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The Empire Strikes Back.....!!




Interesting developments in the last week. While trying to figure out a way forward for my build as cheaply as possible I discovered a company that does SIPs and has just finished a slight larger house for a LOT less than the tender prices that shut me down last year (€375k). So my job this month is to crunch the numbers again, get a more formal quote from them and see if this is a runner. 

As always there are three factors I've to balance:

Architects fees - the crowd I used before are brilliant but very expensive. I've a different Architect doing an analysis to see what he would charge to take over. Also the builder has their own Architect I'll approach to see if I can use them instead. 

Kit Home - There are two companies who work together and seem to deliver you a turnkey house - just move in the furniture. I'm a bit dubious how they do this for such a good price so will visit one of their builds if possible. I know they use PVC for windows and soffit/fascia so will see what spec of ASHP and MVHR they use and if these are of the cheaper variety or not once they return a spec I can look at. 

Bank - ah, the bank! Build cost + Arch fees + 10% contingency - I'll get funded max 80% (as a second time buyer) of this or 80% of the projected value of the finished house, whichever is less. I can see some creative accounting coming on here...! Plus my old house has to sell for enough to get me the equity I need - this is attached to the site (side garden) so need to sell before I draw down new mortgage. 

The builder uses SIPs, nothing against them, should work fine. I've a budget of €260K and their initial guesstimate was €275K so not far off. A more accurate quote is on the way and I'll see how much this goes up (!). 

Like the build triangle (quality, price, speed / good-quick-cheap) I've three legs that need to all function to get this over the line: 

  • Valuation of finished house based on location, spec and current market value - house prices are holding / still going up slightly so ok there so far. I need a good valuation though, got €350K last year but hope for detached I'll get a little more. 
  • Builders price for 2021 build - I'll have to pick apart the spec a bit and see what I can live with and what I might have to change but if I can get a decent fabric it might just work. The things I'd like to do might not be possible as this is right on my budget but at least it's a hands off build for the money, so I won't be working double jobs trying to do as much myself as possible. 
  • Architect - haven't found one willing to work with me yet, two turned me down, one is thinking about it and the original Architects are bloody expensive. Will see how this goes....I could pay them out of pocket but if their costs go into the costings submitted to the bank I have to prove I can afford them up front, probably looking at 20K just for them with all the reg required in ROI now. Anyway, should know more in a week but will line up other options in the meantime in case. 

Wish this post was about the build already but if this happens it's going to happen quick and I'm certain this is the best shot I'll get at it for a good while. One day I'll be sticking photos of the build up there and updating everyone as each stage goes up. 

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good luck, I'm also going through the process at the moment of looking at all the costs to see what we can do to get the best.

We are prepared to sacrifice speed, but want quality and need price.


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I've a sister nearby or can rent a room privately as there's just me for the build duration. It's a 3-bed detached house, will probably take 6 months but there's a gap of course between selling my old house and booking the builder so probably 9 months to a year elsewhere. I've to juggle the total build cost, the sale price of my house, the valuation of the new house vs what the bank will give me!! Great fun!! 

Hope the costs add up for you, if this builder falls through I'll postpone for a year and look again at direct labour and other options. I think Brexit could affect supply if not also price next year so that's another risk too!! 

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Oh well - it's off again. Sales guy didn't quote VAT and the price the builder proposed was massively higher than the one they supposedly finished recently which was bigger in size?!! I might have a chat with them but long story short, their estimates came out the same as what the tender responses came in on last year. No deal! 

Back to the drawing board......or sell the site! 

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I would be tempted to sell the site.  The money you get is tax free.  There is currently a shortage of land and a surplus of cash.  Ask a very decent amount for it.  Start with optimistic end value minus 20 to 25%.

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Right now I feel like selling the site and our house and moving somewhere warm, dry and away from Covid


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12 hours ago, Iceverge said:

Alas not in Ireland.

gosh I didn't know that, is there any sort of equivalent benefit for self builders to encourage them.

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12 hours ago, Iceverge said:

Alas not in Ireland.


If you get a builder to construct, do you have to pay VAT to them?


Is there VAT on new house purchases?

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I had to buy the house to get the site so I'm not eleigible for the 30K first time buyers grant anymore. And correct, no VAT rebate over here in ROI. The house the salesman quoted was priced at 350K originally and they got it down to 285K by going line by line through the spec.There is still VAT at the end though. I could chance trying to get my 325K price back down to 275K but the VAT really kills me even then. 

My other limiting factor is that the 285K house was build in a very exclusive area so the bank would have valued the new house above the build price. I've the opposite problem, my build price is always above the "what a similar new house would cost on the market in my area" and I only get 80% of the lower of the two figures off the bank. I've either to have a lot more cash (50L-100K) saved up or more equity (say in 5 years) before I take the plunge. I'm 49 so I can wait 5 years and have 50% equity or 10 years and pay off my mortgage and build at 60 for cash and finish in my own time so I'm not lost, just stuck/delayed! #

Or sell the site/house and move elsewhere! I just have to decide next year to extend planning another 5 years or leave it and reapply new in 10 years time and build on my own terms without a bank dictating terms anymore. What the market will be like then though, who knows?!! 

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