Couple from Louth buy run down cottage in Leitrim as priced out of local property market

A Dundalk couple whose price has been knocked off the local property market have bought a dilapidated cottage in the Leitrim countryside which they now plan to restore.

ara Tine and David Bellew will have to live in a mobile home for a few years, but aren’t discouraged as it means they will have their own home.

Tara, a well-known artist, musician and documentary filmmaker, shared the news of their purchase on her Youtube channel Ditch Witch.

While others might be intimidated by the condition of the cabin, which hasn’t been lived in for at least ten years, Tara is excited to restore it.

Having given up hope of finding an affordable home in their native Louth, the couple decided to broaden their horizons and started looking elsewhere for suitable properties.

“I was lucky enough to have a small inheritance when my father died, but it wasn’t enough to buy anything here in Co Louth,” says Tara. now we can access savings in the bank to help us remodel this house.

Like everyone who works in the creative industries, Tara says they resigned themselves to not being able to get a mortgage and got a loan from Credit Union instead.

When she needed to find another rental property, she decided it was time to look for a home they could call their own.

“I’ve lived at over 20 different addresses and it’s been so stressful. At one point I was what you would call the ‘hidden homeless’ as I had to go back to my mum’s house until so I can find another place I’m an adult and she has a right to her own space but so many people are forced to go home with their parents when they should be settling down and maybe to start a family.

“I have friends with kids who are renting and they’re really stressed out, not knowing where they’ll be living in the next twelve months.”

“I think it really hurts people’s mental health and a lot of people struggle because they don’t know what the future holds and it’s not because they haven’t worked hard enough or saved enough, but that’s how the real estate market disappeared.”

She remembers being unable to find a place to rent while living in Carlingford. “There were probably over a hundred empty houses, but I couldn’t find one to rent because they were all rented short-term.”

Airbnbs’ impact on the housing market has had a major impact on the housing market, especially in areas popular with tourists.

“Donegal was one of the areas I booked three or four years ago. It’s a lovely scenic part of the country, but now property prices have also risen.”

“Our next stop was Leitrim and I’m very excited about this chalet which we bought for less than you would pay for a site here in Louth.”

She acknowledges that it will take a lot of work before they can move in, but says they are happy to live in a mobile home until the house is ready.

“It’s on a great site and we’re incredibly lucky that it’s already hooked up to electricity. There are also outbuildings that we could develop in the future.”

She estimates that it was last inhabited about ten years ago and she expects them to live in the mobile home for at least two or three years.

The couple plan to be able to do some of the work themselves and Tara has already attended a workshop with author Mark Boyle, known as Moneyless Man, and hopes to practice some of the traditional building skills that she learned.

“There’s a great community of artists in Leitrim as well as people who live off the grid, so I’m delighted to be part of it.”

“Country life will suit me as I lived in the countryside for a time when I was growing up and I like peace and quiet.”

She hopes that the advent of telework will allow her to find work and she would like to be able to continue to make documentaries for independent radio stations like Dundalk FM.

Having completed a residency at An Tain Arts Center earlier in the year, she says she intends to keep in touch with “the wonderful community of creators in Dundalk”.

Buying the cottage and coming up with plans to redevelop it “took my brain,” she says.

“That way we know we don’t have to worry about renting or getting a mortgage.”

“Caring about housing has such an impact on people’s mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has rated moving as the most stressful thing a person can do, ahead of bereavement and divorce,” she says. problem, but the European Economic Bank is allowing this to happen, even though the WHO is aware of the damage this is causing, even to things like the birth rate.

“As a 35-year-old woman, I shouldn’t have to choose between having kids or not having kids because of a national housing crisis with no end in sight.”

She is happy that they took the initiative to find their own home in the midst of this crisis.

The first step in this exciting journey is to have the mobile home they purchased repaired so that it becomes a comfortable home until they move into the cottage.

“We are considering moving to Leitrim at the end of the summer. I will be terribly sad to leave Dundalk and I know Dave will as we have met so many great friends here who have been so supportive of us as creatives. However , it will give us a better life because we will not live with the fear of finding ourselves without anywhere to live.

“We’re just going to be two hours from Dundalk so I don’t see that as cutting ties. And I’m really looking forward to exploring the west of Ireland and a slower way of life.”

“We’re getting so far away from the stress of having to worry about paying for a house, a car, and a vacation on one income.”

While the housing shortage is a major factor in the housing crisis, she says the gap between minimum wage and living wage is also a big problem for people, especially on the east coast where house prices and rents are higher.

As they prepare to pack their bags and their two cats, she says she’s “leaving to explore new trenches” and promises to give regular updates on their progress on her Ditch Witch channel.

About Jermaine Chase

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