re a nice enough young couple just looking to settle in Dublin for a few years after having already been abroad. The thought of pissing away a lot of my salary to landlords like yourself (emoticon wink) when we have so much €€€ burning away in my pocket is annoying.

Thanks very much!
Feel free to flog your own rental and/or apartments to me.

My main concern is… would this be a massive mistake destroying our future? That’s all.

If you want a one bed flat then you won’t be having children!

See if you can stretch to 2 bedrooms: kid, office, guests over from Scotland. Generally, 1 beds tend to be poky. At least with another bedroom you’d have a bit more space on a rainy day - less chance of cabin fever!
Good luck!

Thanks for the fast replies. As you can imagine… I’m bouncing about my room trying to figure out the logistics.

I think kids are out of the question for a 5-10 years at the moment. I think we’re both a bit snobby for location rather than size (having lived in tiny Japan). We can also dump a lot of stuff at her house in Cabra if needed. I’ll take your advice on board though.

I think my biggest concern is buying somewhere and then it losing value straight away. I guess we have the advantage that we could happily live there for a decade (minus the odd rental year).

Three relationship/investment things to watch out for:

Is the man taller than the woman?
Is the the man older than the woman?
Did one of the partners grow up within a thirty mile radius of the proposed property?

Yes (just about…)
No
Yes

What’s the deal with the third one there? As in it’s handy if the relationship goes tits up and she can move home?

There is a lot of one bedroom apartments and the quality is pretty crap . If in a few years you want to have kids or move to Japan you will find it difficult to sell . A builder mate of mine who built a lot of them discribed one bed apartments as the slums of tomorrow .

Also having a quick look on Daft anything that is around 100,000 grand tend to be the very small and crap city centre ones . You will be in a building with a 20 something renters who will party all night . In 5 or 6 years time there will be a new lot of 20 something renters to keep the party going , rinse and repeat .

Buy a house .

Hmm you could be right there. I’m actually thinking we could stretch it to €120k which opens up some better city apartments… such as myhome.ie/residential/brochu … in/1742362

I should give some houses a look at actually. I appreciate the advice everyone.

I actually viwed that development when they were built .

One thing to consider about buying a apartment in Dublin that is on a street is the noise . Traffic is easy to get used to and after a while it just becomes background noise . However in Ireland you get a lot of drunk people who like to shout and scream at they stagger past at 4 am . You never get used to it .

I’ve never been against 1 beds, so long as they are a livable size.
At least 600 sq/ft if you intend staying for any length of time.
They rent well too, as people prefer to live on their own rather than share.

The only problem I see for you is obtaining finance.
Without a history, banks are very reluctant to lend.
Don’t take it personally, they are bankrupt and are looking for any excuse possible not to shell out money.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, if you’re buying a place for 100k with a 20k deposit, just a 20% fall in prices will wipe out your equity.
Although that has always been the case, prices are still falling so that situation is quite likely to occur.

irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/1121/breaking24.html

Nonetheless, on the plus side it is probably cheaper to buy apartments than rent at the moment.

First thing Id do is take my time. You said your girlfriend’s mother only suggested this to you yesterday…Id do a bit of reading over some threads on this site before jumping in (theres a search function which is handy up in the top right corner of the page).

I know a bit about Dublin city centre apartment living having lived in them since cerca 2005. Things u should be aware of include the fact that you dont actually own the space on your balcony - that belongs to the management company who can insist on all sorts of stuff and you are bound to comply. You should also check the management fees…they tend to be the equivalent to at least another months mortgage payments and tend to increase every year despite recessions/deflation and theres little you can do about it. What about car parking? Is the price included? Is the car park secure? A lot of apartment blocks have serious issues with break ins etc when it comes to things like cars and bikes. What is the sound proofing like? If you’re in an apartment block it can be very hit and miss as to who you end up living beside. Its conceivable that you will have Brazilian/Polish/Tipperary student parties going on late on Wednesday nights…and again theres not much you can do about it so you need to be sure the walls arent paper thin (and the apts that do not have paper thin walls are the exception). What is the profile of the majority of those renting in the block? Without wishing to overly generalise, the ones where you have a lot of youngish Irish/Polish/Spanish/Italians/Brazilians etc living tend to be better (IMO) (bar the odd party) due to the fact that there doesnt tend to be young kids running around the stairwells and messing with stuff generally (there tend to be no play areas for kids in any of these blocks). However, some of the larger blocks have social welfare recipients and long term immigrants from beyond the EU who tend to be raising families. My experience is that you then end up with big gangs of kids running wild about the place messing with fire extinguishers, letting off fire alarms etc. In other words it can be quite noisy. You also need to make sure that the Management Company are reputable. Otherwise, you can be left with things like locked gates/no lights in the stairwell/rubbish strewn all over the car park for a few days at a time despite them having charged you an arm and a leg (theyre not regulated and can basically do as they please). Essentially, I wouldnt be jumping into anything - especially at the moment.

