We are hoping to buy a home in Dublin this spring. There are issues we are trying to discern as we work through this. We would appreciate your prayers, so I wanted to share some of them.
We are working with a broker who is currently trying to help us obtain a mortgage. The biggest issue here is that we are paid in the US in dollars, not here in Ireland in Euros. So, most of the banks are deducting 20% off of our income when they determine how much we can borrow. As we are hoping to drastically cut our monthly housing expense, that should not be too much of a problem, but it appears that it may be a small problem.
Update (January 30): We just found out that one of the two banks our broker spoke with will not consider our American income when giving a mortgage. They will only look at our Irish income. One of the challenges is that our accountant here in Ireland works to keep our tax-liability in Ireland as low as possible…which is a good thing. However, that means that when a bank looks at our income, they do not consider it to be enough to give a mortgage to.
Figuring out a neighbourhood
The bigger (biggest) issue is where to live. When we moved here we had a very strong sense that we were to be in Clontarf. And we have been there for about 4 of our 6 + years here.
However, Clontarf is one of the most expensive areas to buy on the Northside. And the neighbourhoods surrounding it, (including Marino) are only slightly less expensive.
And while none of the areas on this part of the city are “that’ far away, being certain areas mean that Liz would likely lose some violin students, and Méabh would have a harder time seeing her friends.
One of the things people often tell us is, “If you move further away from Clontarf, you get more house for your money.” And that is true. But we are seeing our home, not just as a place for our family, but as a launching pad for ministry.
For example, one of the main ways we serve here, is to create community and provide hospitality. That means a place with a 5×5 kitchen, and a dinning room where you can seat 6 to 8 people, isn’t going to work.
So we are alway looking for open spaces where we can host…whether it is missional communitiues, Thanksgiving dinners, or other parties.
But a space to host is not our only consideration. Because of the housing crisis in Dublin, it is next to impossible for our kids to afford to live on their own. So, that means, at least for the next couple of years, we need to find a place that can fit the 6 of us. And while we will most likely end up with a 3-bedroom, not a 4-bedroom, in many of the house here, that third bedroom is called a “box room.” Which will barely fit one person, let alone two.
Apartment or House?
Those two issues have us weighing an apartment in Clontarf, or a house in Artane? A small home with no back yard in East Wall, or a normal sized yard in Beaumont?
The “x” factor
Here is the weirdest part of the whole process and something that adds a bit more stress for me in making this decision. I have moved around a lot in my adult life, and I enjoy going new places. But this next purchase is likely where we will be until we are in our late 60s, early 70’s. That is more my personal issues than anything else, but it is causing me a level of stress around the whole process…and making it more difficult to figure things out.
One more housing miracle…
Most of our friends…and our kids consider our finding our current place in 2 days a “housing miracle.” They all seem much more sure that we have at least one more left! If that is the case, then we’ll be glad for all the prayer we can get!
We received a note from our landlord asking if we will be staying on for a second year. Our current lease expires on May 11. Going forward rent will increase by €100/month. We will ask for a bit of flexibility on an end date as there is a lot to accomplish in 3+ months.