How an old house got a new lease on life

How an old house got a new lease on life

Daniel Murphy, right, with his fiance, Matthieu Nivaldo: As part of the Living City Initiative, Daniel received €32,000 in tax relief for renovating his home, 118 Lower Glanmire Road, Cork, which is more than a century old. Picture: Jim Coughlan

“Getting a free wedding” is how recently engaged Daniel Murphy described the €32,000 tax relief he is entitled to after renovating a 150 year old house on Lower Glanmire Road.

The substantial tax back was a happy surprise for Daniel Murphy when he set about renovating his recently purchased home back in 2015.

It was through his builder Daniel heard about the Living City Initiative that is helping upgrade the pre 1915 houses in the special regeneration areas of the city.

“I had already bought the house and I was just looking into renovating it when I heard about the scheme.

“It was a nice surprise. It allowed me to do a few extra bits that I hadn’t budgeted for.” The Living City Initiative is a tax incentive scheme that is helping to regenerate the inner city area by offering tax relief on renovations of properties over 100 years old in certain parts of the city.

Shandon, Blarney Street, MacCurtain Street, St Luke’s, Lower Glanmire Road, the Marsh, South Parish, Greenmount and some areas of Blackpool and Bandon Road are all included in the scheme.

Daniel, who is a civil engineer from Macroom, knew exactly what he wanted when he decided to move back to Cork after a few years in Sligo and Dublin.

“I never wanted a standard semi-detached house. I am a big fan of ‘Room to Improve’ and those types of programmes so I has a good idea of what I wanted.

“I wanted something with character.” A certain 150-year-old four bedroom, three story townhouse piqued Daniel’s interest the minute he saw it and he knew, even in the state it was in, that it was the home for him.

“It was a real mess when I first got it, but I knew what I wanted to do with it.” “I had been looking around Cork for a few months, I saw a few places, but it wasn’t what I had in mind.

Daniel's home on the Lower Glanmire Road. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Daniel's home on the Lower Glanmire Road. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

“I wanted to put in a nice open plan living room and I wanted to be sure to have enough space.” Daniel, who is originally an civil engineer, bought the house from NAMA, which took some time.

I had nine months from when I purchased the property to when I got the keys so I had plenty of time to plan ahead.” Using software, Daniel worked up technical drawings in his spare time and by the time he had access to his new property he was rearing to go.

“We hit the ground running. We were in the building in October 2015 and we were finished up Christmas week.

Speaking about the process of applying for the initiative, Daniel said it was an easy enough system.

“I was one of the first people to do the scheme so I was asking questions that no one knew the answer to, I suppose I was a bit of a guinea pig, but everyone at the City Council were very good and so helpful.” One thing that caused a bit of a headache was an extension on the house that was built in the 90’s.

Because it did not qualify for the initiative all costs had to be factored out of the spend that Daniel could claim tax relief on.

“It was a bit of a headache, but it was still worthwhile.” Since renovating his home, Daniel is delighted with the finished project: “I love it.” Daniel said a number of his friends have now looked into the scheme to see if they can buy a house in the area and do it up, just like he did.

“It has definitely gathered interest.,” Daniel said, “It is one thing to get money from a bank to buy a house, but the hard bit is getting money to do up a place.

“Banks seem to be slow to give loans for renovations at the moment.” Talking about the initiative, Daniel said he thought it was a great opportunity to get people back living in the city.

“For me I think there are too many offices going into the city. After say 5-6pm, there is nothing happening in town, it is dead. It would be great to have more people living in the city and this is a great way for that to happen.

Offering advice to anyone thinking about using the scheme, Daniel said: “Get in there early.

“Look into it and have it as a wildcard for meeting the bank.” Daniel also encouraged people to use the scheme before it expires. “It is only running until 2020, so if you are thinking about buying and renovating, now is the time.”

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