Buying a House in Ireland While Living Abroad

After the Brexit vote , there was an increase in the number of people in the UK thinking about moving to Ireland. Some of these may have been Irish people moving back home, others might have been UK citizens wanting to leave the UK.
Now that Brexit has happened – there could be a renewed interest in UK residents looking to move to Ireland.

Some businesses in the UK have also decided to set up companies in Ireland in order to have an EU base and avoid some Brexit related issues. This will result in business owners or employees also looking to relocate to Ireland.

The global pandemic has also increased the numbers of Irish returning home after being abroad for a few years.

Brexit has not altered the ability of UK citizens to Move to Ireland.

All Irish and UK citizens still have the right to live, travel, work and study within the Common Travel Area. (UK and Ireland).
(UK means England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.) .

However, UK citizens can no longer move to live in other EU countries (apart from Ireland) without a complicated application process.

Here are some issues you will need to consider before you buy a House in Ireland.

  • It is possible to buy a house in Ireland while you are non-resident?
  • Can a non-resident get a mortgage in Ireland?
  • What’s the Best Way to Transfer Money to Ireland?

It is possible to buy a house in Ireland while you are non resident ?

There are no restrictions on non-residents buying a property in Ireland. However – owning a residence in Ireland does not, on it’s own, entitle the owner to residency.

If you are an EU or UK citizen there are no restrictions on buying a house in Ireland and moving to live in Ireland .

For citizens of other countries, residency and the right to remain in Ireland depend on an individual’s particular circumstances. More on that here.

Can a non-resident get a mortgage in Ireland?

It will always be easier to get an Irish mortgage whilst living in Ireland.
After moving to Ireland, you will usually need to be living here for at least 6 months and have been in employment for at least 12 months before most lenders will consider you for a mortgage.
It can sometimes be easier for an “ex-pat” to get a mortgage – ie. when someone is returning to Ireland after being abroad for a few years.
However, getting an Irish mortgage when you are not originally from Ireland and live elsewhere is not impossible.

In 2016 a new EU rule was introduced that restricted lending in foreign currencies. The EU “Mortgage Credit Directive” requires EU lenders to monitor exchange-rate fluctuations on foreign currency mortgages.
This means that some Irish banks will not even consider lending to someone who lives outside Ireland who doesn’t have most of their income in Euros.
If your income is in Euros – it should be easier to get an Irish mortgage.

Allied Irish Bank will accept mortgage applications from people employed abroad who plan to live in Ireland soon on a full-time basis.
For applicants employed abroad and moving to Ireland in the “future”, AIB will assess them as Buy To Let (BTL) applications. (This means higher interest rates and larger deposit requirements (Max 65% LTV usually).

Haven is the broker arm of AIB – and they also lend to people not living in Ireland.

PTSB will offer buy-to-let loans to British and Irish citizens who are residents in a euro-zone country.

Check the latest Mortgage Rates in Ireland here

What’s the Best Way to Transfer Money to Ireland?

If you are planning on moving to Ireland or coming back to Ireland – you will probably have a large sum of money that you will need to transfer to Ireland.

There is always some risk when sending large amounts of money overseas because exchange rates are always moving.  If your savings are in non-Euro currency then a change in the exchange rate of just 2% would alter the price of a €400,000 house by €8000.

We recommend that people should use a dedicated currency exchange company, rather than their bank to exchange and transfer money.  (The exchange rates are better and the service is usually quicker.)

A currency specialist will allow you to set up a “Forward contract”.

A forward contract allows you to lock in today’s exchange rate (or very close to it) – but with the actual exchange not happening until maybe a year in the future.
It usually requires a deposit of about 10% which is refunded when the transfer is done.

A forward contract offers peace of mind.  Once you have accepted a sale offer on your house – it can take 2 to 4 months to complete and get the proceeds. Knowing, that during that time you won’t be hit by moving exchange rates, you can be sure you’ll have enough after conversion to Euros to be able to complete the purchase in Ireland.

Currency Specialists for Money Transfers to Ireland.

Garton Global Payments

Garton Global Payments is based in London and was set up by Irishman Niall Walsh . They have plenty of experience in helping with house purchases and money transfers to Ireland.

Garton Global

Garton Global can allow you to secure an exchange rate for up to two years in advance of delivery. You will get a personal service from Niall and the team, they will be able to provide answers to any questions you may have about the process.
All payments and transfers are carried out on the CurrencyCloud platform which is fully authorized and regulated in the UK, EU, US, and Canada.
You can request a quote online or call the Garton team direct on (UK) +44 20 8004 5841.


Fexco  is based in County Kerry, Ireland and is authorised as a payment services provider by the Central Bank of Ireland. They are also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the conduct of payment business in the UK.  

Fexco has dedicated dealers to explain the options available to you and help reduce your exposure to fluctuating exchange rates when buying a property in Ireland.
They will track rates for you and inform you when the exchange rate moves in your favour.

fexco currency transfers

 You can get a quick quote online at the Fexco Website

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct have a London HQ and have been operating since 1996. They transfer more than £7.5 billion annually. Currencies Direct Ltd is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In Europe, they are also authorised by the Bank of Spain to operate as an Electronic Money Institution.

Currencies Direct USA Ireland

Once you have registered with Currencies Direct you can arrange money transfers over the phone with a broker, online or through their app. Advice and help are always available. You can get a quick quote for currency exchange on their website.

Currency Solutions

Currency Solutions is a UK based currency specialist firm that is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. They have many years of experience dealing with people moving to Ireland and other EU countries.

currency solutions

You can call them on their UK number 0044 (0)20 7740 0000  or on their Irish number 01 431 1344  .
Ask for the Money Guide Ireland contact – Ernie Enver.
Ernie or his team should be able to give you a quick response to any queries.
Or you can visit the Currency Solutions website here for a free no-obligation quote and they will call you back.

Other Useful Information

Read more here about Legal Costs and Other Fees When Buying a House in Ireland

The Irish housing market has rebounded in recent years. House prices are increasing across all housing types and in all counties. and are good resources for anyone thinking of buying a house.

You can also check out Ireland’s Residential Property Price Register where you can compare recent purchase prices on specific locations.

Property Tax in Ireland

Water Rates in Ireland

Average Electricity Bills in Ireland