How Much You Really Need to Save to Get on a Property Ladder

Hello Savers,

One of the most talked topics amongst Irish people and non-Irish born people currently residing in Ireland is the purchase of their first home. Although many seem to have a rough idea of what buying a home involves, we are here to provide a realistic approach. How to Get on a Property ladder is not only about finding a house and make sure you have the 10-20% deposit but what else you might not be considering while dreaming of painting walls and buying a couch.

First of all, the most common budget for the house is between 200K and 300K in County Cork area. Although this goes up significantly the closer you are to Dublin,  if you are borrowing the money, then it is mostly (but not all) about the length of the mortgage, your outgoings and ultimately your income. If you are a couple and first-time buyers with a minimum amount saved, both working and a car load in place, it will probably be a different amount that you will be allowed to borrow as opposed to a family with 3 children and 1 income.  But irrespectively of how much you are willing to spend and how much you will be allowed to borrow, let us turn your attention what you actually need to have saved on top of the deposit before you get on the property ladder.

Professional Fees 

It is never a good idea to buy a property without getting a surveyor’s report. Also depending on the house age, you might need other professional advice and checks.

Legal Fees

Those will depend on the type of sale. It is advisable to check with your agent or legal professional in advance.

Renovation Work

If the house needs anytime of work, you need to factor this in before you consider making an offer. Make sure to get a full list of works to be done, the price of materials and labour and build in 10% contingency fee just in case.


If you have been renting for a long time, chances are you will need to invest into furniture as your new house will be unlikely furnished. You may want to check out what goes and what stays (like the kitchen and bathroom) before you start bidding on the desired property. This may affect the offer you are willing to make if for example a lot of contents will be left behind (saving you buying those at the start). You need to have a clear idea what appliances you need or want too. If you are used to a certain standard of comfort, you want to make sure you have means to afford it for your new pad.


Whether you need to pay those soon or a year later, it is a good idea to find out what you are liable to pay (stamp duty or local property tax) and set aside that amount on top of everything else. Remember once the deposit is paid and you are legally bound to proceed with the purchase, your financial institution is unlikely to approve a load for at least 6 months.

Life Cover & Insurance

Most likely your financial institution will need you to purchase a life cover or some other form of the insurance before approving your mortgage application. If you are a smoker or over a certain age or with a family history of a terminal disease, those could be much more expensive than a healthy 30something-year-old applying for the same. If you planned a house purchase few years in advance, chances are you have thought about it and taken steps to improve your health.

Other expenses

If you think your car is due a service or replacement, it is a good idea to do this before checking out the houses in the area. Especially if you depend on your car to travel to work, you might want to make sure it is in a good state or consider replacing it.

Mortgage Payments

On top of all of the above, you might want to have at least 3 months savings left behind once all is paid and bought. If you suddenly lose your job or have an illness, you want to minimise the stress of mortgage repayments for a while at least.


Once you own the house, you are liable for all the work that needs to be done, so if the roof leaks or boiler needs replacing, you are the one who needs to pay for it. This is very different if you are used to renting. The amount you will need to set aside will depend on the conditions of the boiler, pipes, roof, wires were updated or replaced.

This may not sound to fit your budget, but do not be put off by all the cost. Owning your home is the most satisfying (and also maybe scary) feeling of growing up you will get. Sign up for our newsletter and in the next article, we will tell you how to get on a property ladder without compromising your lifestyle.

Happy saving,

Ireland Check.

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