Smart Home Technology Pros and Cons

 

With each passing day, technology is advancing and adopting smart home technology is becoming a necessity in Ireland. In the past, a smart home was considered a luxury but today, it has grown to be an essential part of life. In this article, we are going to look at the pros and cons of smart home technology.

Pros

Convenience

The first advantage of smart home technology is convenience. Essentially, all systems within the home can be integrated, automated and customized to your needs. A smart home technology can enable you to interact with various electronic systems or gadgets. Whether you need to turn up the thermostat in the evening before you arrive home or monitoring security, smart home technology has got you covered.

Efficiency

The second advantage is efficiency. With a mobile app or a touch of a button, you are able to control various systems or gadgets in your house. With the help of a smart home technology, you are able to efficiently operate your home’s temperature, lighting, or other appliances with a single click from …

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4 Important Renovations to Increase the Value of your Home

 

If you are thinking about renovating your house, you need to begin by asking yourself if the project will add value to the property or not. There are many different quick and easy renovations which may change your home into an attractive, modern, and functional space. Even better, when you later sell the property, the return on investment will be really high. These are 4 renovations that will make your home more functional and modern. 

Bathroom renovations

Without a doubt, the your bathroom is one of the most important spaces in the home. When the bathroom is new, it can give off a good feeling of cleanliness. When you begin the process of renovating the home, ensure that the design is clean and that it has modern lines. Additionally, be sure to have grey and white colors at the center stage. Apart from a spacious shower, remember to paint the tiles, improve lighting, and install new fixtures. 

Kitchen remodeling

Kitchen renovation is one that adds the most value to your home since it transforms the space to a more …

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Why are investment funds buying up Irish Property?

Large-scale private rented sector (PRS) investors, sometimes called vulture or cuckoo funds, have rapidly become a major force in the Irish property market over the last few years.

As recently as 2017, these funds were a minor and insignificant part of the housing market. However, these firms have spent more than €6 billion buying Irish homes, apartment buildings, and commercial properties over the last three and a half years.

The cuckoo funds show no sign of slowing down in 2021, as they have spent €1.5 billion so far this year, according to recent figures from estate agents and property adviser JLL. Most of these funds are backed by international investors, and have quickly become big players in the market, particularly investing in deals for new apartments in Dublin.

But what is driving this relatively new and rapidly growing force in the market?

Analysts say that an influx of cash in European markets, lack of yields in traditional assets including bonds, and the huge surge in housing demand and high rent prices in Ireland have combined to create a very lucrative …

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Central Bank accused of unjust regulations on credit unions

Credit union chief executives have recently criticized the Central Bank’s regulations on the sector, calling them “excessive and unjustified”. After conducting research, a group of CEOs from credit unions across Ireland, chaired by Queen’s University Belfast professor Donal McKillop, have claimed that under the Central Bank’s current regulations, Irish credit unions are forced to set aside unjustifiably high levels of their capital into reserves, much higher than that of Irish and European banks.

Under the Central Bank’s current rules, credit unions must set aside a minimum of 10 percent of their total assets in reserves. This means that when a credit union member saves €100 with a credit union, the credit union must then put €10 in its reserves, if a member saves €1000, the credit union must put €100 in reserves, and so on. In its research paper, the Credit Union CEO Forum deemed these rates “excessive” and many credit unions have put limits on amount of savings they will accept from members, with some capping savings at just €10,000.

The CEO Forum’s paper states that these reserve capital …

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Will Ireland’s mortgage rates fall or rise after the pandemic?

Ireland’s high-interest rates have long been an issue. Although some financial and legal concerns will ensure that they remain above average, overall interest rates may and should be reduced. New and existing borrowers might save thousands of dollars in interest payments throughout their mortgage. This is especially true for existing borrowers who are already paying interest rates of 3 to 3.5 percent. Many people may convert to rates closer to 2%, saving them a lot of money throughout their loan. According to Brokers Ireland, Irish mortgage holders now pay more than twice what most of their competitors do.

