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Spring 2012

Heading here

The magazine of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers

l a n o i s s e f P ro

April fri 27

sat 28

AGM & Annual Convention 2012

Galway Bay Hotel | Salthill | Galway


Lazy days in Languedoc

Maurice Craig looks back with candour

Château development P15

Conservation pioneer hits 90 P8

Property Residential THE IRISH TIMES

Sales prices are to be published – but when? JACK FAGAN THERE HAS been a general welcome by the property industry to the Government plan to set up a database to record all residential and commercial property sales. The initiative, announced in the Renewed Programme for Government, comes after auctioneers were effectively forced to withhold information on house selling prices from May, 2008, following the intervention of the National Consumer Agency (NCA). Publication of private treaty sale prices could only take place with the consent of the seller and the buyer under the Data Protection Act. The NCA became involved after The Irish Times wrote to the Irish Auctioneers & Valuers Institute (IAVI) about price claims that were substantially above the actual agreed sales prices. The Renewed Programme for Government promises to amend the Data Protection Act to allow the publication of the sale price of property and “create and maintain a House Price Database in the Department of the Environment where details of residential and commercial property sales will be maintained for statistical purposes”. Aine Myler, president of the IAVI, yesterday welcomed the news but wondered what timeframe the Government had in mind. “What is not explicit in this statement is when the legislation will be changed and how accessible the register will be. As such we call on the Minister to ensure that the law is quickly amended and that everyone should have easily accessible, free on-line access to this information.” Mark FitzGerald, chief executive of the Sherry FitzGerald Group, questioned whether the DoE had the capacity to collect the information and analyse it on a monthly basis. Quarterly information was too historical for consumers, he said. As it would not be possible to collate information until sales were closed, he suggested that the contract date be included in the data provided. He said some citizens may genuinely view the change as an intrusion on their privacy. Fintan McNamara, chief executive of the IAVI said the move would give transparency to the market. “Everybody would know the correct facts not rumours. The current situation makes no sense and makes it difficult for buyers, sellers and agents to operate.”

Editor: Orna Mulcahy Phone: 01 675 8000

Fax: 01 675 8037

October 15, 2009


Sex and the City-style penthouse


A chance to live over the shops in a penthouse apartment by St Stephen’s Green appeals to Rosemary Mac Cabe. Trouble is, it’s short on wardrobe space

Elegant and discreet in Sandymount


PENTHOUSE is the ultimate sign of high-flying achievement. It must be – otherwise why would they feature so prominently in the annals of television and movie history? Like plastic surgery, regular manicures and embossed business cards, owning a penthouse means you’ve really made it. But who’s buying penthouses in these straitened times? Not very many people, one might imagine, but selling agent Owen Reilly of Owen Reilly Property Consultants says there’s still a market: “People are definitely waiting until they find a property that ticks all of their boxes – this property has space, location, light, style and it will be sold, I would imagine, to a high-flier.” He names the legal profession as one in which buyers are to be found. So where better to demonstrate this against-the-odds success than at the top of Grafton Street, in a penthouse apartment directly across from the St Stephen’s Green centre, above Zara and H&M and within a stone’s throw of, well, everything? Number One Clarendon Row is a rooftop development of four bright, airy, penthouse apartments – and number 3 is up for grabs at ¤895,000. While this could hardly be considered a steal, it could have gone for upwards of ¤1.5 million at the height of the boom. The rental opportunities are good; approximately ¤3,000 a month wouldn’t be impossible, says Reilly. With the apartment comes a parking space accessed by the niftiest of parking lifts (not for the claustrophobic, but at least your apartment will compensate for that), wooden floors, solid wood doors and a fully fitted kitchen with a range of slick silver Neff appliances. That said, it doesn’t feel like an apartment in which a whole lot of cooking will be done. Entertaining? Yes. Cocktail mixing? Definitely. Cooking casseroles while the baby dozes in the stroller? Perhaps not. First impressions of the 125sq m (1,345sq ft) apartment – a good size with a large, spacious hallway – suggest that the rest of the apartment will be equally roomy. But bedrooms are modestly sized and, along with two en suite bathrooms and a separate one for visitors, there’s not a whole lot more to it. It’s in the living area that this penthouse comes into its own – a huge, open space with floor-to-ceiling windows that face out onto the Stephen’s Green centre, it is full of light and gives the appearance of being very airy. But, man, is it hot. Almost stiflingly

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Price drops in Adamstown, Rathfarnham Page 12

FOOD FOR FREE Rosemary Mac Cabe on the balcony of a penthouse apartment overlooking South King Street near St Stephen’s Green, D2. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

so, on a fine day – and while that may not be a problem one would ordinarily take into account when purchasing anywhere on our fine island, walking into the livingroom on a sunny October afternoon was akin to walking into a cooling oven. Sliding doors at the front of the livingroom – a large, wide space with a kitchen against the back wall, complete with a long breakfast (lunch, cocktail) bar – open onto a spacious balcony, nine metres long and wide enough for a table and a few chairs. This is the perfect venue for some post-work aperitifs before heading out on the town, or, indeed, for a break from shopping, where you can unload some bags and regroup for the second wave. While the view to the southeast is sub-



Fantastic Specifications 2 Bed Own Door Apartments 3 Bed Duplex Oversized 3 Bed Townhouse 3 Bed Detached

lime – straight down the north side of St Stephen’s Green towards Merrion Row – the vista directly opposite the balcony is of the shopping centre itself, reams of glass and metal struts that, for an architect, might look like heaven but, for the young professional, could get tiresome. But, oh, the geography! There is no possible location that could be more central, and really, that’s what this property is about. Right in the heart of Dublin’s shopping district, this would be the perfect launch pad from which to plan an assault on Grafton Street’s fashion possibilities. But are young, fashionable women really the prime candidates for this apartment? Somehow, I think not. While the Sex and the City comparisons may well be

Would you like to come and see my new apartment? Oh, yes, didn’t I mention? It’s right above Zara

enough to convince even the most sceptical young career woman (with ¤895,000 to spare) to take the plunge, this apartment screams young bachelor at the top of its bright, airy, lungs. Modestly-sized bedroom? Well, that’d be a man, then, without the need for extra wardrobe space or a sit-down area for make-up application. A man who’d be perfectly happy to set up a widescreen television, Xbox and cocktail cabinet and invite the guys over for a few games of Texas Hold ’em in the new pad. Then out on the town to chat up some soon-to-be-impressed young ladies. “Would you like to come and see my new apartment? Oh, yes, didn’t I mention? It’s right above Zara . . .” Now that’s a line worth trying.

Go foraging in mother nature’s pantry Page 11

Doing the sums on living in your holiday home abroad

Isabel Morton - page 7


From €235,000 €295,000 €365,000 €375,000

New styles opening for the first time this week. View to appreciate today 2-4pm; Saturday and Sunday 2-4pm.




Dear Member Welcome to the Spring 2012 issue of the Property Professional. In this issue you will find useful articles on a range of issues including details on how the new licensing system for auctioneers and estate agents will proceed now that the legislation has been enacted. This new system represents a very major change for members and I would ask you to read it thoroughly and to make yourself familiar with the requirements well in advance. In the run-up to the change-over, IPAV will help to resolve any difficulties members have and you should feel free to contact our Head Office at any time.

The property Professional is the Magazine of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers 129 Lower Baggot Street Dublin 2 Tel: 01 6785685 Fax: 01 6762890 E-mail: Website: CEI Website:

This issue also contains details of our upcoming AGM and Annual Convention which takes place in the Galway Bay Hotel on the weekend of April 27 and 28. While appreciating the challenging times we live in. IPAV feels this annual break is an ideal time to talk to colleagues and to exchange views on how others are coping with the recession. We will have a number of speakers on hand to provide useful insights into varying aspects of the professional agent’s day-to-day work and there will be an opportunity for questions from the floor to each when they finish. On the education front, IPAV has been progressing in a number of areas. The Institute has, for some time now, been working closely with Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) in establishing a strategic alliance for the delivery of a suitable programme for the training of auctioneers and estate agents in accordance with the requirements of new Property Services Regulatory Authority regulatory regime. This is a major step forward in IPAV’s education programme and, to mark the development, we are delighted to welcome as our Guest of Honour to this year’s Convention Dinner, the President of LIT, Dr Maria Hinfelaar, who is one of the leading figures in spearheading third level education programmes in the Mid-West. The Convention will also provide some time to relax, to meet old friends and to make new acquaintances. Galway City, at the mouth of Galway Bay, is both a picturesque and lively city with a wonderful avant-garde culture and a fascinating mixture of locally owned speciality shops, often featuring locally made crafts. I hope you can take some time out to sample some of its attractions.

Chief Executive Officer Fintan McNamara M.Litt. Dip. L.S. MIPAV(HON) Editor Tim Ryan Tim Ryan Communications Tel: 01 679 0380 Advertising & Design Designroom Tel: 01 615 4715 Publisher Designroom

Property Professional Spring 2012 Views expressed by contributors or correspondents are not necessarily those of IPAV or the publisher and neither IPAV nor the publisher accept any responsibility for them.

I hope to see you in Salthill.

Fintan McNamara Chief Executive

Contents A New Regulatory Regime

Page 4-6

Limerick Lady appointed new Housing Minister Member Focus

Page 7

Pages 8-9, 18 -19 & 25

IPAV Reaches Agreement with LIT

Page 13

AGM & Annual Convention 2012

Pages 14-17

Focus on Greece

Pages 20-21

The Last Word

Page 28 Spring Issue | page 1

President’s Message

Message from the President The Spring of another New Year has arrived without any significant signs of movement in the property market. Daily, I hear reports from members of the difficulties they are experiencing in trying to keep their business in operation and, as someone trying to keep a rural business afloat myself, I deeply sympathise with them. I am also gravely concerned at the number of auctioneers and estate agents going out of business altogether or being let go by their employer, often after many years of loyal service. These are truly depressing times for our profession and I detect little sympathy from the public or the government for our plight. The recent Budget did give some impetus to the market. The increases in the mortgage interest allowances for new and first-time buyers for this year and the avoidance of any Capital Gains Tax for the first seven years of ownership of properties bought between now and the end of 2013 are welcome moves IPAV acknowledges they will make a modest contribution to creating movement in the market. But these initiatives in themselves are wholly inadequate. The main problem facing the property market has been, and continues to be, the lack of finance from the lending institutions. IPAV is currently undertaking a survey of members and one of the questions relates to the alarming increase in the number of ‘Sale Agreed” deals which have subsequently fallen through due to failure to draw down the loan. Instead of saying a downright “No”, many financial institutions are clearly playing footsie with would-be mortgagees by getting them to fill in endless forms and questionnaires, knowing full well in many instances there is no possibility of the transaction being completed. They are simply engaging in a smoke screen of pretend in order to satisfy any government questioning down the line. In the meantime as President, I have decided to maintain a positive outlook and to support members in any way I can. This I have done by increasing the number of seminars and day courses both at our Headquarters in Dublin and at various regional locations. Despite the very challenging environment out there, I have been delighted at the large turnouts on all occasions. Members have told me that they find these sessions very useful and I look forward to hearing more of your reaction during the rest of my term of office. I was delighted to meet so many members at our recent seminar in Ballyconnell and I look forward to meeting many more in the Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow on March 27th. A major highlight of the past year has been the launch of our own property portal, Onview. ie and I would encourage all members to make maximum use of it in their efforts to promote their properties. I would like to say a special thanks to National Council member, Martin O’Mahony and his small team of supporters who spearheaded this project. I also wish to remind members of our AGM and Annual Convention which takes place in the Galway Bay Hotel on April 27 and 28. I hope as many of you as possible will take the time to visit Galway for some of the sessions at least. IPAV is again very keenly aware of the difficult financial situation facing members and there are a number of options available, some of which involve little expense. Finally, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support and I look forward to meeting you in Salthill at the end of April. Best wishes

Padraig Smith President Spring Issue | page 2

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A New Regulatory Regime for Property Services Providers By Tom Lynch, Director, the Property Services Regulatory Authority

The Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 ushers in a new era in the regulation of Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Letting Agents and Management Agents. The Act, which was signed by President Michael D. Higgins on 20th December, 2011, establishes the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) to control, supervise, license and regulate of all such property services providers. The appointment of the members of the Authority, by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Alan Shatter T.D., is imminent. The Act repeals all previous legislation dealing with the licensing of Auctioneers and House Agents and introduces, for the first time, a strong regulatory framework aimed at affording greater protection for consumers and ensuring that the property services sector operates to the highest standards. The legislation is very extensive covering the establishment of the Authority, the introduction of a new licensing system together with a complaints investigation and redress system, the obligations of licensed service providers, the administration of client accounts, the institution of a compensation fund, the creation of residential and commercial property databases and the establishment of an Appeals Board. However, for the purpose of this Article, I propose to address only the issues which I believe are of the most immediate relevance to practitioners, namely:• The Licensing of Property Services Providers, • The Complaints Investigation and Redress System, • Client Accounts and • Property Services Providers’ Client Contracts.