If youre dead set on buying Id suggest looking at a house to be honest - unless youve seen something quite special in apartment terms (they do exist but tend to be the exception). Remember, you’ll be tying yourself into a long term financial commitment so youd want to be sure that you dont wake up some day and regret it. You could also rent somewhere near or in the same block where you wanted to live for a few months to get a feel for the place.

Add into all that the propensity for further price drops (read what some of the more knowledgable heads around here have to say on that score) and its quite a big decision to make - and one which shouldnt be taken lightly.

Anyway, best of luck whatever you do - and let us know what you decide.

Wise words Poacher.

IMHO somewhere like this is better all round; away from town a bit but still close enough. Not well known to newcomers to Dublin but a great area with the Park nearby and low on the dodgey geezer quotient

www.daft.ie/1611444

A bit more settled - quieter etc. Better build quality possibly

It’s up a while so price should come down a bit, unlike others I don’t have a hatred for 1 beds but you still have to be choosy.

Handy for the Luas into town and for Hueston Station if it gets rented out to one of our country cousins in the future.
There’s always a market for rent 1 bed places, of a decent size. I’d stay out of D1 & D2.
Don’t forget small cottages in the likes of Harolds Cross and Stoneybatter too.

I think you would be mad to consider buying. Certifiable, actually.
If you are renting and paying 800-900 per month it’s all in. A mortgage costing you 450 - 500 a month will have to be topped up with management fees (1,500 p.a. adds ~ 120 per month). Life assurance/ mortgage protection. New property tax.
On buying, you will have to pay out a couple of grand to a solicitor, also stamp duty.
Repairs and maintenance, fixtures and fittings, you may get white goods/kitchen included in sale, but you may not. What about furnishing?
That’s the money end of it. On the life side of it:
Your GF is 27 - as soon as she hits 30 the body clock starts ticking and kids enter the picture, if they haven’t already arrived due to an accident (happy accident).
You only met 4 years ago and have lived in a foreign country together. Here, she is not a foreigner, but you will still be a foreigner, no matter how alike our cultures are. Before you make a huge financial commitment, live here together for at least a year and make sure that the dynamics don’t change in your relationship.
A mortgage is a huge financial commitment. You will not own the property, you will own the loan to the bank. Hold back. Rent.

The problem with apartments in Dublin is that they have mostly been built for the short term let market, not as places to live indefinitely. In my opinion a one bed apartment should be around 60m² and 100m² for a two bed. This is the norm in much of Europe but in Ireland apartments are approx half this size. Thus I dont think a one bed will be a good investment as a family home.

However, having lived in Japan you may have other ideas on size. In this case I would avoid the new/recent builds and look to the (few) mature apartment developments such as the Mespil estate. I think here you have nice garden surroundings, great location, settled population and less likely to have a transient party crowd as neighbours.

Good morning everyone,

I really appreciate your replies and have taken a lot of your comments on board. I was just off the phone from a friend of a friend in Ireland and he basically said we were insane. I was talking with my girlfriend just there and I think we’re thinking of renting a place in an area we’d consider buying in maybe two years time. In the meantime, we’ll continue to save a bit of money and spy on properties in the market. Indeed, as many have mentioned… we might look towards a house as she’s kicking in 30 and wants little Celtic babies.

It was a very interesting 24 hours alright but not a waste of time I imagine. We’ve now got a goal towards our savings and it gives us time to plan and the like. Paying 8000-9000 a year on rent is annoying but I suppose it’s better than all the initial stress and paperwork of an actual mortgage.

I greatly appreciate your replies here as I know how newbies popping up on boards can be annoying/waste of time. You’re a fine bunch of people. Cheers!

This happens me every few months. Literally. Then I calm down after the initial excitement of a perceived lower monthly payment/ place of my own/ status/ or whatever it is that is going through my head.

And it rarely turns out to be a waste of time, as I look at my finances and reaffirm my saving patterns, and pick up new ideas and tips every time.

Best of luck

Seconded. Unlike some here I am not dead set against 1 beds, for young people they can make sense, but I would only consider buying in a posh area that is also reasonably close to city centre and preferably a settled development, for the exact reasons you’ve outlined even if it means paying a bit more than the €100k budget. Personally, I wouldn’t buy in D1, D7 or D8.

Having lived in that area, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as low on the dodgy geezer quotient, unfortunately. On the plus side it is a well constructed complex and one of Dublin’s best pubs is directly across the road.