Can You Build a House for €150K in Ireland?
[UPDATED JANUARY 2021]
If you dream of building your own home but are tied to a tight budget, then this is the article for you. We take a deep dive into four practical steps you can take to build a house for €150k in Ireland.
Read on if you need further convincing!
Building your own home in Ireland is a costly affair, but it doesn’t have to be prohibitively so. With tight budgeting and careful decision-making, you can build a house for €150k that meets all your needs and it beautiful to boot!
By following the four practical rules below, we’ll show you how to pull-off the house of your dreams for less than half the median price of a family pad in Dublin.
Rule #1: Outline the (Pre-Build) Outlays
There are several different costs to consider when constructing your own home.
But before you even get to comparing curtain swatches for the kitchen, you’ll need to figure out your pre-build outlays.
These are the fixed costs and calculated fees that are typically forked out before the first brick is laid.
Figuring out what they are will give you a realistic idea of how much of your €150k you have to spend on the actual construction (and, of course, the curtains!)
We’re talking everything from stamp duty and permits to land registration and insurance.
Land registration fees are calculated on the basis of the value of the land.
If you’ve managed to snag a plot for €50,000 (or less), a fee of €400 will apply. For land priced between €51,000 –200,000, prepare to pay out €600.
You’ll also have to stump up for land registry mortgage fees (€175), and Commissioner of Oaths fees (€44).
Stamp duty applies to all residential properties, including sites with agreement to build. The rate is 1% if the property value is up to €1,000,000.
If you’re seeking planning permission there’s more to cough up, starting with the fee for an application to build a house, which is currently €65.
To really dot your i’s and cross your t’s in your ‘fixed costs’, add in the cost of selling your existing home.
Estate agents put at approximately 1.5 – 4.5 % of the value of the property. If you’re not selling but renting, then add in the amount of rent you’ll pay out while you’re constructing your new dream digs.
These are the costs that start to chew into your budget mid-build.
Approximate costs: Including registrations, insurance, planning permission and six months rent (or the cost of selling your current home which we’ve generalised as 2.5% on €200,000) = €9,500
This includes all fees due to your lender, solicitor, structural engineer, architectural designer, and local authority.
Solicitors fee can range anywhere from €700 (excluding VAT) and upwards.
Architectural fees for a full project management service can vary as much as 7-14% of construction costs.
Considering that construction costs tend to amount to just under 40% of the full cost of building a house, it’s a lot to pay out on a tight budget. But it does mean you have someone overseeing the entire build and keeping an eye on the purse strings to boot.
Again, shop around for a qualified architect who meets your criteria but won’t break your bank. Meet with at least three contenders and in your discussions with them, make them aware you want to keep costs low and mid-build changes to a minimum.
Approximate costs: €12,500
Infrastructure Charges & Council Levies
Infrastructure charges include connection to mains water, electricity, and sewerage, alongside any other crucial connections like Wi-Fi or road improvements, that aren’t already in place and will be charged as council levies.
Depending on where you’re building, and whether it’s a rural or urban area, costs here can hike up from a manageable €2,500 to a hefty €9,000 and more!
Approximate costs: €5,500
Always include a 5-10% contingency in case any other unforeseen costs start chomping away on your budget.
Approximate costs: €1,925 (worked out as 7% of all the above costs).
Rule #2: Build Small
This is just common sense, really. After all, the bigger the house the more bricks, beams, blocks, flooring, tiles, etc., are needed. All of which will put a big dent in an already tight budget.
But don’t worry. Building small doesn’t have to mean shed-size.
Ireland’s average dwelling floor space is 160m². For the purposes of planning a self-build, we will look at a moderately sized home of 100m².
Also, of the largest fixed costs in constructing a house, the groundworks, foundations, and roofing are the ones with the heaviest price tags.
But the specification and cost for a set foundation size and roof layout will not vary that much whether the design is single or double storey. So by building up instead of out, you’ll get more space for your buck.
How to Work Out Approximate Labour Costs
The average labour cost to build a home is around €35 - €45 per square foot. So, the labour cost on a 100 m2 (1,076 square foot) home will come in at around €43,040.
Of course, this can easily start to soar if you need specialist craftspeople for complex building work.
Additionally, location may play a part in whether you can shave some cents off the bill or not. According to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, houses being built outside of Dublin tend to incur lower labour costs.
That said, if your site is off the beaten track, you may find yourself stumping up for transport to get materials and builders to your site.