The Licensing of Property Services Providers The new licensing system will be more streamlined. Licence applicants will no longer have to place advertisements in newspapers, apply to the District Court for a certificate of qualification, lodge a fidelity guarantee bond with the High Court and apply to the Revenue Commissioners for a licence. Henceforth, all applicants will make a single licence application to the Authority. The new licensing system will be introduced initially for Management Agents as they have not heretofore been licensed. This process will commence immediately when the Minister makes the appropriate commencement order.

Spring Issue | page 4

In so far as persons previously licensable under the Auctioneers and House Agents Act 1947 are concerned the new licensing regime will come into effect when the current licensing period under the 1947 Act expires on the 5th July 2012. On the question of who should hold a licence the Act does not use terms such as Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Letting Agents or Management Agents but simply refers to the property services for which a licence is required namely:• The auction of property other than land. • The purchase or sale, by whatever means, of land. • The letting of land. • Property management services. A separate licence will be required in respect of each of these property services. However, a licensee may hold a single licence covering one or more of the different categories of property service – similar to how a driver’s licence operates. In contrast to the previous licensing system, the new licensing requirement will apply to both employers and employees engaged in the provision of property services and the Act specifies the categories of service providers which must hold a licence. Altogether there are six distinct categories, namely: • A Company, • A Partnership, • A Sole Trader, • An Independent Contractor, • A Principal Officer (e.g. company director, a partner in a partnership or a manager in a company or partnership) and • Employees. In addition to the extension of the licensing requirement to employees, there are also new requirements which licence applicants must meet. In future, any person wishing to obtain a licence must make an application to the PSRA and the application must be accompanied by: • In the case of Property Services Employers and Independent Contractorso Evidence of the qualifications of Principal Officers (Companies and Partnerships) or individual applicant. o Evidence that the applicant has Professional Indemnity (P. I.) Insurance o Tax Clearance Details, o Accountant’s Report o Certificate of Incorporation and or Business Registration (where applicable), o Prescribed Licence Fee.


• In the case of Principal Officers and Employeeso Evidence of the qualifications of the applicant, o Evidence that the applicant is covered by P.I. Insurance, o Prescribed Licence Fee. It is important to note that four very significant new elements have been introduced into the licensing process namely, qualifications, insurance, compensation and extended tax clearance. The qualification requirements will be prescribed in detail in Regulations which will be made by the Authority. Broadly speaking the requirement will be either a minimum academic qualification or appropriate experience. The minimum academic qualification will involve at least 2 years third level academic study in a range of prescribed subjects. In this regard the three and four year degree courses currently run in a number of Institutes of Technology throughout the country, such as the B.Sc. Real Estate, B.Sc. Property Studies and B.Sc. Property Economics, will more than adequately meet the minimum academic qualification standard. Of course there may be people who have been engaged in the provision of property services for a number of years who may not meet the prescribed minimum academic qualification. In such circumstances where a person can demonstrate, for example by producing licences granted in recent years under the 1947 Act, that they have appropriate experience in the provision of property services they may be deemed to have met the minimum qualification requirements. On the question of insurance, the requirement, under the previous licensing system, that a licence applicant lodge a fidelity guarantee bond with the High Court is being replaced with a requirement to have P. I. Insurance. Each property services employer must have in place a minimum level of P. I. Insurance, similar to that currently held by IPAV members, which covers both the applicant and all of his or her employees engaged in the provision of property services.

In addition to insurance each applicant will be required to contribute a specified sum to a compensation fund before a licence will be granted. The purpose of the compensation fund is to compensate persons who sustain loss due to the dishonesty of a service provider. The Authority is required to ensure that the amount standing to the credit of the Fund is maintained at a minimum of €2M and this level must be achieved within 4 years of the establishment of the Authority. Once the Authority has decided to grant a licence to a person, a contribution to the Compensation Fund will be requested from the person by the Authority. A licence cannot be issued until such time as this contribution has been paid. With regard to tax clearance, it is important to note that, in addition to the company or partnership being required to be tax compliant, all directors of the company concerned or partners in the partnership concerned must also supply tax clearance certificates. This brings me to the important question of what happens if I operate without a licence. It is an offence to either provide a property service, or hold oneself out or represent oneself as available to provide a property service. Any person found guilty of such an offence is liable:• on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both, or • on conviction on indictment, to an unlimited fine or 5 years imprisonment or both. A detailed “Guidance Booklet”, on the making of an application under the new licensing system, has been prepared and will be published on the Authority’s website in the very near future.

Complaints Investigation and Redress System One of the shortcomings of the old regime was the lack of any system of investigation into allegations of improper conduct by service providers. The new regime provides for a comprehensive system of investigation of complaints made against service providers. In addition it gives power to the Authority to impose sanctions where such complaints are upheld. The Authority must investigate all complaints made against service providers where it considers that the complaint is made in good faith and is neither frivolous nor vexatious. It can also, of its own volition, carry out an investigation to identify any improper conduct of a service provider. Where it decides that an investigation is warranted, the Authority will appoint an inspector to carry out the investigation. The Act confers extensive powers on such inspectors including powers to enter and search premises, require the production of relevant books and records, inspect bank accounts, carry out examinations and inquiries and conduct oral hearings.

Spring Issue | page 5


On completion of the investigation, the service provider concerned and the complainant must be given a copy of the inspectors report and be afforded an opportunity to address the inspector’s findings. Before making a final decision on a complaint, the Authority may conduct an oral hearing of the complaint or invite the parties to make submissions. Where, on conclusion of the investigation, the Authority is satisfied that the service provider is or has engaged in improper conduct, it may impose either a “minor” or a “major” sanction. The Act defines these sanctions as follows: • A minor sanction means: a reprimand, warning, caution or advice. • A major sanction means: o the suspension or revocation of a licence, o payment of up to €50,000 into the compensation fund, o payment of up to €50,000 towards the costs of the investigation, or o payment of a penalty of up to €250,000. There is a statutory obligation on the Authority to publish full details of all major sanctions imposed and the Authority has also discretion in the publication of minor sanctions. A service provider may appeal any minor sanction imposed to the Appeal Board but a major sanction must be appealed to the High Court. Any person who obstructs or impedes the Authority in its investigations is guilty of an offence and liable: • on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both, or • on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €50,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.

Client Accounts I now turn to the question of the keeping and preservation of client accounts. The Act is very prescriptive in relation to the manner in which client accounts must be maintained and provides specifically that the Authority shall make regulations governing:• the kind of bank accounts which may be opened by a Property Services Provider for the keeping of client moneys, • the rights, duties and responsibilities of a Property Services Provider in respect of client moneys, • the circumstances in which moneys, other than client moneys, may be paid into a client account, • the accounting records which must be maintained by a Property Services Provider, • the obligation of a Property Services Provider to furnish documents to an accountant, • the examination of accounts by an accountant together with the form of accountant’s report to be supplied to the Authority and • client entitlements. The Authority has already had discussions with the Institute on these regulations and they will be published as soon as the Act commences.

Spring Issue | page 6

A failure to comply fully with these regulations constitutes improper conduct which can lead to very considerable sanctions including fines or up to €250,000 and the revocation of a service provider’s licence. In addition the Act provides that any service provider who knowingly lodges client moneys to an account other than a client account or makes a false or misleading entry in accounting records shall be guilty of an offence and liable:• on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both, or • on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €50,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both. In this regard, Management Agents are exempt from the requirement to lodge money to the client account where the client moneys are lodged to the Owners’ Management Company Account.

Property Services Providers’ Client Contracts The final issue which I would like to address is the requirement that Property Services Providers provide clients with a services agreement within 7 working days of having agreed with a client to provide a property service. This agreement must be signed by the client within 7 days of it being issued by the service provider. If the client fails to sign, within the prescribed period, the service provider must withdraw from the agreement and not provide the service. The agreement must include details of the services to be provided by the service provider, the fees or commission payable by the client, the period during which the agreement has effect, the consequences of termination of the agreement, etc. Details of the extensive information that must be included in such an agreement are set out in Schedule 2 of the Act. The form of the agreement, which all Property Services Providers must use, will be specified by the Authority. The importance of complying fully with this requirement cannot be overemphasised. Failure to comply with this mandatory requirement constitutes improper conduct and can lead ultimately to the revocation of a licence. As I said, the Act is quite extensive and it would not be possible in such a brief article as this to cover all of its detailed and complex provisions. However, I trust that I have addressed the more important issues and at least those which are of the most immediate importance to IPAV members. I am heartened by the very positive response which the IPAV have given to the new regulatory framework and I believe that the introduction of this new regime will ultimately have the beneficial effect of creating a greater public confidence in the profession.


Limerick Lady appointed new Housing Minister The Custom House has seen its second Housing Minister appointed in less than 12 months. Limerick Labour deputy Jan O’Sullivan has recently replaced Willie Penrose and joins Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan in sharing this important portfolio. Tim Ryan spoke to her....

Minister Jan O’Sullivan

It’s been a baptism for the new Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan. Appointed as Minister of State for Trade and Development on March 10, 2011, she was only 10 months in the job when she was promoted by the Tánaiste and Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore to a seat at Cabinet to replace Minister Willie Penrose who resigned from Government over the closure of Mullingar Barracks.

Her first ministry was one she enjoyed very much. She had taken a keen interest in Ireland’s Development Aid budget and had travelled to Africa to see at first hand some of the projects Ireland had funded. As Minister for Trade she had also led two delegations, one to the MiddleEast and another to South Africa, two corners of the globe which Ireland is targeting to grow its exports. “I was a great admirer of the small Irish indigenous companies and I could see how they were making their way in those two parts of the world which are growing economically.” The transfer to the Custom came as a surprise but she has quickly got on top of the brief. In addition to Housing, she is also Minister for Planning and it is in this area she is hoping to make her mark. “Often I think planning is overlooked and it is really important particularly in the current climate as we have seen the results of bad planning,” she says. “What I would like to do while we don’t have a lot of construction going on is to ensure that we have sustainable planning for the future. The worst thing that could happen is that we would not learn how we went from boom to bust so quickly and to ensure that what we build from now on is sustainable.” Currently the retail guidelines are being reviewed and here her priority is that town centres are sustainable and that the entire shopping area does not move out to a Greenfield site as has been the case many times up to now. “Overall I want to have a look at the National Spatial Strategy to see if it is appropriate for what has become a very changed Ireland. It may not need to be changed but I will certainly have a look at it.”

Bottom of market On housing she says she is not a prophet and cannot say if we have reached the bottom of the market. “But I do hear Michael Noonan saying the cost of building a house is now equal to or higher than buying one and that is a possible indication that we are at the bottom. I know there are a lot of people waiting and ready to buy. People won’t wait forever and once some start to move out and buy we will have turned the corner.”

Ongoing pressure must be kept on the financial institutions, she says. “They were given a huge amount of public money to get out of their difficulties and I believe they must show that they are willing to give something back. In the longterm it’s in the banks’ own interest that people borrow and the whole system is energised again.” The other area of interest to her is NAMA, notably the whole area of unfinished estates. She chairs a group looking at this area. “I believe NAMA has a big role to play in getting property moving again simply because they have a lot of property. Clearly they have a responsibility to get a good return for the taxpayer.”

Rental sector Turning to the rental sector Minister O’Sullivan says she has a particular interest in the Private Residential Tenancies Board and will be introducing legislation later this year to make it more effective. Recently she says data from the Department of Social Protection and the PRTB has been matched, resulting in a large increase in the number of registrations. “People in Social Protection now know if the landlord is registered or not and that can inform the PRTB.” Deposit retention causes huge problems, she says and she is currently reviewing varying options to resolve this including an insurance scheme. The commitment to tackle the problem is already contained in the Programme for Government. The Minister is also involved in the introduction of a new regulatory regime for the voluntary housing sector, something which they have asked for themselves. It will be done first on a voluntary basis and then put on a statutory footing. This year there is only €390 million going directly to social and voluntary housing so much of the building will be done by housing bodies who will borrow from the Housing Finance Agency and other financial institutions. All in all, it’s very busy brief for the Limerick TD and mother of two who, as well as looking after a busy brief, has to service a large city constituency. It’s a formidable and daunting challenge. Spring Issue | page 7

Member Focus

Networking through sport is Key to career of south Dublin IPAV member By Tim Ryan, Editor, the Property Professional

Networking through sport is very often a very useful avenue to getting business for auctioneers and estate agents. It was a great love of rugby that secured Ranelagh IPAV member Bobby Geraghty of King & Associates his first job in the marketing department of Independent Newspapers. While socialising after a training session in Landsdowne Rugby Club in the mid 1990s Bobby was casually introduced to the Marketing Manager at Independent Newspapers who was also a member of the club. Gerry mentioned that he had recently completed a course in Marketing at Rathmines College and was looking for a job. An informal interview followed the following week and Bobby had his first job on Middle Abbey St. A native of Pelletstown, Drumree, Co. Meath Bobby grew up in the countryside where he was surrounded by horses and ponies of all types. Well-known former Irish Champion jump jockey Barry Geraghty is a first cousin and was his nearest neighbour growing up. Nowadays when Bobby complains to his cousin about how tough times are in the property business, Barry replies that at least he doesn’t have to be followed by two ambulances every time he goes to work! Bobby Geraghty


After attending the local primary school his secondary education was at Castleknock College where he also developed his love of rugby.

The staff of King & Associates (l – r): Gerry King, Siobhan Costello and Bobby Geraghty. (Seated): Judy Nixon. House also moved virtually to the Palace Bar on Fleet St, the family business of Willie Ahern, an old colleague from Castleknock who also proved a formidable player on the Landsdowne team. At Independent Newspapers Bobby moved into property advertising where he acquired a taste for the area. However, still a young man with an anxiety to travel, he quit the job in 1999 and headed to Australia and took a year out.

Tallaght IT

“I was playing rugby since I was six as there was a big family interest in the game,” he says. “My uncle was very involved in North Kildare Rugby Club.

On his return he got a job with Property Partners Brady in Maynooth and began to study for the IPAV night course in Tallaght IT.

While playing with the North Kildare Rugby Club he recalls getting to the Senior Schools Cup Semi-Final when they were defeated by St Mary’s who went on to win the Cup. Former Irish International Denis Hickey was a member of the St Mary’s squad.

“It was tough going, attending three hours of lectures two nights a week, after a day’s work,” he recalls. “And you had to complete assignments for the various lecturers and so on.”

After Castleknock Bobby, along with many fellow classmates, joined Landsdowne where he continued to play at all levels including the senior team. There, along with being introduced to the marketing manager at Independent Newspapers, he also met many people who proved useful contacts later in the property business. “Networking and maintaining good social contacts is a key part of the auctioneering profession as you can get a lot of referral business by word of mouth or a recommendation from a friend.” The recent rebuilding of the Aviva Stadium also caused major turmoil for Landsdowne Club who had to vacate their grounds and move temporarily to the nearby RDS Grounds. But the Club

Spring Issue | page 8

In 2006 he moved to work for HOK (later Savills) in their Ranelagh Office. However, this office was closed two years later as the recession began and he moved to their Head Office on Molesworth St. Then last year he got an opportunity to become a partner in King & Associates in Ranelagh and he decided to make the plunge. “I was moving from a very big company to a small office but I decided I wanted the challenge and I am thoroughly enjoying it.” Today King & Associates has a total of four staff and is busy despite the recession. Like many other offices, lettings and property management provide the cash flow for the business while sales are slow and cumbersome.

Member Focus

“The lettings market is very active and buoyant as an increasing number of people are waiting and holding back and are renting houses,” says Bobby. That is why two and three-bed semis anywhere on the south side and close to the city are very hard to find and are attracting big rents. There is a real scarcity of supply here.”

Vendors must be realistic He further points out that it is now cheaper to buy a house than to build one and that is a major distortion of the market which will not and cannot last for long. But vendors must be realistic and be prepared to sell at a 60 per cent reduction on peak 2007 prices if they wish to do business. As an example he points to a house on Ashfield Road in the centre of Ranelagh which was sold at auction during the boom for €2.2m. A similar house across the road, but in need of some repair, sold recently for €500,000. That’s the size of the change that has taken place but it is the new reality. “But good locations in and around the city will always be in high demand and will be the first to take off when the market finally turns,” he adds. Meanwhile, away from the office Bobby likes to spend time with his wife Karen who he married in October 2007 and their two children, Matthew (3) and Grace (16 months). And he is still very involved with Landsdowne RFC where he coaches one of the teams. That usually takes up two nights per week, with a game on a Friday night.

Bobby Geraghty in action for Landsdowne RFC

But the mixture of sport and work has worked ideally for Bobby Geraghty. It’s the ideal combination of earning a living combined with relaxation which he says has been a key ingredient to the building of his career to date. It’s helped him cope with the downturn and get into good shape for the challenges of a more lacklustre property market in the months and years ahead.

Who knows Ireland best?! Well done to the Carlow IPAV members who represented the auctioneering profession on ‘Who knows most about Ireland’ on RTE 1 on Friday, 10 February. Pictured with host Derek Mooney are ( l – r): Nora Meaney, Derek, Sharon O’Leary and Maura Fenlon. At the end of the programme the auctioneers tied with the agricultural consultants!

“Networking and maintaining good social contacts is a key part of the auctioneering profession as you can get a lot of referral business by word of mouth or a recommendation from a friend.”

Spring Issue | page 9


Registration fee for septic tanks reduced to €5 for first three months – Minister Hogan A reduced registration fee of €5 for the first three months and a practical approach that will be taken to the inspections of septic tanks was announced on February 6 by the Minister for the Environment, Community and local Government, Phil Hogan TD. Speaking at a public meeting on the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary he set out the Government’s proposals for the registration and inspection of septic tanks. Minister Hogan said: “To act as an incentive for owners to register early, I have decided to set the registration fee at €5 instead of the proposed €50 for the first three months. I would encourage people to register before the 30th June 2012 and avail of the lower fee.”

The deadline for registration is March 2013. “This legislation has been deliberately framed to minimise the impact on householders who can be assured that if their systems are working properly and are being maintained the impact of the new system will be minor. We are adopting a very practical approach to the inspection guidelines. Once my Department’s consultation with the EPA and the European Commission has been completed, I will formally announce the guidelines in two weeks which will be followed by a four week public consultation period.” He said he was in a position to announce some of the practical standards that will be included in the guidelines. Septic tanks and waste-water treatment systems must be operational and maintained and the guidelines will outline some very simple and obvious examples of risks of a deficient treatment system. For example, is it leaking waste water or effluent? Or is it causing ponds of waste water to collect on the surface of the ground?”

Requirements Practical operational requirements that will be included in the guidelines: • • • • • •

Ensuring that roof water or surface water run-off is not allowed enter the treatment system That grey-water from washing machines and sinks is being treated in the system Are the pipe-works and vents of a system blocked or obstructed Are manhole covers and other components of the system of good working order or sealed where appropriate Any mechanical or electrical components of the system, for example pumps or alarms, are fit for purpose Recommendations will be included regarding the frequencies with which systems should be emptied or desludged

Spring Issue | page 10

“The risk-based system of inspections will commence in 2013 and will be objective and evidence-based, i.e. unless there is evidence of endangerment of human health or the environment, the system in place will pass inspection,” said the Minister. “There is no question of applying the EPA’s 2009 Code of Practice to older on-site systems.” “Following over 30 hours of debate in the Houses of Oireachtas, the President, Michael D. Higgins, recently signed into law the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012. This Legislation has been introduced for three reasons:

1. Non-compliance with EU legislation: On 29 October 2009, the European Court of Justice ruled against Ireland in relation to the treatment of waste waters from septic tanks and other on-site wastewater treatment systems. The enactment of this legislation is a critical element in Ireland’s defence against the imposition of hefty fines by the Court. 2. Protect ground water in rural Ireland: The key objective of the new legislation is to enhance and protect public health and the environment which will, in turn, benefit rural dwellers in terms of a better quality of life and better quality water. Responsibility for protection of public health and the environment applies to everyone, whether living in urban or rural areas. Environmental and health issues must be dealt with as circumstances dictate and where risks exist. 3. Protect jobs: The provision of a continuous supply of clean water is a fundamental requirement for the economy. High quality water and security of supply is vital to attract foreign direct investment, high-end employment, and meet the needs and demands of our existing businesses and communities.” “No-one should have any difficulty with these common-sense requirements. After all, if a septic tank is leaking or causing waste water to pond on the surface the most immediate risk is posed to the health of the owner of the system and of his family and neighbours.” Under the legislation anyone who owns a septic tank or a waste-water treatment system needs to register before March 2013. After the four week public consultation period has been completed and the regulations have been published, a registration system will be in place by 31 March 2012. There will be an on-line registration system and a facility for written registration also. ready for second phase of development, IPAV’s property portal is to have moderators in all counties in the Republic to ensure all the information uploaded is accurate and up-to-date. An update on the site’s progress was given by IPAV National Council member Martin O’Mahony at a recent seminar in Cavan and will do so again on March 27 in Carlow. “We are only up and running for less than three months and the reaction from many agents has been very encouraging,” he said. “We now need to make the next step forward by ensuring all the information uploaded by members is totally accurate.” The appointment of moderators throughout the country is a very significant step forward for the development of the website and the intention is to appoint at least three moderators in each county. “Moderators can help in ensuring the growth of the site by using some of their spare time in checking entries on the site to ensure that listed properties have their prices up to date, and that correct up to date pictures have been entered,” said Martin O’Mahony. “In order for any website to be successful it must have as broad a range of available properties as possible and also as many agents listing property as possible.” With the website now started, the next phase of the development will be focused on adding significantly to the already substantial listings that we presently enjoy on the site and also the recruitment of as many new agents in the country as possible.

Our agent recruitment campaign is about to commence throughout Ireland and we would ask our members throughout the country to help in encouraging all other agents to join. Anyone interested in becoming a moderator for the site should contact Very shortly he said AIB would become the first advertiser on the home page and this was a further vote of confidence in the site and its huge potential. “It’s now up to the members to make it successful and to make it the Number One site in the country,” he added. “Together we can make it work. Yes we can!” Anyone interested in becoming a moderator for the site should contact

“Our new moderators in addition to assisting with checking the properties in their own counties can also be of huge help (as can all other members) in recruiting agents nationwide on to our site, as their listings are invaluable to creating Ireland’s Nationwide Property Portal.” Mr O’Mahony said the web portal had started from day one with a base of 400 agents and 35,000 properties. The next step was to increase that number. The web portal would also soon have a facility which would give members of the public accurate information on house prices in every county in Ireland. “Only auctioneers have all the relevant information in relation to the sale of any property and information provided by them will be the most accurate available,” he said. “The information that we as agents possess in relation to the property market in Ireland is very precious and this information is very sought after by the public and others alike. We must cherish our knowledge and realise that we as agents with the enormous amount of information that we possess in relation to the property market have something that is sought after. How we disperse this information that we are in control of can have an enormous effect on the success or otherwise of our businesses.” “We intend that the future development of our website will go far beyond the presently accepted property website formats that are currently available today,” he said. “By making our long established store of property information available to the public in the right way, we can ensure that the public will be attracted to our website for information that we possess, and in that way they can help to establish as the property agents’ website.”

Spring Issue | page 11

IPAV Seminar

Seminar Photos

Pictured at IPAV’s Rural Seminar in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell were (l – r), Barry Fitzgerald, Ratoath, Co. Meath; John Joyce, Tuam and John Fitzgerald, Ratoath.

IPAV National Council members Martin O’Mahony, Goatstown, Dublin 14 and Paul Reynolds, Letterkenny chatting at the Rural Seminar

Robert (left) and Alexander Gourley, Maghera St., Kilrea, Co. Derry were at the seminar in Ballyconnell.

Roberta Graham and Patrick Crosbie, Crosbie & Graham Auctioneers, Cootehill, Co. Cavan were at the Rural Semianr in Ballyconnell.

Upcoming events! IPAV President Padraig Smith with Noel Corcoran, Bank Place, Tipperary Town at the Rural Seminar in Ballyconnell.

Following the very successful Rural Affairs Seminar held in the Slieve Russell Hotel on Tuesday, February 21, a second seminar will be held on Tuesday, 27 March in the Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow. Kevin Connolly of Teagasc and Gerry Gunning of the IFA will give an outline of the planned CAP reforms, Martin O’Mahony will update members on IPAV’s property portal and IPAV CEO Fintan McNamara will update members on current issues of interest.

At the Rural Seminar were (l – r): Keith Anderson, Donegal Town, Martin O’Reilly, Main St., Cavan and Ronald Duff, Ratoath, Co Meath.

Spring Issue | page 12

A section of the attendance at the Rural Seminar in Ballyconnell

Registration is at 6.30 with tea and coffee and the Seminar will commence at 7pm. IPAV’s next one-day Valuation Seminar will take place in Head Office on Saturday, March 31. Places are filling up quickly and if you wish to participate please email right away.

At the Rural Seminar in Co. Cavan were Mark Hyland (left), Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan and Eugene O’Dwyer, Virginia.

Has IPAV your correct e-mail address? IPAV has received a number of complaints that members are not receiving emails from Head Office. If you have recently changed your email address please alert as soon as possible. Contacting members by post is far more timeconsuming and costly than email and, in line with good environmental practice, it is IPAV’s aim to keep postal shots to a minimum. Thank you for your co-operation. The Staff at IPAV Head Office


IPAV Reaches New Education Agreement with LIT Holders of (IPAV) Certificate in Auctioneering and Estate Agency • Full-time – students will be expected to attend LIT for two days per week for the academic year. The timetable will be user friendly and take into consideration work commitments. • Part-time – in this scheme the course can be undertaken on a block release basis and will involve full time attendance for a period of two weeks three times a year – normally in October, March and May. • Delivery will be in IPAV offices or LIT subject to numbers applying and geographic location. The course will involve the study of two and a half modules (subjects) valued at twenty five credits. The final award will be made by LIT and will be IPAV accredited. The President of LIT, Dr Maria Hinfelaar

Holders of (IPAV) Diploma in Property Management and Valuation

It is now possible for holders of IPAV Education Awards to obtain a qualification that will comply with the proposed standard for obtaining a licence to practise from the Office of the Property Regulator.

In a further development, holders of this award who wish to obtain a degree award may apply to LIT for entry to the Final year of the Degree in Property Management. Work profile is an important aspect of this route and those who hold the Diploma and have work experience in the property sector may be eligible for entry to the final year.

Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) has a proven track record in the provision of courses for property professionals. In 2011, IPAV concluded an agreement with LIT whereby students could proceed to higher awards on completion of their studies. In a further development LIT recognises awards at Diploma level for entry to the final year of the Degree in Property Management. The circle is now complete.

This is a full time study and delivered on campus in LIT.

Enquiries: Anyone interested in pursuing the options above should contact either the IPAV office for referral or LIT directly. In the latter case the person to contact is James Collins, the Course Leader in LIT.

So what does it all mean? Under the current arrangement anyone who holds an IPAV Certificate in Auctioneering and Estate Agency can apply to LIT to undertake a short study course which will lead to the award of a Higher Certificate (Level 6 award) – the basic requirement of the Office of the Property Regulator. Flexibility is the key to delivery and anyone interested can undertake the study in a number of ways.

IPAV Office:


Phone: 061- 208860

Phone: 01 6785685

Spring Issue | page 13


AGM & Annual Convention

fri 27

sat 28



The President of Limerick Institute of Technology, Dr Maria Hinfelaar will be the Guest of Honour at IPAV’s Annual Convention which takes place in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday and Saturday, April 27 & 28.


sat 28

fri 27

Annual AGM & 12 tion 2ill0| Galway n e v n o C Salth

Saturday, Guest Hotel | of Honour Bay Dr Maria Hinf Galway Pre April 28 elaar, sident, 2.3

0pm Official McNamara, welcome by Fintan IPAV Chief Executive 2.35pm

Official chain to inco hand-over of ming Pres ident

Address by


2.40pm President

2.50pm Overview of Commer cial Property mar Speaker: ket Marie Gun ne, CBRE 3.2

The Mortgag 0pm e Market Speaker: Dara Deering


Update on Speaker: Martin O’M ahony

Standing out


from the com 5pm petition! Speaker: Susan Hay es



and Closing comments Fintan McN amara, CEO by , IPAV




5pm Convention Recepti (Seaview Lou on nge) 8.00pm

Convention Dinner (Ballyvaugh an)

Guest of Ho


r: Dr Maria Hinf elaar, President, Limerick Inst itute of Technolo gy

After -dinner

entertainm ent



Since her appo itute of Tech intment in nology developme 2004, Dr nt Technology of Limerick Institute Maria Hinfelaar has overs of the Year of Technology Guide, and 2008 . LIT was een significant at nearly 7,000 /09 in the prest igious Sund named Institute of students, is A native ay Times resulting in now the fourt Irish gover of the Netherlands, h largest IoT University Dr Hinfelaar which has nment appro in the count added 1,000 s val led for the ry. the succe grow furth student enrol integration er. of Tipperary ssful negotiations ments, two Institute into campuses LIT offers and LIT in 100 staff with over 60 cours and Huma the potential 2011, nities; The es at the forefront of to Built Rural Devel their field in the opment. LIT Environment; Scien where startce, Engineerin domains Art and Desig also boasts up thrivi busin g n; and ng Busin esses in Inform Enter access to acade ess mic expertise. high-potential indus prise Centre co-located ation Technology; tries are provi with Outside of LIT, ded with excel the campuses, Mid-West regioDr Hinfelaar is a proac lent facilities tive member and roads in Coun n of Ireland. She is of the Atlan a keen ty Clare and Limerick. She cyclist and can regul tic Way movement, In an interv promoting arly be is also a horse iew the -racing enthu seen pedalling along you live and with the Limerick Leade the siast. work and r she said::

I identify with

Guest Speaker

Marie Hunt


“Limerick is my base...... this place.”

Home is wher e

: Research

er at CBRE Marie Hunt is established an executive direc tor the is now regar research & consu of CBRE. Sixteen years ltanc ago, Marie information ded as one of the most y department at CBRE Irelan in the Irish authoritati d and North ve range of prope A regular media ern Irish mark sources of property which comm ets. areas of the rty market publication entator on prope CB rty matters, s and is Richard Surveyors Ireland (FSCSEllis research funct responsible for co-or Marie produces a ion. Marie I) and a mem Marie’s prese is a Fellow dinating and managing ber of the of the Socie Society of CBRE’s predi ntation will look at ty of Chart all Property Resea trends in the ction ered s for sectors for the rchers. the year ahead office, retail, indus commercial property threats and trial, secto . The prese opportunt ntation will investment, developmer in Ireland outlining influence in iies nt land and the Irish Repu to the real estate mark also focus on the hotel strengths, blic and North et in weaknesse s ern Ireland. the region and NAM A’s growing s, Dar

a Deering Banking, KBC– Executive Director and Head Bank Ireland of Retail plc.

Dara Deeri ng held the posit has joined KBC Bank Ireland from ion of Direc Finance. tor of EBS Retail Busin EBS where she most recen ess and CEO During her Team, Grou EBS Mortgage tly time with p Pricing ForumCredit Risk Committee, EBS she was a mem ber of the Group Risk Industry Feder. Prior to EBS, she held positions Rating Approval Executive Manageme ation. Committee nt with Comp Ms. Deering and uCare Ltd and the ConsChair of the European is Chair of the Irish truction Mortgage Mortgage Coun Feder Bachelor of Science Mana ation. She holds an cil and Executive ViceMBA from gement from President Smurfit (Ireland), Trinity Colle ge Dublin. Business School and a Mar

tin O’Maho

ny – Martin O’Ma IPAV. He a hony is a National Coun found Property Team er member of Propecil member and forme r President rty O’Mahony of Auctioneer Team and runs the Martin will wells in Goatstown update mem , Dublin 14. know firm, bers on IPAV’ s new prope rty portal, Susan Hay es – Motivat Susan Haye ion speaker s educationa is Managing Director l consultanc of y company, Hayes Culleton – a Susan was finan specialisin a g in eLearning. cial training and 2011. She finalist at Enterprise has a BSc in Europ Chartered Financial Math e Network Risin Financial Analy g Star s st (CFA) exam& Economics and passeAwards in Hayes of Finance s on the first d two of the Malta and Culleton is a client of attempt. Vecto media inclu Enterprise ding The Sund rVest. She regularly Ireland as “The Posit well contr ay as Time ibute a corporate ive affilia entreprene Economist” on mattes (Malta), RTE, News s to the national and talk urship and internation te rs relating finance. to economics, and Today FM (Irela al Says Susan: “ nd), as the stock mark And et, banking, allows a can-d still, I believe it is possib le to o attitu

when the tide

IPAV is working closely with LIT in establishing a strategic alliance for the delivery of a suitable programme for the training of auctioneers and estate agents under the new regulatory regime. This is a major step forward in IPAV’s education programme and Dr Hinfelaar’s presence is very timely.

Dr Hinfelaar is leading light in the progression of third level education in Munster and is at present very much involved in the efforts to establish a Munster Technological University which would see LIT, Cork Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology, Tralee amalgamate into one new university entity. She is also expert on business and was the first public sector Mid-Western Head of IBEC.

find many de, enabl changes. Yes, es you to spot opportunitithings to be positive about we are in a recess . Being positive es, even in a recess ion. Which mean s we are also ion, and to get ready for pre-boom!”

Saturday afternoon speakers at the Convention inlcude Marie Hunt, the well-known Head of Research at CR Richard Ellis, who will give an overview of the current state of the office, retail, industrial, investment, development land and hotels sectors and her predictions for the year ahead.

Also speaking will be Susan Hayes, an experienced and skilled financial trainer will talk to members about the challenges in making your business stand apart and the way to make progress in a challenging environment. Often dubbed “the positive economist”, Susan firmly believes that while we are in a recession, we are also now living a “pre-boom era” which offers its own opportunities. National Council member Martin O’Mahony will update members on the latest developments on our new property portal Onview. ie and will answer any questions from the floor. Only through the active support of all members can become the leading portal for property transactions in Ireland. The weekend will start off on the Friday afternoon of May 20th with the annual golf outing once again kindly sponsored by the Irish Examiner newspaper. This year the competition will be played on the impressive Galway Golf Club, which is close to the hotel, where Marguerite Stafford and her team will be on hand to meet and greet players. On Friday night there will be an informal get-together with a buffet and an opportunity to dance or just sing along with the entertainment. During the evening the golf prizes will be presented to the lucky winners. On Saturday morning the Annual General Meeting of IPAV will take place where a full report on the year’s activities and accounts will be presented. After lunch members will gather for the Convention itself. Members should note that the afternoon session of the Convention will carry 2 CPD points so all members are asked to bring their CPD cards with them to the Galway Bay Hotel. On Saturday evening members will gather for the traditional drinks reception where there will be an opportunity for photographs and to meet old friends and make new ones. The reception will be followed by the Convention Dinner with Guest Speaker Dr Hinfelaar. IPAV is keenly aware of the current economic situation and is determined to keep the cost to members as low as possible.

Guest of Honour

Dr Maria Hinfelaar, President, Limerick Institute of Technology Dr Maria Hinfelaar has overseen significant development of Limerick Institute of Technology since her appointment in 2004. LIT was named Institute of Technology of the Year 2008/09 in the prestigious Sunday Times University Guide, and at nearly 7,000 students, is now the fourth largest IoT in the country.

Dr Hinfelaar s led the successful negotiations resulting in Irish government approval for the integration of Tipperary Institute into LIT in 2011, which has added 1,000 student enrolments, two campuses and 100 staff with the potential to grow further. LIT offers over 60 courses at the forefront of their field in the domains of Art and Design; Business and Humanities; The Built Environment; Science, Engineering and Information Technology; Rural Development. LIT also boasts thriving Enterprise Centre colocated with the campuses, where start-up businesses in high-potential industries are provided with excellent facilities and access to academic expertise. She has led the LIT in securing substantial funding for access projects and teaching and learning innovations (HEA Strategic Innovation Fund, €7m) and for applied research in biotechnological science (Enterprise Ireland and EU funds, €20m since 2006). Outside of LIT, Dr Hinfelaar is a proactive member of the Atlantic Way movement, promoting the Mid-West region of Ireland. She is a keen cyclist and can regularly be seen pedalling along the roads in County Clare and Limerick. Dr. Hinfelaar is also a horse-racing enthusiast. In an interview with the Limerick Leader in 2009 she said: “Limerick is my base...... Home is where you live and work and I identify with this place.”

Spring Issue | page 14


Guest Speakers: Marie Hunt: Researcher at CBRE

fri 27

sat 28

AGM & Annual Convention

Marie Hunt is an executive director of CBRE. Sixteen years ago, Marie established the research & consultancy department at CBRE Ireland which is now regarded as one of the most authoritative sources of property information in the Irish and Northern Irish markets. A regular media commentator on property matters, Marie produces a range of property market publications and is responsible for co-ordinating and managing all areas of the CB Richard Ellis research function. Marie is a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (FSCSI) and a member of the Society of Property Researchers. Marie’s presentation will look at trends in the commercial property sector in Ireland outlining CBRE’s predictions for the office, retail, industrial, investment, development land and hotels sectors for the year ahead. The presentation will also focus on the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities in the real estate market and NAMA’s growing influence in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

Dara Deering – Executive Director and Head of Retail Banking, KBC Bank Ireland plc. Dara Deering has joined KBC Bank Ireland from EBS where she most recently held the position of Director of EBS Retail Business and CEO EBS Mortgage Finance.

During her time with EBS she was a member of the Executive Management Team, Group Credit Risk Committee, Group Risk Rating Approval Committee and Chair of the Pricing Forum. Prior to EBS, she held positions with CompuCare Ltd and the Construction Industry Federation.

Ms. Deering is Chair of the Irish Mortgage Council and Executive Vice-President (Ireland) of the European Mortgage Federation. She holds an MBA from Smurfit Business School and a Bachelor of Science Management from Trinity College Dublin.

Martin O’Mahony –

Martin O’Mahony is a National Council member and former President of IPAV. He is a founder member of Property Team and runs the well-know firm, Property Team O’Mahony Auctioneers in Goatstown, Dublin 14. Martin will update members on IPAV’s new property portal,

Susan Hayes – Motivation speaker

Susan Hayes is Managing Director of Hayes Culleton – a financial training and educational consultancy company, specialising in eLearning. Susan was a finalist at Enterprise Europe Network Rising Star Awards in 2011. She has a BSc in Financial Maths & Economics and passed two of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams on the first attempt. Hayes Culleton is a client of Enterprise Ireland as well as a corporate affiliate of Finance Malta and VectorVest. She regularly contributes to the national and international media including The Sunday Times (Malta), RTE, Newstalk and Today FM (Ireland), as “The Positive Economist” on matters relating to economics, the stock market, banking, entrepreneurship and finance.

Says Susan: “And still, I believe it is possible to find many things to be positive about. Being positive allows a can-do attitude, enables you to spot opportunities, even in a recession, and to get ready for when the tide changes. Yes, we are in a recession. Which means we are also pre-boom!” Spring Issue | page 15

AGM & Annual Convention

April fri 27

sat 28

AGM & Annual Convention 2012

Galway Bay Hotel

Galway Golf Club

Overlooking Galway Bay and the Clare Hills, Galway Bay Hotel is an award-winning 4 star hotel considered by many to be among the top hotels in the West of Ireland. Conveniently nestled along Salthill’s promenade, the luxury hotel is only a five minute drive from Galway City, while at the same time allowing for great ease of access for exploring Connemara and the Aran Islands. Galway Bay Hotel has 153 elegantly designed en-suite bedrooms including four executive suites with plush contemporary décor and interiors. The classical look and comfort of the bedrooms will ensure all guests are able to relax and unwind. The Lobster Pot Restaurant and Harvest Café offer a choice of carefully designed Á la Carte, Table d’hôte and Carvery menus along with luxurious surrounds to enjoy your meal. The hotel bar ‘An Scadan Caoch’ is cleverly designed with a traditional feel in mind. In addition to this, the hotel has a fully equipped and supervised Leisure Centre including a 15 metre heated swimming pool, sauna, steamroom, gymnasium and Calmer Waters Health and Beauty Salon.

Galway Golf Club has long been recognised as possessing one of the finest courses in the country. Indeed, in the year 2002, it once again played host to the Bulmer’s sponsored All-Ireland Cups and Shields finals.

Activities located nearby include golf, horse riding, cycling, walking, angling and visitor attractions. Galway’s famous promenade is just across the road and is ideal for scenic walks along the shores of Galway Bay.

This excellent parkland course is centrally located in Salthill, just three miles from Galway City Centre.It has a magnificent new clubhouse (with full catering facilities) which boasts panoramic views of Galway Bay and the Burren from its elevated site. The Club has a proud and distinguished history dating back to its inception in 1895. During this period the club has collected many honours and its members have represented the Club at the highest levels. Galway’s most famous golfing ambassadors are multiple Ryder Cup players, Christy O’Connor Snr. and Christy O’Connor Jnr., both of whom learned their golf around these parts.

Spring Issue | page 16

April fri 27

sat 28

AGM & Annual Convention

Clearing your corner in today’s marketplace “What sets you apart from the competition? How can your business differ from everybody else’s? These are two of the key questions which speaker Susan Hayes will address at IPAV’s Annual Convention in Galway on April 28th. Here she gives some useful advice.

“What sets you apart from the competition?” It must be one of the oldest clichés in business and yet one which many companies struggle to answer. How can hundreds of thousands of service providers that occupy the world of commerce all have “something different” to offer? Yet, each corporation, company, business and sole trader has its own organizational D.N.A. Creating your own personal brand isn’t about calling a meeting in the middle of a busy day to sit around and think about abstract concepts. It’s simply about highlighting reasons why previous customers have bought from you and why future ones will. I have been fortunate to travel a great deal on business and I have often heard the saying “one hotel room is the same as another”. Given that I’m a positive economist and business enthusiast, I like to notice how hotels differentiate themselves in an extremely crowded space. A fortnight ago, I was in three hotels in one week and I experienced much about how they did (and didn’t) “set themselves apart”. The first hotel took a very easy route. They put a name on something that all hotels do and promoted it as their own idea! They provided a hairdryer, a make-up mirror and a branded pack of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. (Do you know any four-star that doesn’t?) However, they branded themselves as the hotel with “the woman’s room”. It was quite an innovation, in my opinion, to appeal to that market of single female travellers or the female in a couple who might be making a booking, by using nothing extra other than imagination. The second hotel completely ignored a golden branding opportunity by simply turning a deaf ear to its customers. A thirty second visit to Tripadvisor told me that it provided a free shuttle bus to and from the airport. A similar visit to its website didn’t mention it. The marketing staff were completely missing the perfect tagline – “we come to the airport to bring you to our home”. As a very frequent business traveller, I always dream of just getting to my hotel room and settling down. It would invoke such a comfortable feeling to think that I wouldn’t have to drag luggage after me to get trains, taxis or buses!

Rules rewritten Finally, the third hotel completely rewrote the rules. They didn’t do stars. They didn’t do gyms and spas. They didn’t do restaurants. They did what they wanted to do. There was a self-service check-in and a capsule in the room for a toilet (and another for a shower). You adjusted the heat, T.V., shutters and alarm clock

with an aptly called “mood pad”. There was different shower gel for an early morning versus a late night out (so the bottles said!). The alarm clock did not ring but the lights bolted brightly in the room which made you jump out of bed with fright and incredulity before your brain asked you to roll over for a second sleep. The experience was full of surprises! Everything was different, full of fun and wonderful! So, do you need to “invent” your competitive advantage? Probably not – it’s more than likely staring right at you or shouting at you via your existing clientele. In order to “put words on” your competitive advantage, think about the following questions;

• Firstly, why did you set up your business and, secondly, in this field?

Why didn’t you choose to be an accountant or a doctor or an astronaut or a schoolteacher? Is it because a team of you got together and, combined, that you have over sixty years of experience? Could it be that you have a passion for bringing buyers and sellers cohesively and seamlessly together? Is it that you wanted to help people make one of the biggest decisions and purchases in their lives? Is it because you wanted to turn houses into homes?

Why have people bought from you, recommended you or referred you?

Is it because you have a policy of replying to each e-mail within the day? Is it because you are always accessible on your mobile? Is it because you know the process inside out and can save people time, stress and money? Is it because you call your customers each and every time there is a morsel of a development so that they are always kept in the loop?

What are your customers telling you?

Are they saying that it’s a pleasure to be able to pop in and see a friendly face? Are they impressed with your local knowledge and extensive network of contacts? Have they heard that you arranged a hassle-free transaction for an executor who wanted a quick sale?

In a highly competitive market, it’s crucially important to clear your own space and then warmly invite the people who want to know.

