Wednesday 23 November 2011

House for Fashion Shoot

Sometimes, rustic and overgrown can be pleasing. Pleasing when a photographer is looking for a wild location to shoot some very glamorous ladies. Raheengraney House was the wild location for a full day’s fashion photography this month with Dermot Byrne, the IPPA Fashion Photographer 2011. Dermot, a cheeky Dublin chappie with a wry sense of humour, has also photographed such lovely ladies as Georgia Salpa and is not shy of tackling glamour and fashion.

The shoot was to take advantage of the overgrown gardens and general air of disarray and neglect that sadly characterizes Raheengraney in its unloved state, or rather its unlived-in state. It is still loved by its owner and the day was poignant for Jillian as the very neglect made for great photographs.

The reason? Well, the Wexford Camogie Intermediate and Senior women’s teams won the All Ireland final – for the second time this year. A great double whammy and so local business man, Patrick Doyle of Tom DoyleSupplies in Camolin decided to support the girls, celebrate their win, dress them up to the nines and raise much needed funds for the teams.

The result are striking images of the Wexford camogie team in glamorous outfits and high heels that are now being published in a fashion calendar, The Model County 2012, to help the teams raise funds for their club.

The challenge was for Dermot to be the author of these art-house pictures, showing the double All-Ireland champions looking as stylish as professional models – without a hurl in sight.

For the photoshoot, the girls were treated to professional make up by Kilkenny make up artist Yvonne Maher, hair by Martina Higgins of Unique Hair Design in Shillelagh and styled by Peig Donegan of Tresor boutique at Rathwood. “It was a chance for them to shine but in a different way to what they are used to, to glam up and they looked sensational,” says Peig.

The calendar can be purchased at Gala shops around County Wexford, Tom Doyle Supplies in Camolin and Rathwood and online at

Tuesday 11 October 2011

It is not Debt Forgiveness

By Jillian Godsil

Jillian at Raheengraney House.
Last night I was on RTE’s FrontLine with Pat Kenny. I was invited to participate in the audience as the programme was on negative equity, the property crash and what the banks and government were doing, or not doing in some cases.

As the programme moves very fast, I had to jump to my punch line and I think perhaps some viewers may have been less than sympathetic to my argument – which is seeking parity of risk and pain for banks and borrowers. However, if you will read on, I would quickly like to explain how I ended up in this situation of loosing my house and yet still being held responsible for the entire mortgage.

Some five years ago I was married and living in County Wicklow. My then husband and I had planned to run a guesthouse so we were living in a large 8 bedroom Georgian Manor House. The property was valued at one stage at €1.6million and we had a mortgage of some €800,000 on it.

However, divorce and the recession intervened and utterly changed my life. Had only one happened, then I might have survived, but the two together threw me into my present pecuniary situation.

We tried to sell the house, but the market began to slump. We got an offer of €1.1million in 2008 but that fell through. We received no more offers.

Three more things happened to derail my world. My now ex husband returned to the UK and became bankrupt giving all the debt to me. My own business, marketing, suffered terribly during this period and I could not afford to take a salary let alone make repayments. I moved out and moved tenants in. However, that was a chequered experience and when in January I lost my tenant, I realised I had to do something.

So I established the value of the house, some €500,000, and asked the bank to join with me in the sale. They said they needed an offer before they would talk to me. I made a video which went viral. In one week I got an offer, in two weeks the prospective buyer put down a deposit. He was a cash buyer.

However, the bank refused consent to sell three times. The reason being that the asking price did not match the mortgage. Then I realised that something was serious rotten in the state of Denmark.

Let’s go back to basics. The banks in this commerical transaction were the experts. They valued the house and using a sophisticated algorythim, came up with an amount they were happy to lend against my property. This is only the second house I have ever bought in Ireland. I was not the expert in the valuation, they were.

So, when that expert valuation turned out to be very wrong, how come they were protected from their professional assessment. Are not banks supposed to take risk in the lending, isn’t that why we pay interest on our loans?

I had put the guts of some €400,000 into that house and I stood to lose everything. I have moved out of the house, I rent elsewhere, I do not now have anything,. My life’s work and savings are gone.

The bank lent me €800,000 and looked to receive some €500,000 back, so they would only lose €300,000 on this business transaction. However, I had already paid interest over the years so the actual loose was even less than that. So, how could I lose everything and still have to be responsible for the remaining mortgage. Where is the risk for the banks?

Then in double whammy worthy of farce, as a tax payer, I am bailing out those financial institutions that will pursue me to the ends of the earth to repay a mortgage that they loaned to me based on a valuation that was wrong.

This is why I went on Front Line last night. I am not looking for anyone to forgive me my debt. I have lost everything I have worked for. I have paid very dearly for my mistake in taking out that loan. What have the banks paid? Where is their risk?

If I were a commerical developer, they would do a deal. Just because I am ordinary person they can wash their hands of all risk and consequences – instead penalising me for making a mistake, for the rest of my life and onto the heads of my children.

Monday 26 September 2011

It takes two to tango

Jillian Godsil. Picture:
Buying property with a friend can be a good option to get on the property ladder but planning the next step is essential, as Jillian Godsil, explains.