The NTMA increased its borrowings for Ireland at negative interest rates for seven and ten years, keeping interest rates on international markets at historic lows. Still, borrowing costs in Ireland are always in line with those in the rest of the EU; mortgage rates are still generally low. Because of the present recession, interest rates have been maintained low. But how long can it go on? Is this a paradigm shift for us?

The following are the most crucial points: Maintain …

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Why are Mortgage Interest Rates so High in Ireland?

Recent reports from the Central Bank of Ireland indicate that mortgage holders in Ireland are still paying much higher interest rates as compared to most of their  neighbors in Europe. Therefore, why are people in Ireland paying high mortgage rates and is there a way to reduce it? Currently the  interest rate for a first-time buyer is at 2.79 percent, which means that it is now the highest in all of the 19 countries in Europe together with Greece. Despite the fact that the interest rates have dropped by 0.11 percent as compared to last year, they are still way more than what is being charged in other places in Europe where the average rate is as little as 1.31 percent. 

In a report by the Banking and Payment Federation of Ireland (BPFI), the mortgage for a first-time-buyer in Ireland is approximately €225,000. Basically, this means that someone who borrows this amount with the hopes of repaying it in 30 years ends up paying an extra of €167 per month and over €2,000 annually as compared to other countries …

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What will the Local Property Tax changes mean for you?

On 2 June 2021, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed the details of the Local Property Tax (LPT) changes. Once the changes go into effect on 1 November, the government estimates that just over a third (36 percent) of property owners will see an increase on their bill, just over half (53 percent) will see no change at all, and 11 percent will see their tax payments reduced.

First off, what is the Local Property Tax? The Local Property Tax was introduced in 2013, and it is an annual charge on all residential properties in the State. Basically, if you own a residential property, you will have to pay this tax. The charges are currently based on self-assessed valuations carried out in 2013. The amount you pay is based on the valuation of your property, and there are 20 different LPT bands, with the lowest two having fixed rate charges of €90 and €225. The problem with these valuations is that property prices have surged since 2013, while the valuations of property for LPT purposes have not changed since 1 May 2013. …

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Is state intervention required to stop ‘cuckoo’ funds from buying homes?

We spoke to Newstalk about the idea of whether the state needs to intervene to stop ‘cuckoo’ funds from buying up homes. This is because the sale of a housing estate became a national press story due to a fund coming in to buy it up.

It is understandable that people are upset, there are buyers who had set their hopes on living in those properties, but that emotion can’t eradicate the fact that renters are people too and they also need homes, family homes. Or that there are people who may not want to buy or can’t afford to who need family homes.

These things all need to be considered and it isn’t as simple as saying it’s universally good or bad, the clip will help to make this clear.

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Has Covid-19 Permanently Changed the Work Landscape?

The government says so. In a time where so many people in Ireland and across the globe have switched to remote working due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees alike have been forced to adapt. With more than a year of remote working under their belts, people have been able to observe the many benefits and drawbacks that come with remote working.

 

Now, the Government’s National Remote Work Strategy aims to encourage remote working after the pandemic. The government says its main objective is to “ensure remote work is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace” in the future.  In this strategy, the government breaks down what it believes to be the benefits and challenges that come with working remotely during a pandemic. There are several benefits, including improving work/life balance, more time spent with children and family, and reducing the amount of time spent commuting. However, there are several challenges, particularly when it comes to mental health of employees. In a virtual workspace,  employees  often experience feelings of isolation, loneliness, and stress. Another benefit is the …

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Are capital requirements for Irish banks too high?

In the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008, the European debt crisis, and the Irish banking crisis, in 2014 regulations were passed aimed at promoting higher banking standards to prevent similar crises in the future.

The first of these rules states that all Irish banks have initial starting capital of at least €5 million; they must always be in excess of this amount. Further, lenders have claimed that they must hold up to three times the capital for mortgages relative to average requirements throughout the rest of the EU.

These regulations largely seem to have accomplished the job they were instated, with the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) stating that there has been an increase in high quality loans and a corresponding decrease in problem loans.

However, there has been criticism as of late for the continued implementation of these rules, and for the harsh conditions they impose on lenders. It is possible that borrowers are also adversely affected by extension. For instance, it is claimed by major Irish banks that the high capital requirements are …

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