Spring Issue | page 17

Member Focus

Starting a business in the depths of a recession By Tim Ryan “This is the year to buy!” That is the motto of IPAV member, Jillian McGuirk who in September 2010, in the middle of the recession, decided to open up a new business in South Dublin with partner and longtime friend Sinead Beggan. McGuirk Beggan Property is steadily progressing even in difficult times and both partners see a bright future ahead when the upturn comes, as it inevitably will. But this Spring Jillian is taking a short break as she recently gave birth to a baby boy, Milo, a welcome companion for Jillian and her husband’s first child, Harry (3). But like Sinead, Jillian is passionate about property and will be back at her desk as soon as possible. Juggling family life with a busy career is a demanding job which she juggles as best she can. They each work a five day week and every second Saturday which helps to ease the burden. Turning a friendship into a business is not always that easy but Jillian and Sinead are well matched and provide much needed support.

bike accident in which one of his legs was badly damaged. She spent much of that first year back in Dublin helping him to recuperate which was a long and difficult process. Back in Dublin as a newly qualified graduate in 1999, Jillian’s first job as a young agent was with Lowe & Associates in Finglas. From there she moved to work with Sherry FitzGerald in June 2000 and worked in a number of locations including Templeogue, Terenure and Swords. Finally, she moved to Lucan where she worked for Sherry FitzGerald Lewis Beirne. “I spent seven happy years there and enjoyed every moment of it,” says Jillian. “I concentrated on selling and, of course, it was the middle of the boom and business was thriving. David Lewis was a terrific mentor and even today is always available at the end of a telephone to provide help and support.” The firm opened an office in Tallaght and Jillian, now an Associate Director, headed it up. However, the economic downturn had started and eventually the office was closed. Meanwhile, old school friend Sinead Beggan had also become an estate agent and was also an Associate Director at Sherry FitzGerald Lewis Beirne, heading up the Clonee office.

Out on our own “One day we were out walking and we started talking about going out on our own,” Jillian recalls. “Many people thought we were mad at the time but we went ahead anyway and opened up in September 2010 right in the middle of the recession. I think on the day we opened we had two houses for sale!” The location they chose with care. Both had good contacts in the area and they opted for No 192 Whitehall Road which, while outside of any village, is the only agency in the area. A lot of thought went into the logo and colours.

“It would be daunting to open up on your own,” says Jillian. “Having a partner for support in the business is terrific at critical times. You always have somebody to run a problem by or to provide support.”

IPAV Diploma A native Dubliner, Jillian grew up in Tallaght where she attended primary school. Later she attended secondary school at Sancta Maria College in Rathfarnham. A sister of Sinead Beggan’s, Louise, was in her class while Sinead herself was two years her junior. From there she went on to study auctioneering and estate agency at the Senior College, Dun Laoghaire where she was awarded the IPAV Diploma. From there she followed the well-established route to Glamorgan to complete her degree in a further two years of study. However, this was a particularly difficult time in Jillian’s life as shortly after arriving in Wales her father had a very bad motor

Spring Issue | page 18

“We wanted something feminine to reflect it was owned and run by women and we were very happy with the result,” she says. “You need a very strong brand. We learned that in Sherry FitzGerald and we put a lot of effort into it. You need to stand apart from the rest.” Jillian and Sinead handle all aspects of residential property, including sales, lettings, management and valuations but do not get involved in the commercial side at all. “We specialise in all aspects of residential properties and we believe we are very good at it and offer a first class service,” says Jillian. Much of their business comes from referrals and there are numerous references from satisfied clients on their website .

The Daily Show Luckily they knew a researcher on RTE’s Daily Show and the programme followed them as they set up and opened the business. The valuable TV profile brought them business and helped get them on their way. Useful help was also given by

Member Focus

Bobby Kerr jokes with a guest at the Networking evening Gerard Tannam, a well-known branding expert after they spoke to him on a Newstalk radio programme with George Hook. “We started getting calls from people down the country asking if we could handle a sale for them,” she says. “It was very nice of them to ring us but we have to confine ourselves to Dublin. Their area of interest is “anywhere on the southside” although they have occasionally handled northside deals. Both partners used their valuable experience to market the fledging agency, using the regular property portals and as well as the growing social media Twitter and Facebook. At present the lettings side of the business is helping them get through the recession. “Houses are selling but the prices are obviously reflecting the recession,” she says. “But I believe that if we are not at the bottom of the market right now we are very close to it. 2012 is the year to buy!”

Networking Evening...... Networking among the local community is regarded as key to the success of McGuirk Beggan Property. With this in mind rather than having an official opening, they organised a “Network Evening” on December 8 last year when some 40 local business people came and participated in a very informal atmosphere. Insomnia coffee CEO and RTE Dragon, Bobby Kerr, gave a talk on marketing a business and other entrepreneurs also contributed in what was a very enjoyable but useful evening. “A number of contacts were made between people and business was done across the floor,” says Jillian.

Bobby Kerr addresses the Networking evening at McGuirk Beggan Property Jillian believes that the measures contained in the Budget, including the reduction in Stamp Duty for investors and the continuation of mortgage interest relief for first-time buyers will be a help as the Spring unfolds. Both partners are very positive about the future and realise that the secret is to survive long enough to see the upturn. Outside of work Jillian likes to spend time with her husband Rory and son, Harry. “Rory does the cooking so at least that is one task off the list,” she says. For Christmas she got a present of a kindle, the e-book reader, and hopes to spend some time reading while minding her new baby. But taking a backseat is not in Jillian’s make-up and as soon as possible she will be back helping to grow the country’s newest estate agency in South Dublin.

operty Professional

an, Editor of the Pr A message from Tim Ry

Dear Member nal Auctioneers and the Institute of Professio of e zin ga ma de tra l is the n to you. The Property Professiona s of interest and concer d I wish it to contain item an e zin ga ma r you is It Valuers. two members in each l features at least one or na sio fes Pro ty per Pro As you are aware, the I am edition. featured in future issues. ers who might like to be mb me e of som list or a ng ess pili sin about their bu I am currently com an interesting story to tell h wit ers mb me in ted particularly interes hobbies, interests etc. or a related topic other activity e.g. sport, article on auctioneering an ute trib con to like er would I can help to edit it In addition, if any memb ly about the style etc. as du un rry wo t no Do it. receive I would be delighted to is there. ial ter n. ma sic once the ba auctioneering professio otographs relating to the ph old g hin 9 blis (12 pu V in IPA means post to And I am also interested ail them to me but by all em d an m y the n the sca as e condition My preference is that you y are returned in the sam 2 ) and I will ensure the blin Du St., ot gg Ba er Low r were received. with you an article please email ute trib con to or ed tur If you wish to be fea details. from you. I look forward to hearing Kind regards Tim

Spring Issue | page 19

Property Feature

Greece may be bust but is it still a good place to buy? Greece may be in meltdown, but it’s also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations - and the Greek islands, especially Chic Corfu, are some of the most desirable second-home locations in the Med, Peter Cluskey reminds us There’s rarely a day when Greece is not in the news and usually for all the wrong reasons: economic turmoil, pressure on the euro, unsustainable austerity. But perhaps we shouldn’t lose sight of the underlying value that’s going a-begging in the Greek property market - which not too long ago was a favourite playground of Hollywood stars and global business tycoons. Granted, what’s happening in Greece may be a little bit close to the bone for many Irish investors. After all, we can experience economic turmoil, pressure on the euro and unsustainable austerity by staying at home. But there is one key difference: when summer comes Greece will once again be bathed in warming sunshine and be one of the most desirable and popular holiday destinations on the planet. Here in Ireland … well, it will probably be raining. It certainly is raining – metaphorically at least – on the Greek property market at the moment. As the cradle of democracy experiences one of the worst crises in its history, property prices have been plunging – and are expected to keep falling for the foreseeable future, amid EU/IMF-driven tax increases, spending cuts and slashed pensions. Athens is battling on two fronts: with a budget deficit at 13 percent of GDP and with a national debt standing at 124.9 percent of GDP, the highest ratio in the EU. That’s been made worse over the years – despite EU accession in 1981 and joining the Eurozone in 2001 -by chronic overspending, habitual cooking of the public books and endemic tax fraud. Take a quick look, for instance, at the World Bank’s “Doing Business” survey at the end of 2010, which looks at how easy it is for international companies to function commercially in 183 different countries around the world.

Last of the 27 Remarkably, Greece came 109th out of 183 – last of the 27 countries in the EU, and last even of the advanced economies of

the OECD. You have to go up 30 points to find the next worst EU performer, Italy. Believe it or not, at 109, Greece ranked below such models of transparency and free enterprise as Egypt at 106, Zambia at 90, Rwanda at 67, and Kazakhstan at 63. As the Wall Street Journal observed, “A country has to work hard to score this poorly.” Within the survey’s 10 categories, the story was much the same. You’ll need 19 days and 15 separate steps to start a business in Greece, as against six days and six steps in the US. Filing taxes takes 224 hours a year in Greece but just 59 hours in Luxembourg, the EU’s wealthiest state. Greece’s best ranking is for … yes, you guessed it … closing a business. Things are going to get worse before they get better. According to Fitch Ratings there is likely to be a decline in property prices of at least 15 percent over the next two years as rising interest rates make it harder for borrowers to keep up with mortgage payments and first-time buyers find it almost impossible to get loans from the ailing banks. “It seems likely that increased arrears will begin to result in increased defaults during the coming year”, forecast Fitch analysts, Aksel Etingu and Peter Dossett. “We’re beginning to see that trend emerging in statistics showing that the proportion of loans not paid for more than three months rose to 2.7 percent in December from 0.9 percent a year earlier.”

Severe downturn Professional estate agents here in Ireland – no strangers to the impact of a market collapse – will shudder at the figures. Residential real estate transactions fell in number, volume and value. In Q2 2011, to take just one telling example, transaction numbers were down a whopping 39.1 percent on a year earlier. •

In Athens average house prices have fallen 6.7 percent year on year

In Thessaloniki – the second largest city – prices are down 4.7 percent over the same period

In other cities prices have dropped by an average of 3.5 percent

The average price of apartments is down 4.5 percent

Apartments five years old or more are down 5.5 percent

Newer apartment prices have experienced a 3 percent slump

Little surprise then that, in the midst of that unfortunate country’s economic hard times, Greek property has joined London (with this year’s Olympics) and Brazil (with the 2014 World Cup and a booming economy) at the top of the industry’s ‘Buy Now’ lists. Corfu form the water Spring Issue | page 20

Property Feature

Corfu – holiday home to the Rotchild and the Agnelli families Corfu is to Greece what Mallorca is to Spain – a highend property micro-market which exercises its own unique attraction and functions quite separately from the Greek domestic market on the mainland.

Corfu Town

‘Best Place to Buy’ “Greece – The Best Place to Buy in 2012”, trumpets one well-known property portal. Overseas investors are unlikely to look for value in Greece’s overcrowded and ramshackle cities, and they’d be right. Traditionally the holiday magnets for foreigners have been the Mediterranean islands – Crete to the south, Rhodes to the south-east, not far from the Turkish coast and chic Corfu in the Ionian Sea off the west coast and right at the border with Albania. It’s on these islands that you’ll find luxury holiday hideaways to rival anything on offer anywhere in the Med – and all a million miles away from the political upheaval in Athens. “Twenty years ago most of our work was building apartment blocks for local developers for holiday rentals”, says Spiros Aspiotis, who runs the Corfu Property Company with his English business partner, Roger Buckle. “But, while tourism has declined, foreign demand for second, or even principal, homes has increased. As a result, in the five years to 2007 land prices here doubled. Five years on, in 2012, who knows where we stand. Prices everywhere in the Med have fallen by 20 to 30 percent, so it’s a buyer’s market. On the other hand, it’s undoubtedly true that quality keeps its value.” On Rhodes, a brand new €100 million marina with a capacity for 350 yachts and a further 50 super yachts is expected to attract a further 20,000 visits to the island every year, at a time when the local economy could badly do with a boost. Onshore, two kilometres of fibre optic cable will connect the boats and their owners to satellites, cable TV, high-speed internet and international phone lines. There will be a landscaped promenade from the marina leading to a high-end village, with a five-star hotel, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, a bank, a conference centre, a gym and a spa with a swimming pool. The complex will also offer 16 VIP suites for yacht owners, available to rent. The clear message is that, at the luxury end of the property market, very little has changed. There’s plenty of money to spend on the right product. Recession? What recession?

