Free: Property Toolkit

Property Toolkit is a semi-automated model that allows prospective buyers to compare the pros and cons of the properties they are currently viewing, estimate the hidden costs of full ownership, and determine the bidding strategy for each property. I built it using Google Spreadsheets meaning once the key inputs are updated the tool does the rest.

What is Property Toolkit?

Property Toolkit is a semi-automated model. Once you add the key inputs such as your own financial details and estimates, the model would automatically calculate the rest. It allows you to perform an analysis with relative ease. You could then use it to keep track of different properties you are viewing, and/or to calculate how much would it cost to own that property. The tool would calculate the Irish Stamp Duty and price per sq.m, and also allow you to estimate legal fees, local property tax, future outgoings, etc.

The model is a free download built with Google Spreadsheet. You need to create a copy of the model, before editing it and adding your personal details. The data is stored on Google’s servers.

Use this spreadsheet to keep track of:

  • a list of the viewed properties or properties you’d like to bid on;
  • a rough estimation of the refurbishments (if any), white goods, furniture, etc;
  • an estimation of stamp duty & legal fees;
  • a price per sq meter;
  • an estimate of monthly outgoing (heating, management fees, taxes, insurance).

Key inputs

Fixed Costs. Those are the costs that are not linked to the final property price. You fill them once, and they’ll be used for all the properties in the spreadsheet. Use the rough estimates in this section and don’t overthink it!

  • Mortgage approved amount. First, go to the bank or to the mortgage broker, and then get a mortgage Approval In Principle. It’s an official document that would list how much money the bank would agree to lend.
  • Mortgage Insurance (per year). Simply request a couple of quotes online to get an estimate of mortgage insurance costs. Use your mortgage-approved value when requesting a quote.
  • House insurance (per year). Same, you could request a couple of quotes online to get an estimate. As an estimate for the house value, use the maximum allowed house value from the Approval in Principle.
  • Legal Fees. I was surprised to learn that legal fees, i.e. what the solicitor is charging for completing the deal, are largely independent of property prices.
  • Valuation. Banks would require a property to be evaluated before the drawdown of the mortgage. Some banks would cover the valuation fee entirely, others would require you to pay a flat fee for hiring a valuator from their panel.
  • Surveyor. You don’t have to hire a surveyor to buy a property in Ireland… but it’s highly recommended! It’s for a benefit of a buyer, not of a seller or of a bank, to get a property surveyed before the purchase. Surveyor’s costs are varied from company to company, and they don’t seem to depend on a property price. For a purpose of the Property Buyer’s Helper estimation, I’d recommend setting aside a flat sum such as 500-700-1000 euros
  • Appliances, Boiler, Heater, Flooring. If you are viewing a second-hand apartment, chances are you’ll need to change some appliances. If you are looking for a new build, then you’ll need to floor the house. For purpose of the Property Buyer’s Helper estimation, I recommend setting a flat cost per appliance, boiler, heater, or sq m of flooring needed.

Property-related data. Fill in the main table with the data related to the property you are currently viewing.

  • Link to the offer. It saves time when comparing the properties. Also, add a direct MyHome or Daft link, as they become non-available after property would become Sales Agreed.
  • Asking price. For your reference 🙂
  • Proposed bid. The model would use this field to calculate final costs.
  • Floor area. The model would use this field to calculate the estimated heating costs.
  • BER rating. The model would use this field to calculate the estimated heating costs.
  • Management fee. The yearly fee an owner of the property pays for the upkeep of the common areas. Set to 0 if not applicable for you.
  • How many appliances, boilers, heaters, or sq m of flooring to change? The model would use those inputs to calculate the approximate costs of refurbishing the property. Again, use the rough estimates rather than overthink the details.

Key outputs

Based on the data provided, the model would generate the following

  • Approximate heating costs. A very rough estimate based on the property’s BER multiplied by a floor area. BER (Building Energy Rating) is an indication of the energy performance of the property dwelling. BER rating shows how much energy is needed for space heating, water heating, ventilation, and lighting. As such, we could use it as an estimation of energy costs per year per property.
  • Approximate yearly fees. This is calculated by summing up all yearly outgoings, i.e. heating costs, mortgage and house insurance, property tax, and yearly management fees.
  • Stamp duty. Stamp duty is 1% of the property price.
  • Total: Legal fees. This is calculated by summing up stamp duty, solicitor fees, valuation, and surveyor fees.
  • Total: Entrance to the property costs. First, the model would calculate the costs of any required upgrades, by multiplying the number of appliances to the set costs, or by multiplying the sq m of flooring to the costs, etc. Then, it would sum any extra costs that you estimated such as costs of the furniture or a painting job.
  • Total Costs. Calculated by summing up everything: a proposed bid, legal fees, and entrance to the property.
  • How much of the deposit is needed? The model would deduct from a proposed bid your approved mortgage amount. This is how much money for a deal to go ahead (at least, on paper).
  • How much of the closing costs are needed? The model would sum up the legal fees and the entrance costs. Simply put, a buyer needs to cover legal fees before closing the deal. And, while some of the furniture could be bought later in the year, a buyer should be able to pay for any essentials that are required to enter into the property.
  • Price per sq m. This is calculated by diving the proposed bid to the floor area. This would allow comparing properties in different locations, and of different qualities.

I am hoping this free model would be useful for potential property buyers to buy the house of their dreams at a good price. If you use this model, please do comment below, or send a private message, with any feedback, questions, or feature requests!

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