How to buy and renovate a holiday home in ireland: a guide for uk residents

UK Home Improvement

How to Buy and Renovate a Holiday Home in Ireland: A Guide for UK Residents

Investing in a holiday home in Ireland offers UK residents the perfect blend of scenic beauty and cultural richness. To navigate this process successfully, understanding the key steps from purchase to renovation is crucial. 

From starting to explore the rugged coastlines and verdant countryside for holiday homes, to meticulous planning and budgeting straight through to familiarising yourself with the legal and financial aspects, including securing a mortgage and understanding property laws. 

Depending on the property it may also need renovation work that’ll need factoring in, an added layer of complexity but one that can significantly enhance the value and comfort of your holiday home.

The Purchasing Process

Buying a holiday home in Ireland involves various detailed steps, including finding the right property, making an offer, and closing the deal. It’s crucial to be informed about each stage to ensure a smooth transaction and avoid potential pitfalls.

Finding the Right Property

Begin by determining your budget and financial capabilities. This helps set realistic expectations for your search from the onset. Utilising online platforms and local estate agents to explore available properties can help you ensure you find the best property for you and your budget. 

Remember to include legal fees, stamp duty, and other ancillary costs. Stamp duty in Ireland typically ranges from 1% to 2% of the property’s purchase price. Ensure you budget for this upfront.

If possible we’d always suggest you visit potential properties in person to assess their condition and suitability. When viewing, consider crucial factors like location, local amenities, and potential renovation needs.

If your desired holiday home requires renovation, consider leveraging tax relief for refurbishing old homes which will free up budget you may have set aside allowing you to increase the amount you can spend on a property.

Making an Offer and Negotiating

Once you’ve found a suitable property, the next step is making an offer. This often involves a process of negotiation with the seller. Use the guidance of your estate agent to propose an offer that reflects the property’s value and your budget.

If your offer is accepted, you will need to pay a booking deposit, which signals your commitment to the purchase. At this point, you should also engage a solicitor to handle the legal aspects, including reviewing the contract for sale and conducting necessary checks and searches.

Closing the Deal

The final step involves the legal elements. Begin by hiring a solicitor familiar with Irish property law to help navigate the legal process which will include land and property investigation searches, examining property titles, drafting contracts, and ensuring compliance with local regulations.

Your solicitor will also be responsible for ensuring that all conditions of the contract for sale are met before you sign so make sure you understand the terms of the sale, including the completion date and any contingencies.

If you’re purchasing with a mortgage you’ll also have this as an additional step. Mortgage providers will require proof of income and may necessitate a larger deposit for non-residents. It’s essential to consult multiple mortgage providers to compare rates and terms. Including international financial planning in your strategy can be beneficial, especially for managing currency exchange rates and cross-border tax implications.

After you sign the contract, the sale becomes legally binding. You will need to pay the remaining balance, often involving a mortgage. The conveyancing process concludes with closing the sale, at which point you receive the keys to your new holiday home.

Renovation Planning and Management

When it comes to renovating your new holiday home, careful planning ensuring the property will meet your needs, hiring the right professionals and managing your budget effectively are critical steps.

Assessing Renovation Needs

Start with a thorough survey of the property to identify any defects or areas needing repair, which may have been done during the purchasing process especially if you were buying with a mortgage. You might find structural issues, outdated electrical systems, or poor energy efficiency.

It’s essential to engage a professional surveyor, ideally from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), to inspect the property. They can provide a detailed report highlighting necessary repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to achieve a desirable Building Energy Rating (BER).

Next, prioritise these needs based on critical safety concerns, like structural integrity, and then focus on improvements to enhance comfort, such as better insulation or modern plumbing.

Hiring Contractors and Professionals

Choosing the right contractors and professionals is the next consideration you’ll have to make. Start by getting recommendations and reading reviews.

Make use of architects for major structural changes, and consider interior designers for aesthetic enhancements. Ensure all hired professionals have the proper credentials and insurance.

Draft clear contracts that stipulate timelines, costs, and the scope of work. Communication is key; keep in touch regularly to monitor progress and address any issues promptly.

Managing Renovation Budget

Set a realistic budget based on initial estimates and always allocate extra funds for unexpected costs, which often arise during renovations. Break down the budget into segments such as labour, materials, permits, and contingency and regularly track expenses against your budget to prevent overspending.

Consider applying for grants or loans specifically designed for energy-efficient home improvements in Ireland. This can help offset some of the costs.

Insurance and Long-term Maintenance

Owning a holiday home in Ireland requires you to secure appropriate insurance and ensure ongoing property maintenance. Each aspect requires careful consideration to protect your investment and ensure long-term enjoyment.

Securing Home Insurance

It’s important to choose a policy tailored for holiday homes, covering risks such as fire, theft, and flooding. For example, Allianz offers holiday home insurance with comprehensive cover, including liability for third-party injuries up to €3,000,000. Protection for clean-up expenses following an oil spill can also be essential. Be sure to compare different plans from providers to find the best fit for you.

Additionally, consider mortgage protection insurance if you have a mortgage on the property. Some policies might even include emergency or additional services, such as a fire alarm service, which can help in maintaining and safeguarding your property.

Ongoing Property Maintenance

To maintain your holiday home in prime condition, regular upkeep and preventive measures are necessary. Regular inspections can identify potential issues early, saving on costly repairs. Key areas to monitor include plumbing, electrical systems, and the integrity of the building structure.

Implement a maintenance schedule covering tasks such as seasonal cleaning, gutter cleaning, and checking the roof for damage. Routine services like gardening and HVAC system maintenance ensure the property remains in a good condition.

Engaging professionals for detailed inspections, especially for safety-related aspects like fire safety, can help in staying compliant with Irish regulations and enhance property safety.


Buying and renovating a holiday home in Ireland can be an exciting and rewarding journey but effective financial planning is crucial. Determine your budget early, stick to it and consider all potential costs, including those for renovation and ongoing maintenance.

Before committing, visit potential properties and the surrounding areas to inspect the property thoroughly to avoid unexpected issues post-sale.

Buying and renovating your ideal holiday home in Ireland requires careful consideration and diligent effort. Following these steps will help make the process smoother and more efficient. Enjoying your new home in the beautiful Irish countryside will indeed be a well-deserved reward.


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