And just as well. Because, while Corfu continues to see the same faithful fans from northern Europe arrive year after year at its bijou international airport to soak up the summer sun and enjoy the clear waters of the Med, mainland Greece is locked in a battle for the country’s very economic future.

Peter Mandelson – a fan of Corfu

Here though, it’s another world. Yes, property prices have fallen by between 20 and 30 percent, depending on the property, since the heady days of summer 2007. And yes, that is undoubtedly worrying if you’re trying to sell. But this remains a sought-after second-home destination. The first thing you should know - to avoid colonial-style confusion - is that the island is called “Kerkyra” in Greek and that’s the name used by the locals. It’s 64 km long and 32 km wide at its widest point, with 160 km of coastline full of natural harbours and shallow bays with unspoiled beaches. Its atmospheric capital, also Corfu, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. In terms of real estate, the most expensive properties are on the north-east coast around Saint Stefano, which is known affectionately as “Kensington-by-the-Sea”. For instance, a large swathe of land around his opulent turreted villa here is owned by Lord Nathaniel Rothschild, the Eton-educated former investment banker. This is where former Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, was staying in 2009 when he was criticized for accepting the hospitality of Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, on board the aluminium magnate’s luxury yacht, anchored locally. Among Rothschild’s neighbours are the Agnelli family, owners of Fiat, who have a luxury villa overlooking the ocean near the pretty fishing village of Kouloura, where several generations of the clan holiday every year. Even if this kind of social gossip doesn’t interest you remotely, it’s still good news – because with long-term neighbours like these, the value of your property investment is going to be secure, come hell, high water or the collapse of capitalism. The value on offer is pretty impressive, especially since the Greeks – like the Irish – are not culturally averse to a bit of good-humoured haggling. For instance, the Acharavi development is a new development of five detached houses just 50 metres from the beach of the same name. Each property is 90 square metres and has three bedrooms, two doubles upstairs and one single downstairs. Everything from wrought iron gates to an outdoor shower is in place, for an asking price of €178,000 … and nowadays “asking” is the operative word. And what about this for value: a six-bedroom 360-square-metre villa with air conditioning, a swimming pool and a games room, on 5,365 square metres of manicured gardens just 15 minutes from Corfu town has an asking price of €550,000 – reduced from its previous tag of €840,000. There’s plenty more where those came from and the prices are still heading downwards – for the moment

Spring Issue | page 21


Second house charge anomaly highlighted in Dáil Charlie Flanagan TD Thousands of home owners have been under a misapprehension about certain regulations regarding the second house charge, Laois/Offaly Fine Gael Deputy Charles Flanagan told the Dáil recently. People, he said, were led to believe this charge was a tax on second houses, holiday homes and investment properties of €200 per annum payable in 2009. The tax applied to non-full time residences and became due on 1 September 2009. “I make the case that thousands of people have not adequately registered or paid because they have been under a misapprehension as to whether there was a liability,” he said. “Interest is running and penalties have been imposed resulting in bills of many thousands of euro having been amassed by people who had no idea they were subject to the tax. The assumption was that anybody who had a principal private dwelling - being the home in which he or she ordinarily resided - would not be liable.” In his constituency he said many people bought their houses as first-time buyers. They got their mortgages and moved in but, owing to economic necessity, they have left the jurisdiction of the State and emigrated to Australia, Canada or the UK because they could not find employment in this country. In many cases the mortgage could not be paid and they entered into an arrangement to let the house. They may have engaged somebody in caretaking the house - to mind the house for them in order to pay the mortgage until the economic climate improved to allow them to return to friends and family in this country and resume residence within the jurisdiction of the State.

A high-handed approach Local authorities have in many respects adopted a high-handed approach by issuing letters informing people that they may or may not be liable when a strict reading of the legislation shows a certain liability, he said. “I am asking that a waiver of interest and penalties be provided by the Minister to facilitate those people suffering because of the anomalous situation,” he said. “The Consumers Association of Ireland recently adverted to the matter by stating that in Dublin alone there may be up to 7,000 such houses where people because of economic necessity had to leave the family home, many returning to live with their parents. They made arrangements for a rental income to be paid on the house which they used to pay the mortgage to keep the banks from repossessing the houses. I believe the local authorities should have notified the people as to the liability - if, indeed, there was a liability. It is neither fair nor just to adopt a high-handed approach.”

Spring Issue | page 22

I refer to media reports at the time the tax was imposed. Headlines indicated that owners of second homes had two days to pay the charge and that residential investors must pay the money. However, there was no reference to those who by economic necessity had to leave the jurisdiction of the State and I am now asking for certain clemency in that regard. In response the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan said it is the duty and responsibility of each homeowner to understand the law and be compliant with it.

Revenue base “The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, as amended, broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing a charge on non-principal private residences,” he said. “The charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties. The charge on non-principal private residences, since its introduction in 2009, has contributed some €205 million to the financing of vital local authority services, including fire and emergency services, maintenance and cleaning of streets, street lighting, planning and development services, public parks, libraries, open spaces and leisure facilities, etc.” Liability, he said, arises each year on a point-in-time basis, which is March 31 in each year. A number of exemptions from the charge are provided for in the Act, the most significant being where a property is an owner’s sole or main residence. The charge is on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for an owner of a residential property to assess whether there is a liability to pay the charge in the first instance. The Act places the charge on non-principal private residences under the care and management of the local authorities and application in particular circumstances is a matter for the relevant local authority. “Where a person owns a property in which he or she does not live and his or her sole or main residence is another property, there may be a liability for the non-principal private residence charge in respect of the property owned by the person, unless it is exempted under section 4 of the Act,” he said. “Interpretation of the legislation is ultimately a matter for legal advice.” However, he said he noted the Deputy’s comments on mounting arrears, owing to genuine reasons on the part of some homeowners who might not have considered themselves liable. “I will investigate his concerns and seek a reasonable and practical solution with local authorities,” he concluded. “We will see what we can do to ensure compliance with the law and collection of the charge in a way that does not bring about greater financial hardship on the individual.”

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Purchasing property with a small self administered pension scheme fund By Fergus Murphy What is a small self administered pension scheme? A small self administered pension scheme (SSAPS) is simply an occupational pension scheme in trust which is ‘self administered’ by the trustees and generally with less than twelve members to be considered by Revenue as ‘small’. One of the key requirements of Revenue approval for a SSAPS is that one of the trustees must be a pensioneer trustee who is an acceptable independent professional trustee. The pensioneer trustee can act as administrator for the scheme and they will have experience in setting up and dealing with SSAPS and act as co-signatory on all financial agreements. This arrangement ensures that the Revenue and Pensions Board requirements are met for SSAPS and that the scheme makes suitable investments. Apart from some restrictions the major advantage of an SSAPS to the employer and director is the freedom to directly control what the fund invests in and the ability to invest directly in property as well as indirectly through unit funds and investment companies. This freedom allows you to personally control the growth of your pension for retirement outside of an insured scheme where the trustees invest in a policy and not in the underlying fund assets. SSAPS are not to be confused with what some insurance companies promote as ‘self directed’ schemes which are personalised unit fund schemes run by an investment adviser appointed by the employer. As with other insured schemes these fund investments are legally owned by the life company and not by the trustees. From a financial perspective to the individual, a SSAPS can also be a very cost efficient way of planning for your retirement and in the event of a company failure the assets of the trust cannot be accessed by creditors.

any gain in value on disposal would not be liable to capital gains tax. The benefit of gearing in a situation like this cannot be ignored as the returns can be magnified helping you grow your fund exponentially as in the example below. In the past Irish investors and lenders have looked very favourably upon geared property investments but we must not forget that the risks are also increased and a decrease in value will have a converse effect on the net value in the table above. If you are interested in establishing a SSAS or transferring the value from a traditional insurance company plan to a SSAS you should contact a registered pensioneer trustee who will be able to advise you on the next steps to take. Fergus Murphy is Portfolio Administrator with Munster Pensioneer Trustees Ltd who are approved by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners as pensioneer trustees and are part of the O’Mahony Group.

Rules If you are investing in a property with an SSAPS there are some rules that must be observed. Firstly, the person selling or letting the property cannot be connected in any way to the SSAPS. The transaction for acquisition and any subsequent disposal must be at an arm’s length basis. This is the legal circumstance whereby the parties to a transaction are independent and on an equal footing. For example you can’t use your pension fund to buy a holiday home that you use personally. The purchase of overseas property will only be permitted where there are appropriate arrangements in place to enable the pensioneer trustee to maintain control of the asset to ensure that Revenue rules are complied with. Also, the scheme must have sufficient liquid investments to ensure that the requirement to provide benefits, including ill health and early retirement benefits can be fulfilled. This is particularly relevant if the only or main asset in the scheme is property. A one member SSAPS can borrow to invest directly in a property provided the scheme rules allow the trustees to borrow and that some conditions are met. The maximum loan term permitted is 15 years or normal retirement age (NRA) .The property purchased is the only collateral which can be given to a lender, the loan must be repaid capital and interest and it must be repaid in full by the directors NRA. The transfer of money into the trust will not result in a personal tax liability for the individual. In other words, a property could be purchased and the rental income would go directly to the scheme free from income tax for the individual and

Spring Issue | page 24

No gearing

With gearing

Investment Amount






Total Investment



5% Increase in value



Less Borrowing



Net value at year end



Member Focus

30 Years – a long time in anyone’s life. Celebrating a milestone, IPAV National Council member Pat Davitt reflects on 30 years in business in Castlepollard If you said to me in 1981 I would still be in the Auctioneering business in 2011 I probably would have laughed. Obviously, we all go into business for the long haul but some businesses just don’t make it. I believe the older the business the more chance it has of surviving, as it has historical and established relationships with clients. I notice now sons and daughters of clients are selling and buying through our office, which I believe is a great sign of the trust and integrity they have in my firm. Castlepollard has changed in those 30 years. We have many new residents, a population now of some 1250 residents, much new housing, a new Community College, (a lot swankier than the one I went to), new Co Council Buildings, a new Fire Station and many new shops. My neighbour on the Square when I started my business was Mr Michael Cooney who was in business there for 36 years and only retired 5 years ago and thankfully was able to come to our 30 year open day in Castlepollard in December. Shops are the heart of any town and Castlepollard has the lot – Chemists, Banks, Hotels, Builders Suppliers, Supermarkets, Garages and of course Auctioneers. If you asked me 30 years ago would I ever see Tesco in Castlepollard id say not in my lifetime – but there you go! The first 10 years of my business I spent a lot of time selling small cottages to Dublin clients wanting a holiday home for the weekends. It was all the rage at that time – before Irish people started investing further afield in places like Spain and indeed before Ryanair started making it more affordable for people to get there!

of the 1980’s. I remember the first house I sold – a little cottage outside Castlepollard for £5,000. This property has been sold many times since for as high as €247,000 but the value today is closer to €80,000. The first piece of land I let was for my relation the late Joe Gaynor. This piece of land made £105 per acre for meadow – today it’s more difficult to rent land for this purpose and it would now only achieve in the region of €50 per acre. In 1981 window displays were hugely important for the marketing of any property. Vendors were keen to have their property displayed in the Castlpollard office window but with the arrival of modern technology that all changed. In 1999 I opened a new office in Mullingar and in the same year I formed an association with Sherry FitzGerald the largest Auctioneers in the country, and now my company is called Sherry FitzGerald Davitt & Davitt. Over the years my colleagues have played a key role in helping me grow the business – from the help my sister Eilish gave me in the first year to the on-going hard work of the team of seven now employed in the company. My nephew Aidan Davitt joined me in 1994 and is now Managing Director of the firm. It’s great to let the next generation who have fresh ideas and enthusiasm take over and watch them grow and enjoy the business. Clients are also very important to any business and none more so than Auctioneering. I am still dealing with some of the same clients now as I did in the early years, and to all of them I say ‘Thanks’. Over those 30 years I have always and still love coming to work every day and I look forward to the challenges that the next 30 years will present!

Property prices have changed considerably as you would expect over that time even though they are now not far off the levels

Pictured at the University of Ulster, Coleraine graduation of Dr Eoghan Furey with a PhD in computing on December 20th last were: (l-r) Colm Furey, Director Sean Furey Ins Ltd.; Sean Furey, IPAV Council Member; Dr Eoghan Furey, IT consultant to Sean Furey Auctioneers & Sean Furey Insurances Ltd. and Dara Furey, IPAV member & Managing Director Sean Furey Insurances Ltd.

Pictured at the first Annual Dinner of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland in the Burlington Hotel on Thursday, February 2, were Ciara Murphy, CEO, SCSI and Fintan McNamara, CEO, IPAV.

Spring Issue | page 25

In the Dáil

In the Dáil……. The following is a selection of recent written Dáil replies to TDs on topics of interest to auctioneers and estate agents: Property Tax Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Lab. Dublin North-Central) asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, in formulating plans for the new property tax, whether allowances will be made available for those homeowners who paid large amounts of stamp duty during the property boom. Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): The Government has decided to establish an InterDepartmental expert Group to consider the structures and modalities for an equitable valuation based property tax. This Group will complete its work and make recommendations to me by the end April 2012. Following consideration of the Group’s recommendations, I will bring proposals to Government on the property tax as soon as possible. It will then be a matter for the Government to decide on the modalities of the property tax.

Household Charge Deputy Niall Collins (FF, Limerick) asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he intends to make up any shortfall that may emerge in the local Government fund between the estimated €160 million due to be collected in the household charge and the €164 million allocated by the Exchequer in 2011. Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): As part of the efforts to close the gap between income and expenditure in the public finances, the 2012 Exchequer allocation to local government was reduced in budget 2012 by €164 million compared to 2011. The introduction of the household charge in 2012 is therefore timely to allow local authorities to have the necessary resources to deliver services to their communities at close to existing levels in the coming year. It is estimated that there are some 1.6 million residential properties potentially liable for the household charge. As such, if collected in full, the household charge

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has the potential to raise €160 million annually. The household charge is framed on a self assessment basis at a point in time. It is a matter for those who own residential property liable to the charge to declare this and pay the charge by the due date, 31 March 2012. As an incentive to pay the self assessment charge, late payment fees and late payment interest apply, and any amounts due and unpaid remain as a charge against the property concerned. Such amounts will have to be discharged in the event of the sale or transfer of the property concerned. Over 68,000 properties have registered to pay the household charge from 1 to 31 January 2012. This represents some €6.8 million. The large number of people paying the charge is a clear indication of compliance with the legislation and an acceptance that the household charge is necessary to fund vital local services in our communities. Motor tax is also a source of funding to the local government fund. I am concerned at the high level of off-the-road vehicle declarations being made, and am conscious of the need to tighten the current system of declaring vehicles off the road. I intend to bring forward legislative proposals in the near future on this matter. I will be keeping the income being generated from the household charge under constant review and I and local authorities will take any necessary measures, as appropriate, in regard to compliance with the legislation.

Water meters Deputy Brian Stanley (SF, Laois/Offaly) asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government if he would outline in detail, county by county, the programme for the installation of water meters and the programme for the introduction of water charges. Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Fergus O’Dowd): The programme for Government provides for the introduction of a fair funding model to deliver clean

and reliable water. The memorandum of understanding with the EU, IMF and the ECB also contains commitments for the reform of water services delivery and operation and the introduction of domestic water charges. To meet these commitments, the Government intends initiating a universal water metering programme in advance of the introduction of water charges. This will facilitate moving to a charging system for domestic water users that is based on use above a free allowance as provided for in the programme for Government. A procurement strategy for the metering programme is being finalised and it is intended that procurement will be addressed at a national and regional level rather than county by county. On 16 January 2012, I commenced a public consultation on the Government’s proposals for reform of water services delivery including metering and water charges, seeking views from the public on the establishment of a public water utility and the introduction of water charges. The details of the consultation process can be found on my Department’s website and submissions can be made to my Department until 24 February 2012. Water meters do work. There is clear evidence from local authorities on how water meters in commercial premises and domestic households have led to significant reductions in consumption. The lowest amount of reduction in domestic consumption was 10% while group water schemes have reported reductions of up to 30% in their consumption. It is a significant reduction. The contracts will be prepared on the basis of splitting the country into 150 to 200 areas. The intention is to offer SMEs and smaller local businesses opportunities to get stuck in. As more than 2,000 jobs will be created, it will have an important impact on the community, as well as on the environment in terms of water conservation.

In the Dรกil

Planning issues: Deputy Seรกn Crowe (SF, Dublin South-West) asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government what legislation he was referring to when he indicated during the debate in Dรกil ร‰ireann that households would be exempt from planning permission when upgrading septic tanks in line with the Water Services Act 2011. Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Section 4 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 provides for the exemption of certain developments from planning requirements. Under the provisions of Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 2001 Planning Regulations, works consisting of, or incidental to, the carrying out of development in compliance with a notice under Section 12 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 are exempted development. Such notices are issued by local authorities in order to prevent or control pollution of waters, including pollution arising from on-site waste water treatment and disposal systems. I anticipate that works arising from the

implementation of the Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 will be treated similarly to those arising from notices issued under Section 12 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977. I have committed, during the consideration of the Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 by the Oireachtas, to examine what further amendments to the exempted development provisions of planning legislation will be necessary where remediation or upgrading of domestic waste water treatment systems arises from implementation of the inspection requirements of the new legislation. There is nothing in the Bill which would require a householder to purchase additional lands. Where a septic tank or other on-site waste water treatment system is found to be causing risk to human health or the environment, a decision regarding the remediation work to be carried out will be based not only on the exact nature of the failure in the tank or system and the extent of the risk to health and the environment but also on issues such as existing site size and hydrological and geological conditions. The most appropriate and cost-effective engineering solution available will inform the work to be specified in an advisory

notice. A key objective of the new legislation is to enhance and protect public health and the environment, including drinking water quality, on an on-going basis. The national inspection plan, which will be prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency, will target inspections to areas where the risks to human health and the environment arising from failing septic tanks and other on-site waste water treatment systems are greatest. The local authorities will be responsible for implementing the plan within their functional areas. The national inspection plan will be updated by the Agency at least once every five years, having regard to the outcomes of inspections and technical advancements in the area of waste water treatment. While the objective of the legislation is to identify treatment systems which may be causing risks to public health and the environment, and to ensure the removal of such risks, it is simply not possible to speculate whether or not there will continue to be treatment systems causing pollution once the new arrangements are in place.

IPAV members who participated in the Valuation Seminar held at 129 Lower Baggot St on Saturday, January 28 with lecturers Keith Craddock & Niall Brereton

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The last word

Education Policy - A Review By Peter Brady, Chairman, IPAV Education Advisory Committee While the country appears to be in a tailspin, it is no less true of education and all our public services at the moment. The desire to reduce the size of the public service and create an effective and efficient one is driven by simple statistics rather than any clear restructuring plan. It would appear that the Government is winging it in this area and no amount of spin can convince the public that it is otherwise. The debate about the public service will always be one inviting wide scale opinion as all citizens have some experience of it during their lives and this provides them with some expertise and authority to comment. The air is full of experts, commentators, special interest groups, pressure groups name it you will find a number of spokespersons filling the airwaves and the print media with their thoughts. It is a massive noise and can prevent clear thinking. Worse still, it can and does encourage a political approach to problem solving – one that is not always in the best interest of the people or the state. It serves only one purpose: to attain and retain power. Nevertheless, there is work to be done and, while the country is beset with unprecedented difficulties, there are opportunities for new thinking and approaches to old problems. If the problems are to be solved there must be some sense of hope and vision. Indeed, it is vision that drives change. At the moment one could argue that the vision that dominates the national psyche is one of a desolate wasteland. In IPAV we must challenge this bleak outlook.

The mechanism for this is Education. The Institute has a good reputation for educational provision and, while the property market is moribund at the moment, it would be foolish to withdraw or contemplate a downgrading of its role in education - a very important feature of professional activity. While universities and colleges are experiencing a drastic drop in the numbers of students applying for property courses, the Institute has managed to attract students to its part-time Certificate course in Dublin for the last number of years. Evidence - if it were needed - that there is demand Spring Issue | page 28

for information/knowledge and people will avail of opportunities to advance their understanding if they perceive that what is offered is of value. ......Which brings me back to the issues raised at the start of this ramble. If the economic collapse has taught people anything, it is that they are responsible for themselves. In a professional context the same is very true. The original decision to follow a particular course/career was probably made through contact with teachers, family, friends etc. The outcome was the decision to follow a particular course which led to a formal qualification and employment. The end of the road, so to speak. Or was it?

Redundancy Redundancy is a word that has a connotation in the context of employment and it is one that we are familiar with. However, it is also a word that can be applied to knowledge and information. The pace of change is so fast that sometimes we can be overpowered by it. In essence it means that the value of any information is time-bound. While this has always been the case, the pace of change in former decades made information and knowledge less time constrained. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries this is no longer the case. All we have to consider is our own experiences. For example, consider the significant changes in the application of technology to the mobile phone over the last few years. It is now possible to have your entire office operation on a cell phone. It appears that each new day brings with it so many changes that, at times, it is almost impossible to believe that any individual can keep up with it. It is, therefore, important to consider the concept of learning and realise that the term is in complete contrast to the idea often expressed in casual conversation when people speak of being educated at ... as if that was it forever.

Lifelong learning Today we talk about learning as being a lifelong experience. Such understanding runs counter to the notion that all education and training ends with school or college. Lifelong learning recognises that learning is a continuing process and takes place throughout one’s life in formal circumstances by attending school/college; it also takes place non formally – when skills and

knowledge are gained through work and finally, informally - when learning takes place through contact with family, friends etc The European Commission also considers lifelong learning as being about providing “second chances” to update basic skills and also offering learning opportunities at more advanced levels. All this means that formal systems of provision need to become much more open and flexible, so that such opportunities can truly be tailored to the needs of the learner, or indeed the potential learner. (Europa, 2003) Guided by this understanding, IPAV has fostered strong links with institutions to provide access to education for aspiring members and, in addition, cultivate routes by which they can attain their own personal ambitions.

Responsibility Professionals take responsibility for their own learning. The decision and responsibility is not necessarily their company’s responsibility. It is argued that professionals must take possession of the responsibility for their own development. It is difficult to contradict this statement when one considers that it is the individual who best knows his/her strengths, weaknesses and what skills and attributes need to be developed. It is the individual who knows his/her final destination – the one who has the vision of what some call your bigger self. There is no better time to consider your own personal and professional needs. Reflection is a good thing and too many of us were too busy in previous times to undertake it. Through reflection you can identify gaps in your own knowledge and skills and perhaps embark on a programme of personal and professional development. Time then to consider your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats (SWOT) and when you have completed this task why not contact IPAV to see how you can make up any identified deficits. It is worth noting that IPAV has a history of collaboration with Irish and UK Universities and Colleges for the delivery of professional awards. It is comfortable with such arrangements and seeks at all times to ensure access and delivery is as flexible and customer friendly as possible. Time to pick up the phone?

Start your day the Flahavan’s way! the new generatione of porridg

Flahavan’s has been milling oats in County Waterford for over 200 years and provides millions of Irish people with an energy packed healthy breakfast that is both delicious and nutritious and can be prepared in less than 11/2 minutes. A bowl of Flahavan’s every morning provides a nutrient-rich, low-fat and low calorie breakfast that is 100% natural delivered from the farm, to the mill, to your table and tastes simply delicious.

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