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Cork first-time buyers’ event aims to simplify the house buying process

Buying a first home can be a daunting task, but with the right advice it can be simplified a great deal.

Lisa O’Brien, best known as a former quantity surveyor on RTÉ’s Room to Improve, as well as founder of O’Brien QS, will be one of the headline speakers at the first-time buyers’ event, being held in Cork this November. The Irish Times event, in association with Ulster Bank, will go a long way towards easing the minds of those considering stepping into the property market for the first time.

An array of industry experts will be on hand on the evening, passing on tips for what to look out for when buying a first property.

O’Brien will cover everything from due diligence, to snag lists, new development launch days to moving in days. She says it’s so important to know the basics and even though first-time buyers might think they are aware of everything they need to look out for, inevitably there will be something that they forget or miss, so a check-list is vital.

“In relation to viewing new developments, I will be telling people to sit down before launch day and do what I call due diligence, to get to know the area. This covers everything from transport links, to sports clubs and schools in the area. I would advise them to contact the county council to see if there are any future developments planned for the area or, for example, an incinerator that is planned for close by.

“It can get very agitated on launch day and there is generally a huge amount of footfall, so I’ll advise people to get out to the development beforehand, so they have a good idea where to park.

“I’ll also advise them to pick the house type that they want and can afford before launch day. If they can only afford the three-bed type A1 to A3 in the €320,000 to €360,000 bracket, that might only leave them with six houses to choose from, so they should prioritise their top three choices.

“I’ll tell them what to look out for in terms of finishes in the common area; road finishes, planting, man hole finishes as these will give a good indication of how the development will be handed over.”

As well as O’Brien, there will be many more industry experts speaking on the day, including Angela Keegan, managing director of who will discuss the current state of the housing market.

She will provide an insight into the Irish property sector in 2018 and beyond. Due to her many years of experience, she will be able to highlight to attendees what they should be looking out for in new developments, such as good surrounding infrastructure, as well as reasons why a fixed variable rate might better suit first-time buyers.

Nicki Halley, owner of Hinspo Interiors, will discuss how to put a unique stamp on a new home. She will detail the A-Z of everything buyers will need to know to transform their new property into a comfy home and will highlight how to make small things look great, and how to personalise the space on a budget.

Wayne Kirby, Ulster Bank Cork area manager will discuss how the overall mortgage application works and will walk attendees through what they will need to have in order in advance and what they’ll need to bring to a meeting with a mortgage manager. He will also advise on the usual length of proceedings, common mistakes that can derail the process, and tips and tricks to streamlining the process.

Irish Examiner columnist Annmarie O’Connor, the MC for the evening, will introduce panellists, and each will give a five-minute talk with a focus on advice for first-time buyers from their area of expertise. The presentations from the panellists will be very practical and tip-focused so as to inform the attendees of the dos and don’ts of first-time buying.

Once guests have heard from all speakers, there will be a short break where guests can top up their glasses, indulge in Ulster Bank-branded treats and take the opportunity to chat to Ulster Bank’s mortgage specialists, who will be on hand for the rest of the evening. Attendees will then be given the opportunity to put their own questions to the panel in a Q&A.

Attendees will receive goody bags, and there will be spot prizes for various competitions run on the night such as: Best Instagram, Best Tweet and Best Question.

This is a free event taking place on November 8th, 2018, from 6.30pm-9pm, in the Mirror Room, The River Lee Hotel, Cork.

Approximately 100 first-time buyers will attend the event. Guests will have the opportunity to speak to the Ulster Bank mortgage specialists prior to the panel presentations and discussions, as well as post-discussion.

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