Approximate Labour Costs: €46,052.80 (incld. €3,766 contingency at 7%)
Rule #3: Stay Simple
The more complex your design, the more costly your home. This is because outlays for materials, and not just labour, are likely to increase.
So back away from the bay windows-in-every-downstairs-room-idea and think twice about living in a tree-house! (We know it’s been your dream since childhood, but…)
Think of simple but still stylish classical architecture designs like the square Georgian shape. Avoid odd angled walls, internally and externally.
Keep to simple brickwork facings, and consider concrete roof tiles. They look just like slate but are better able to stand up to the elements.
How to Work Out Approximate Material Costs
The material costs of building a house is roughly €45 - €55 per square footage. So, for a two storey 100m² (1,076 square feet), home, the construction materials would be roughly €53,800.
This would cover foundation, roofing, interior and exterior doors, windows, insulation, drywall, paint, flooring, and electrical, plumbing and light fixtures.
Approximate Material Costs: €57,566 (incld. €3,766 contingency at 7%)
Rule #4: Be Sensible
Seeing your dream house taking shape can accelerate your ambitions.
It’s often at the installing stage that you start to convince yourself that an extra euro or 2,000 won’t matter much as long as you’re keeping to a ballpark figure of your original budget.
But #realtalk: Overspending in one area means cutting costs in another. Or risking the chance of having to halt work mid-build because you’ve run out of the readies.
Areas such as tiling, fitted kitchens, bathroom suites, cabinets, wardrobes, and various appliances, can make a difference of thousands if you decide to opt for uber- quality.
For example, heating systems come in all shapes and sizes nowadays.
But a state-of-the-art heating system complete with underfloor heating, high-end boiler and fancy controls can easily set you back €5,000- €7,000 (unfitted).
While standard radiators and condensing boiler may come in at under half that price.
We’re not suggesting you skimp on quality. But invest in what’s best for you – and your budget.
Approximate costs: €20,000
Additional Ways to Cut Down on Costs
DIY it Where Possible
Taking on some of the tasks such as plastering, painting, decorating and tiling can make big savings on your self build.
But only do it if you’ve got time – and experience. In other words, be realistic about what you can do and can’t do. And communicate with the builder so they know when you’re on site and what they can knock off their to-do list.
Potential Savings: Daily rates for professional labourers differ depending on trade, but are typically land around €150-1€80 per day. Depending on how much graft you’re willing to do and which area you’re able to tackle, you could make a savings of €500 - €3,000.
Project Managing if you have the Time, Skills, and Moxie
Project managing your build will enable you to save thousands – if you do it right.
It’s a massive undertaking and one not to be taken on without really understanding the pros and cons.
As project manager you’ll be expected to do everything including managing the day-to-day details of the site, hiring and scheduling trade, sourcing and managing materials, and keeping everything on time and within budget. It can be hugely stressful as well as time-consuming.
If you don’t want to hire a main contractor as project manager, but don’t want to take on the bulk of the work yourself either, you could think about talking on some of the tasks and then talk to your architect and builder about what they can do on your behalf.
Potential Savings: €3,000 – €10,000
Sourcing (Bargain) Materials
Bargains can be found for fixtures and fittings, such as simple lighting, PVC windows and fitted kitchens.
If your designer or builder sources fixtures or appliances that you feel are too expensive, do it yourself and see if you can find something cheaper.
Always talk to them first about sourcing materials. Truth is, they may be able to get better bargains on bulk items – e.g. bricks, blocks and types of timber.
But if you have the time and the tenacity, you could likely track down cheaper, but still quality-based, baths, showers, boilers, kitchen cabinets, etc.
Check out smaller local businesses for possible deals, and mix and match with basic and luxury fittings for a high-end look at high street prices.
Potential Savings: €1,000 – €10,000
The Final Figure
Our approximate pre-build costs, main labour and material costs, along with a modest €3,000 saving due to DIYing it, brings the total to €148,118.80*.
Of course, the cost of any self-build depends on such unique variables as the ideas and tastes of those building the house.
Nonetheless, our figure rounded off €148k does show that with some forethought and focused planning it is possible to build the home of your dreams with a budget of €150k …and still have €2k left for curtains for all the house – not just the kitchen!
*Costs are approximate and are not provided as a definitive guide. You will need to do your own research into all associated costs & we can not be held liable should these costs differ.