Love at second glance for young couple and their D6 fixer-upper home

Finding the right home is not easy and many people spend months or even years searching and debating before signing on the dotted line. And while some people fall in love with a property at first sight, others dismiss it initially only to realise at a later date that it was, after all, the house of their dreams.

The latter is exactly what happened to Aoife McGettigan (28) and Ronan Ward (29) before they bought their property in Milltown, Dublin 6.

The front door to Aoife McGettigan and Ronan Ward’s home in Dublin 6

“We began our house hunt in the D4/D6/D14 area in January last year, but it felt very daunting as we had friends who had things fall through at the last minute,” says Ronan, a development associate. “We were trying to find somewhere which was close to both of our workplaces so we set up alerts on property sites with a list of criteria – south Dublin, two or more bedrooms, back garden, within our price range – but it was frustrating to see the same properties coming up again and again.

“They all seemed to either need heaps of work, were tiny or not where we wanted to live. Then when we went along to open viewings [we] would regularly be amongst 50 other couples all vying for the same place. We quickly realised that the houses which needed work had far less interest in them.”

The couple got into a bidding war for a house near Sandymount, but the price kept rising so they lost out. However, this was a blessing in disguise as something better was around the corner.

“I saw our house online months prior to viewing it but we discounted it due to the amount of work we felt it would need,” says Aoife, who works as an occupational therapist in mental health. “Then one day when we were fed up of not seeing anything new, Ronan went along to see it on his lunch break. He immediately texted to say ‘This is our house’ as there was just something about the place.

“There was an open viewing the following weekend and we went back. We were the only people who turned up, in contrast to the well-decorated house around the corner which was rammed with viewers. The agent was closing up early when we arrived, so we rushed around it and I fell in love with the potential. Leaving that day we were both so excited about the prospect of turning this old place into something entirely new and ours.”

Sale agreed

The second time the couple visited the house, they were shown around by a different agent who happened to be a relative of Aoife’s large family in Donegal. And while they wouldn’t normally believe in something being “a sign”, they couldn’t ignore this, particularly as the location, local amenities and the house itself, despite the need for work, seemed perfect for them.

“We went sale agreed, signed in April and closed in June 2019 and we couldn’t wait to make it our own,” says Aoife. “The renovations lasted around four months and during this period we lived with my grandfather in north Co Dublin.”

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