Here’s our Derelict & Vacant Framework.

Derelict and vacant buildings, many of them homes already, provide an excellent opportunity to get our housing numbers pumped up.

Pick your button and register.

Read through the steps of our Derelict and Vacant Framework, then register at the appropriate button above.

An owner, a builder, an architect or an estate agent will act as the project initiator. Maybe a property is already listed for sale. Maybe a builder knows who owns something which is just sitting there. The owner or builder will lead the project and it is the project leader who will sell to home buyers.

Using our Guide for Design Professionals and Estate Agents (to be published shortly), an initial assessment is made.

  • – Is the property suitable as a residence / suitable for conversion?
  • – Is extension required? (Remember, Ireland has a demand now for all sizes of homes. Bigger is not always better.)
  • – Is planning permission required?
  • – Are “legals” reasonably straight forward? (Is the property registered in Land Registry or Registry of Deeds? If the latter, is mapping simple? Are there rights of way? are there other legal issues to be resolved, such as probate?)

If there is an owner amenable to selling, a design professional willing to sign up to our simple Design Professionals’ Framework and a PASS at this stage, then on to the next step.

The design professional prepares the basics of the plans for the project and engages with the Local Authority, if necessary, to ensure that plans are likely to be approved, should planning permission be required.

(If it is a very simple refurbishment project, there may be no need for a design professional’s input at all, but this special case will be rare.)

While the professional is preparing plans and renders, the owner (if the project is being led by them) or the incoming builder (if they are the lead) will have the project costed. This will be certified by the quantity surveyor.

If the owner is leading the project, they can proceed to the next step and engage a builder based on tender documents to be provided by the design professional and quantity surveyor in the normal fashion.

If the project is being led by a builder – perhaps they are purchasing the property from the owner in a private deal or via an estate agent – they won’t proceed to the next step until they are in contract to purchase, subject to conditions, such as obtaining planning permission and finding a buyer on Homebuyer’s Hero.

A third option is a “joint venture” between an owner and a builder. This would involve a profit share with protections for the builder and we are currently working through a framework for this potential structure.

Whichever option is being pursued above, the project proceeds to the next step when appropriate.

When the project is ready for marketing in accordance with our Guide for Design Professionals and Estate Agents, the property will be marketed on the Homebuyer’s Hero platform – showing it as it is now and as it is intended to be, with provisional BER certificate, renders, plans and crucially – complete transparency on costs.

Our platform requirements are such that there will be transparency as follows:

  • – The purchase price of the property as it is now (if builder led)
  • – Any design and planning fees
  • – The certified costings for the project from the quantity surveyor
  • – The builder’s / JV profit percentage
  • – Expected timelines for planning, if necessary
  • – Expected timelines for project completion

Simply – the market will speak – look for too much profit or too high a price for the property as it is now, or move too far outside of norms for refurbishment costs per unit of area – and the property will not sell. This framework enables properties to be brought back to life. It enables owners to maximise what they can get for a property without sitting on it forever and it enables small builders to chase opportunities in every town and village across the country.

We have a huge demand for property now and this platform takes the risk out of the project to the degree that the stakeholders can and will engage, as there is a viable route to completion.

The platform mechanics will be fully explored in seperate literature. However, the platform will not tolerate price gouging, gazumping or any other unfair practice. These will result in blacklisting of the stakeholders responsible. There are plenty of small home builders just looking for an opportunity to get to work sustainably. We can afford to discriminate and live up to our name – Homebuyer’s Hero.

Our technology which has been developed already to examine a buyer’s ability to purchase will be used to give confidence to stakeholders, without letting the vendors know the upper limits of the buyer’s capabilities.

Our platform can be used by estate agents (preferred) or by project leaders themselves.

When a buyer is found, the process proceeds to the next step.

If the project requires planning permission, it is applied for once a buyer connects to the project. In essence, their solid, legally binding demand and willingness to purchase brings the project forward at low risk for the project leader.

Our processes to be explored fully in other literature allow for the changes which might arise through the planning process. However, in accordance with our Design Professionals’ Framework, the planning process itself will have been derisked insofar as is practicable.

Once the planning permission is granted, or immediately if it is not required, the construction / refurbishment phase will commence.

At this point, the buyer is simply in a contract with the project leader (owner or builder) and the design professional is responsible for supervision and certification as per industry norms.

The home builder will start again on another property at step 1, eager to repeat the model of sustainable home provision.

It’s about RISK

Why are these properties not being renovated now? Well, a home builder would have to buy one, refurbish it and bring it to the market. How can we expect people to be able or willing to take financial risk like this? Lenders are looking to past results rather than national demand as a guide on whether to lend and on what terms. They are worried it won’t “stack up”. The home builders we need to see buying and renovating these homes are small businesses, unable to carry the burden of housing a nation.

OK, why are the owners not doing it? Maybe they don’t want to. Maybe they believe it is essentially worthless (because so many towns and villages are paradoxically in decline – it’s different in the cities) or that the government will eventually “do something” and they will have a windfall then. But for the most part, a vacant property is a traditional indicator that there is no demand. So why would the owner of another one take a financial risk? What if the numbers don’t “stack up” after one has spent a lot of cash on renovations?

Homebuyer’s Hero removes the main risk by allowing project promoters to market and secure buyers for properties before they do the renovation or even apply for planning permission, if needed. It makes bringing these properties to the market as close to “nothing to lose” as possible, for owners and builders.

Carrots and sticks are fine. In the past, Section 23 gave some stimulus and allowed rural towns and villages to regenerate on some level. Grants recently announced as coming for purchasers of vacant properties are not going to break the deadlock on a meaningful level, beyond creating some little buzz. The properties have to be “there” for buyers to see in the first place and that means we need to deal with risk, to overcome the inertia among our builders all around the country.

Re-ordering the sequence of events which traditionally brought properties to the market is key to restarting our broken property market and getting all the vacant properties in the country back in the game.