Ireland is more than a popular tourist destination. Many people from the US and Europe dream of moving to Ireland when they retire and self-build their dream home.
There are no restrictions on foreign nationals buying land or property in Ireland. This means that both EU and non-EU nationals can buy land and property in Ireland without limitation.
But before you get serious about laying a foundation, keep in mind that a land purchase may yield more surprises than buying a property. From easements and zoning restrictions to environmental assessment – there are quite a few things to navigate when buying a plot of land in Ireland.
To make this process easier and as hassle-free as possible, here are 5 things you need to consider before buying land in Ireland.
Work with an Agent
Working with a local real estate agent when you purchase a plot of land in Ireland helps you navigate the finer details like negotiations, due diligence and closing the deal. It is important to work with an agent who has extensive experience negotiating land deals specifically.
Use an agent with a track record of representing both buyers and sellers for land transactions. They are less likely to falsely advertise a plot of land as having the potential to be subdivided.
Keep your finances in order
Similar to a home purchase, you need to set a budget before looking into buying land in Ireland. Typically, land purchases are done in cash as most lenders are not inclined to provide funds for undeveloped land. This means you want to have as much money put aside as possible to secure the plot of land you like.
Sellers may ask for proof of funds if you are making a cash offer and are a foreigner. This gives them the peace of mind that you have access to the money you claim to. If your cash is tied up in other investments, free it up prior to making an offer. This way you’ll avoid a sudden loss of funds from an unexpected disaster.
Take Utilities and Road Access Into Account
Running water, electricity and sewers are all things we take for granted when buying an existing property.
However, these are not always given with plots of land.
It depends on the state and condition of the developed area around the land.
It costs money for infrastructure to be run to that land. And it matters what part of Ireland the plot is in as you may see the value of your land decrease or increase based on zoning.
Get an Environmental Test
An environmental test is similar to a home inspection and background research on a house. You need to know whether the land you’re purchasing can support the foundation of a house.
Environmental tests also check the soil for contamination from previous use. Sites that are close to gas stations or industrial shops are more likely to have contaminated soil. This makes them unsuitable for residential homes. Another thing to consider is the land’s potential for flooding or its poor soil conditions for building. Environmental reports should be carried out by a professional. A real estate agent doesn’t have the technical knowledge to guarantee the results make the land a good investment.
Conduct a survey and check the land’s zoning rights
It’s important to have a surveyor look at your property to identify the boundaries. A vacant plot in a residential area opens the possibility for neighbors to encroach beyond the property lines, intentionally or not.
Before buying a plot of land in Ireland, you need to do a completed survey, geology and soils report. If these have already been done in the past you can simply update them.
Keep in mind that local counties have zones, codes and ordinances to limit what can be built on any land or require certain steps to build a sound structure.
There may be required setbacks from the edge of the property or mandates to build a sea wall if you’re on the waterfront. Sometimes, a percentage of the land may be restricted from development. It is possible to have the land rezoned but it is not an easy thing to do, and there’s a good chance it will be denied.
Is It Worth It to Buy a Plot of Land in Ireland?
The purchase of vacant land in Ireland could be the right move for you. You can custom-build a house or a building that meets your needs. This can be the perfect investment as you improve the property and allow its value to increase.
But before you become a landowner, research the plot of land to ensure zoning, utility access and building code for the area that will allow you to construct the property you want. If you rush the due diligence process, you could wind up with vacant land you can’t build on for years.
If you’re considering moving to Ireland, you should prioritise your location. Ensure that the plot is large enough for the project that you want to see to fruition. Check with local authorities on the zoning of the land. Whether it’s for residential, commercial, industrial or amenity use, you should know what types of buildings are legal.
Working with experienced professionals is the best way to ensure the plot of land you buy in Ireland is up-to-code. They can help you complete environmental tests, order a survey and assist you through the additional work needed to both build a home on the property and make it fully accessible. With these details in mind, you can make your vacant land purchase worth the investment.