Buying a House in Ireland While Living Abroad

After the UK 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.

Several businesses in the UK also decided to set up companies in Ireland in order to have an EU base and avoid some Brexit related issues. This has resulted in business owners and 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 permanently in other EU countries (apart from Ireland) without a complicated application process. (If you have an Irish passport- it will be much easier for a UK or any other non EU resident to move to the EU)


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

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

Is It 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 home in Ireland does not, on its 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 permanently.

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 still possible.


In 2016 an EU rule was introduced that restricts 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 a lot easier to get a mortgage in Ireland.

Allied Irish Bank will usually accept mortgage applications from people employed abroad who plan to live in Ireland in the near future 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 usually lend to people not living in Ireland. (Only available via a mortgage broker such as Money Sherpa).

You can arrange a call here with Money Sherpa to discuss your options. (Note – they charge €500 on application to cover costs for Buy to Let, Self Build, Self Employed, Non Residents and Loans less than €150,000.)



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

Check the latest Mortgage Rates in Ireland


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 to buy a house.

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 negative 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 several weeks or months 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.  For example – if you have accepted a sale offer on your current house – it can take 2 to 4 months to complete and get the proceeds. By booking a forward contract – you know that you won’t be affected by moving exchange rates, and you can be sure you’ll have enough after conversion to Euros to be able to complete the purchase in Ireland.


Some Currency Specialists for Money Transfers to Ireland.


Garton Global Payments

Garton Global Payments is based in London but they have plenty of experience in organising money transfers to Ireland for people buying Irish property.

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 money transfer quote online or if you prefer , you can call the Garton team direct on (UK) +44 20 8004 3288 or on their Irish number 01-5846855


Currencies Direct


Currencies Direct has an office in Cork and its HQ in London. They have been operating since 1996 and transfer more than £7.5 billion annually. Currencies Direct Ltd is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In Europe, they are 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.

If you prefer – you can call them in Ireland on (00353) 0151 361 91.


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.


Fexco

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


OFX

OFX offers money transfers and foreign exchange services for consumer and business clients across 55 different currencies.
Founded in 1998 in Australia, OFX now has eight offices across the world, including Dublin. With over 400 staff globally, OFX can offer 24/7 support if required.

OFX is authorized by the Central Bank of Ireland to operate as an e-money institution in Ireland and the rest of the EU. They are also authorised in the UK , USA, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia.
A large company like OFX can offer better rates to their clients because of the number of transfers they do. They don’t charge transfer fees and the minimum transfer amount is just €100.


Once you are registered with OFX , currency exchanges and transfers can be arranged online, over the phone or on the OFX smartphone app (Apple & Android). Help is always available over the phone and their personal, proactive approach will help you to access competitive rates of exchange.


Register with OFX Here



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. Daft.ie and Myhome.ie 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 in specific locations.


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