Buying with a friend is one way of jumping on the property band wagon without waiting for Mr or Miss Right to arrive. There are many reasons why it makes sense – pooling of financial resources, choosing to live in a nice area that you like, stop paying dead money to rent and moreover now taking advantage of the low prices available.

However, with all the excitement that comes with purchasing with a friend there are some markers that need to be addressed first.

The biggest issue is the exit clause. Today you are both excited about buying a house or flat together. You have loads of plans from the mad house warming party, on decorating the living room and building the barbie in the garden. But before you both sign on the dotted line, please take time to consider how you will leave the flat. Perhaps it might be because one of you will find a life partner or lose a job or move country, but there are many changes on your life that will affect your house ownership and you need to address it at the start.

I speak from personal experience as I bought with a pal in London back in 1989. London property was on a strong upward spiral and there was an artificial deadline for joint tax relief that ended in August. My friend and I availed of this tax break, bought before the deadline and then watched as the property market took a nose dive.

This was not important or so we thought. For the next two years we had a great life style, the flat was super, central to work, great for parties but also good for living. We loved Islington and all that it offered.

However, we did not think about what next step. As it happened I fell in love and emigrated to Australia. I could not take the flat with me, my friend could not buy me out, and I could not afford to pay the mortgage while in Australia. So, I found a flat mate who agreed to take my room and pay rent. As it was somewhat rushed, this new person was a friend of a friend and I didn’t really know him. It turned out to be a less than happy pairing and my poor friend now had to manage all the house plus share the house with someone that she did not get on with.

And so the flat went on the market and was sold six months later. Again my poor friend had to manage all this as I was sunning myself down under. In the end, we both lost money on the sale too, I had to borrow from my father, and my first foray into flat ownership ended less than spectacularly. A record I have repeated since!

But the hard part for my friend was that she had to deal with the unwanted flatmate, manage all the joint bills and finances and then sell the property all on her own. I stumped up the money to close out the mortgage but I would not get any brownie points for being away and leaving all the hard work to her.

So, when looking to purchase together, consider the exit plan! Or maybe just don’t buy a property with me!

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Houses Wanted!

After Jillian’s appearance on TV3’s The Morning Show (you can catch it here) The House Hunters have been approached by a number of people who have been for some time trying to find a house with specific requirements but without much success.

For this reason, we have created a new section called ‘Houses Wanted’ at where house hunters can post what type of property they are looking for, where, price range … so potential sellers with a matching property can get in touch.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Crap house, Great view

Trying to ‘sell’ a house or property by making it sound better than it is, airbrushing details and employing other ‘make up’ tools are a waste of time, in our opinion.

By any means, highlight the best features of the property but acknowledge if there is something obviously wrong with the property.

Honesty, in the long run, will save you hassle and time: why create false expectations and waste your time with the wrong candidates? You might get a big number of viewings but, at the end of the day, you only need one buyer: the right one for the place.

And this seems to be the motto of this Australian guy trying to find a flat mate. We just love the wit and honesty of his ad posted on Sydney’s Gumtree earlier this month: ‘Crap house. Great location and view.’ No beating around the bush!

Tuesday 16 August 2011

5 Irish beaches in the movies

Inch Strand, Co. Kerry
Since the 1930s, the Irish coast has attracted internationally acclaimed directors to shoot some famous movie scenes. Here’s our pick of 5 Irish stunning beaches that have made it to the film screens.

-Curracloe Strand, County Wexford
Curracloe strand posed as WWII Normandy for the epic opening D-Day scenes of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning blockbuster ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998).

-Inch Strand, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
Recently visited by House Hunter Shane, Inch Strand was one of the film locations for 1970 classic Ryan’s Daughter, along with Coumeenoole Strand. Inch Strand had already tasted some movie fame, since it had also featured in 1963’s comedy Playboy of the Western World.

- Inis Mór, Aran Islands, County Galway
The Aran Islands were selected by pioneer documentary film maker Robert J. Flaherty not just as the location but the inspiration and central topic of his 1934 fictional documentary Man of Aran. The film (which was more docu-fiction than strict documentary) was shot in Inis Mór and recreated the daily struggles of the islanders.

-Brittas Bay, County Wicklow
Brittas Bay, just north of Arklow, is a popular holiday spot for Dubliners but it was famously used for the filming The Count of Monte Cristo. The movie, released in 2002, also featured other County Wicklow beaches: Silver Strand and Blainroe Beach.

-Tully Strand, Connemara, County Galway
While a great part of the movie was filmed in County Mayo, Tully Strand and Lettergesh Beach, in Connemara, were both chosen as film locations for Oscar-winning classic The Quiet Man. The 1952 film won John Ford and Academy Award for Best Director.

If you know about more Irish beaches in the movies, let us know!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Need Help Selling or Finding a Property?

Shane from Down Under and Jillian from Raheengraney, aka The House Hunters, would like to help other home owners promote their properties using the power of video, PR and online word-of-mouth. 

We want to know what makes your house special and help you share your story. We want to help capture the essence of each house; because it is not just bricks and mortar, it is a home.

This is Shane:

and this is Jillian: