• Going Rural: How Buying a House with Land Can Improve Your Lifestyle
    Posted on 30 June 2023

    Going Rural: How Buying a House with Land Can Improve Your Lifestyle

    The Allure of the Countryside

    Choosing to leave the city's commotion behind and immerse oneself in the tranquillity of rural life is a choice that many are finding increasingly appealing. The attraction of the countryside is not simply its picturesque landscapes, but also the prospect of a lifestyle more attuned with nature.

    In 2018, about 670,000 people lived in the countryside of Northern Ireland, which was 37% of the population, and this figure is likely to have grown in recent years.

    Buying More Than Just a Property

    An image of a rural countryside house

    We understand that choosing to live in the countryside is not merely a geographical decision; it's a lifestyle choice. Picture a dwelling nestled within sprawling acres, offering you the serenity of nature's sounds rather than the nonstop clamour of city life.

    Living in rural Northern Ireland isn't just a lifestyle choice; it's a smart financial decision too. With the median weekly income for rural dwellers at £409, compared to the urban average of £373.

    This difference showcases the potential financial benefits of a rural lifestyle, alongside the well-documented qualitative advantages.

    Practical Considerations: Planning and Building

    An image of architecture plans

    Embarking on a rural property journey requires an understanding of planning permissions associated with such lands.

    It is important to effectively navigate the complex interactions with planning authorities and committees to ensure a smooth property transition.

    Being aware of building control applications, understanding the roles and responsibilities of planning officers, and familiarising oneself with the different stages of a building project are all fundamental.

    In terms of pricing, the rural property market offers attractive options. The average house price in rural areas more than an hour away from Belfast is slightly over £145,000 which, whilst slightly higher than the urban average..

    Amenities and Services

    An image of the seaside with a moving train

    While the allure of rural tranquillity is significant, it is important to consider the practicalities of day-to-day living. Facilities often taken for granted in urban settings, such as robust public transport networks and reliable mobile coverage, may not be as accessible in rural environments.

    In Northern Ireland, rural residents tend to have slightly longer commutes, averaging 1,400 miles annually, compared to their urban counterparts who commute around 1,080 miles each year.

    This consideration is an essential part of the decision-making process when contemplating a move to the countryside.

    Embracing Rural Life in Northern Ireland: Active Participation and Integration

    An image of a father and son enjoying the outdoors
    Transitioning to rural living is more than simply adapting to a new environment; it involves becoming an integral part of a tightly-knit community that values mutual support and collaboration.

    Northern Ireland offers a rich tapestry of opportunities for newcomers to contribute and integrate into their new communities.

    Active participation and contribution are the keystones of rural life, involving not only personal growth but also enhancing the development of the community. By shaping your environment, you are actively promoting its growth and evolution.

    A plethora of opportunities await those eager to get involved. Participation can range from attending community events to supporting local businesses, or joining clubs and organisations that align with your interests.

    For those passionate about the environment, sustainable living practices offer a chance to lead and make a difference.

    Volunteer work is another invaluable avenue of involvement. Assisting in the upkeep of community facilities or supporting local schools can create a substantial impact.

    Involvement in local governance or neighbourhood watch schemes contributes to community development and security.

    Community initiatives such as the Community Ownership Fund provide a platform for residents to govern their local assets and services.

    Additionally, new businesses can act as a crucial element in the fabric of social interactions, fostering a strong sense of community spirit and belonging.

    Embracing a New Way of Life

    Opting to purchase a property in the countryside transcends a typical real estate decision; it's an investment in a new lifestyle. This choice signifies a commitment to the rhythms of rural living and a willingness to partake in the close-knit communities that embody the charm of the countryside.

    From guiding you through the complexities of planning permissions to providing insights into the communities and areas you are looking to move to, we will accompany you throughout.

    Contact one of our team today to find out more about the amazing rural properties we are currently listing. 
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  • The Perks of Country Living
    Posted on 21 June 2023

    The Perks of Country Living

    Moving to the country from urban areas may seem like a big change. Certain aspects and convenience of city living are something that can’t really be replicated as you head to more rural areas.

    However, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a spike in people looking to move to the countryside, and with the shift in allowing flexible and hybrid working models, this has meant that the move out of the city for some is an extremely attractive option.

    In this blog, we will explore the benefits that country living brings.

    Lower Upfront Costs for Spacious Properties

    An image of a spacious room
    Common across most of the United Kingdom, but especially in Northern Ireland you generally get more for your money when it comes to spacious properties in the countryside.

    Although it is hard to gauge this to a metric, houses and apartments in Belfast would cost more than an equivalent in a rural Northern Irish council.

    For example, a detached house in the Titanic quarter of Belfast in 2022 cost an average of £340,706*, whereas a detached house in Mid-Ulster fetched £229,595*.

    *Data taken from PropertyPal.com

    Escape the Stress of the City

    An image of a busy street

    In comparison with the city, the countryside offers an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle and unwind.

    With 24-hour traffic, busy restaurants, shops and offices and constant construction developments, the countryside is perfect for people trying to escape this.

    If you are looking to unwind in a quiet and calming environment, then a move to the country could be for you.

    Additionally, a report by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in 2021 found that people who live in rural areas are happier and live longer on average than those who live in towns and cities.

    Cleaner Air

    An image of countryside fields

    As well as noise pollution, the city suffers from air pollution. Fumes from vehicles, industrial emissions, and urban congestion affect air quality.

    The air quality index of cities like Belfast is higher than rural towns and cities in Northern Ireland.

    Shop Local

    An image of local grown vegetables

    Living in rural areas means that you will find that there is a bigger concentration of smaller and in some cases independent shops.

    These shops are often stocked with locally sourced ingredients, items and crafts produced by local smaller businesses, supporting the local economy.
    Not only will you benefit from top-quality products, but you may also find that it is cheaper and you are getting more for your money from these businesses.

    Outdoor Pursuits

    An image of a family enjoying an outdoor bike ride

    Whilst there is an abundance of activities and sports available through sports clubs and organisations in the city, the countryside offers an environment that the city is unable to replicate.

    The diverse and picturesque landscape of Northern Ireland means it is ideal for activities like hiking, cycling, fishing and general exploration.

    Close Knit Community

    The fast-paced nature, as well as the large rental market in the city, means that there is a constant change of tenants that are on short rental terms, as well as couples and young families deciding to upsize.

    This means that there is less chance of a community being built up, something that is very present in the countryside.

    With many people settling in smaller towns and villages for the long term, rural communities are extremely welcoming, take pride in preserving their area and provide support networks for fellow residents.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Lower upfront costs: Spacious properties in the countryside of Northern Ireland generally offer better value for money compared to their city counterparts.
    • Escape from city stress: The countryside provides an opportunity to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.
    • Cleaner air: The countryside boasts cleaner air compared to cities, where air pollution from vehicles and industrial emissions is more prevalent.
    • Local shopping: Rural areas offer a greater concentration of local and independent shops, supporting the local economy and providing access to high-quality produce.
    • Outdoor pursuits: The diverse and picturesque landscape of Northern Ireland's countryside provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, and exploration.
    • Close-knit community: Rural communities tend to be more tight-knit, with long-term residents who take pride in their area and offer support networks to their fellow residents.
    Thinking of moving to the countryside? Find all of our current listings by following this link, and if you have any questions contact one of our team today.
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  • John Minnis celebrates a year of success in Bangor
    Posted on 8 June 2023

    John Minnis celebrates a year of success in Bangor

    Leading Northern Irish estate agent, John Minnis, is celebrating a strong record of success in the 12 months since establishing its Bangor branch.

    Since opening in summer 2022, the Bangor branch, beside Heatherlea Bakery, has become one of the most popular estate agents in the area.

    Commenting on a successful year, John Minnis, Company Director, said:

    “There was never any doubt that Bangor would be a prime location for our next branch, and we are thrilled at the warm welcome that we have received since opening.

    “The news that Bangor had received City status coinciding with the opening of our new branch, along with the added bonus of a £73million investment into the city’s coastline, means we are seeing a surge in the number of people that want to purchase property here.

    “Bangor’s great schools, fantastic infrastructure, and up and coming restaurant scene means that it is a very desirable location for a wide range people.

    “This has been reflected in our business performance, which saw 2022 finish on a high, and we have seen these strong levels of activity continue throughout the first half of 2023.”

    Following the opening of its doors, John Minnis was quickly chosen as the exclusive Guild of Property Professionals member for the area, showcasing its expertise and knowledge of the property industry.

    John continued:

    “We pride ourselves on our commitment to the communities in which we operate, and with the resurgence of independent, locally owned businesses in Bangor, we are excited to play our part in the
    transformation of this wonderful City.

    “We are proud sponsors of Castle Bowling Club in Ward Park along with the National Garden Scheme, and also enjoy taking part in the annual Bangor by the Sea festival each year.

    “Our values of embracing change and doing business differently to give our clients the edge resonates with the people of Bangor and coupled with our excellent customer service and superb team, we have no doubt that the future is bright for John Minnis.”

    John Minnis specialises in residential sales and lettings, property management, new developments, land consultations, and valuations, with additional branches in Comber, Donaghadee, East Belfast, and Holywood.

    To contact the John Minnis Bangor office, please call 028 9131 3833
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  • Copy of Investing in Northern Ireland's Coastal Properties: Opportunities and Challenges
    Posted on 30 May 2023

    Copy of Investing in Northern Ireland's Coastal Properties: Opportunities and Challenges

    In this post, we will provide a balanced assessment, exploring the opportunities and challenges that await those considering an investment in Northern Ireland's coastal properties.

    Northern Ireland Coastal Living

    Northern Ireland's coastline stretches over 200 miles, punctuated by breathtaking cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and charming seaside towns.

    Towns such as Portrush, Bangor, and Ballycastle offer unique combinations of natural beauty and community spirit that are typical of Northern Irish coastal living.

    Property investment in these areas isn't just a financial decision but an opportunity to embrace a lifestyle that's deeply connected with the natural environment.


    Natural Beauty and Scenic Views:

    An image of a scenic coastal front

    One of the most appealing aspects of investing in coastal properties is the stunning views on offer.

    The region boasts an abundance of stunning landscapes, where the rugged coastline meets the majestic expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Owning a coastal property allows you to immerse yourself in the serenity and tranquillity that the coastal environment offers.

    Outdoor Recreational Activities:

    An image of someone running on the beach

    Coastal living also means easy access to a host of outdoor recreational activities.

    The Northern Irish coastline meets the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Irish Sea, which brings with it opportunities to engage in a host of water-based adventures and sports

    These activities can range from fast-paced water sports like surfing, swimming and paddle boarding to the tranquil activities of fishing and exploring the stunning coastline.

    Potential for Rental Income:

    Owning a rental property as a second home or part of a portfolio brings the potential for rental income.

    With many seeking coastal getaways within the British Isles, coastal properties can tap into the thriving holiday rental market.

    It is important to note that owning a rental property requires fulfilling legal requirements, as well as a lot of time and effort to maintain for guests, but it can provide an excellent opportunity for generating income.

    Healthy Living Environment:

    In addition to its visual allure, the coastal environment often promises healthier living.

    The clean sea air found in coastal areas offers a range of health benefits due to its composition of iodine, salt, and magnesium.

    Breathing in this coastal air can have positive effects on respiratory health, including alleviating asthma symptoms, promoting overall respiratory well-being,
    improving allergies and skin conditions, and boosting the immune system.

    In addition to this, coastal areas offer easy access to trails and parks can contribute significantly to physical well-being.


    Higher Purchase Costs:

    The unique benefits of coastal properties make them highly sought after by homebuyers. And with highly sought-after properties, this can impact their price.

    The combination of natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and the allure of a coastal lifestyle contributes to the desirability of these properties.

    However, it is important to consider that property prices can fluctuate based on market conditions and external factors.

    Climate Change:

    Coastal properties can be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and coastal erosion and an increase in stormy conditions. .

    Rising sea levels have meant that coastal areas are becoming more susceptible to flooding and erosion.

    Depending on the location of a property, this means that some houses have become a higher risk, with long-term value dropping, and risk increasing.

    Maintenance and Repairs:

    An image of property renovations

    Proximity to the sea can lead to accelerated wear and tear on buildings due to salt water, humidity and harsh weather conditions.

    Exterior surfaces, such as metal fittings, windows and paintwork are particularly vulnerable to this, with regular inspections and repairs required to maintain the
    the structural and aesthetic integrity of coastal properties.

    Limited Availability and Competition:

    The limited availability of coastal properties often leads to increased competition among potential buyers.

    As a result, buyers may need to act quickly and make competitive offers to secure a desired coastal property.
    This competitive environment can drive up prices and make it more challenging for buyers to find affordable options or negotiate favourable terms.


    Investing in coastal properties in Northern Ireland offers a unique blend of opportunities and challenges. It's an invitation to embrace a lifestyle marked by natural beauty, vibrant outdoor activities, and potential financial benefits.

    However, it's essential to understand the accompanying challenges, which can range from higher purchase costs and maintenance needs to environmental considerations.

    It's crucial to evaluate each property on its own merits, take into account your own financial situation, and seek professional advice before making the leap.

    Staying informed about the economic landscape, funding allocations, and foreign direct investment trends can provide valuable insights for investors exploring Northern Ireland's coastal property market.

    To find out more about coastal living in Northern Ireland, or to see our latest coastal properties for sale, contact John Minnis today.
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  • Clandeboye Estate to open expansive private gardens to the public
    Posted on 25 May 2023

    Clandeboye Estate to open expansive private gardens to the public

    The historic Clandeboye Estate is set to open its expansive gardens to the public this weekend (27th and 28th May) as part of the 2023 National Garden Scheme, sponsored by local estate agents John Minnis.

    Members of the public have been invited to visit the estate’s beautiful private gardens including the delightful Bee Garden, the Chapel Walk and the intimate Conservatory Garden.

    Tickets for this event are mandatory and are available to purchase online via the National Garden Scheme website, with sales supporting a range of charities including Macmillan, Marie Curie, Parkinson’s UK and Hospice UK.  

    Trevor Edwards, Area Organiser, National Garden Scheme Northern Ireland commented:
    “Clandeboye Estate is one of Northern Ireland’s great private estates, and it is wonderful to be able to offer members of the public the opportunity to explore its variety of spectacular private gardens whilst supporting some very worthy charitable causes.

    “Partnering with exceptional venues such as Clandeboye Estate is a huge privilege, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors to our open day event this weekend.”

    In addition to Clandeboye Estate, the National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to over 3,500 private gardens in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Guernsey, including Old Balloo
    House and Barn in Killinchy.

    The National Garden Scheme Northern Ireland is facilitated in partnership with leading estate agent, John Minnis which has branches in Bangor, Belfast, Comber, Donaghadee and Holywood.

    John Minnis, of John Minnis Estate Agents, added:

    “We are incredibly lucky here in Northern Ireland to boast so many exceptional private gardens, including those at Clandeboye Estate.

    “Partnering with initiatives such as the National Garden Scheme allows us to provide opportunities to members of our local communities to visit some amazing gardens and outdoor spaces, many of which are right on their doorstep!

    “This weekend’s open day events are sure to be a wonderful occasion and I would like to encourage anyone interested in experiencing these beautiful gardens for themselves to come along and support the National Garden Scheme’s network of charitable organisations.”

    Leaflets with further information about the gardens included in the National Garden Scheme and upcoming open days can be picked up at all John Minnis branches. Alternatively, please visit: findagarden.ngs.org.uk
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  • Sea, Sun and Serenity: The Advantages of Living in a Coastal Town
    Posted on 25 May 2023

    Sea, Sun and Serenity: The Advantages of Living in a Coastal Town

    Perhaps the first thing you think of when you think of the coastline of Northern Ireland is the spectacular landscapes.

    This includes the interlocking basalt columns of the Giants Causeway as well as designated Areas of Outstanding Beauty such as the Antrim Coast and Glens and also Strangford and Lecale.

    But as well as these rural spots, Northern Ireland also boasts several attractive seaside towns. In the extreme north, there are small towns like Portstewart and Portrush.

    The towns are more populated down the coastline with Larne, Carrickfergus, Bangor, Donaghadee (recently voted the best place to live in Northern Ireland) and Newtownards.

    Each town has its charm, but they all share common benefits and advantages that come with coastal living.

    In the blog, we will explore some of these, highlighting what makes moving to a coastal town an attractive proposition.

    Scenic Beauty

    An image of a beach causeway

    As mentioned in the introduction, Northern Ireland is blessed with a stunning coastline. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Giants Causeway may get the headlines, but go anywhere on the coast and you are never too far away from a breathtaking vista.

    Across the expansive coastline is a mixture of dramatic cliffs and pleasant rolling dunes, providing spectacular views all within a short drive from the many towns of Northern Ireland.

    As well as the cliffs, there are also many beaches to be explored both in towns and rural areas, and with coastal roads, these can also easily be accessed.

    Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

    An image of someone fishing on the beach
    With coastal living comes opportunities to take part in a wide range of activities that wouldn’t be possible inland.

    For runners and adventurers, the coastal paths as previously mentioned provide both technical and challenging terrain in places, whereas other flatter paths are perfect for a leisurely pace.

    There are lots of spots perfect for fishing off the coast, and it doesn’t require a fishing licence. The most common fish off the Northern Ireland coast include wrasse, cod, whiting, plaice and others.

    Other activities include swimming, sailing, and especially in the North West surfing.

    A coastal lifestyle can be an extremely active one, promoting opportunities for regular exercise that can lead to stress relief and improved mental well-being.

    Seafood and Culinary Benefits

    An image of fish and chips

    One major benefit of living close to the sea is the abundance of fresh seafood regularly available to locals.

    Locally sourced seafood provides a vibrant food scene in coastal towns, with fish markets and restaurants in abundance.
    There are also lots of different food festivals that occur throughout the year where the country’s best chefs can showcase their regional dishes.

    There are also lots of different food festivals that occur throughout the year where the country’s best chefs can showcase their regional dishes.

    Work-Life Balance

    An image of scenic fields and beach front

    As touched on previously, coastal towns give the residents a lot of beauty and tranquillity to unwind in.

    Whether that is countryside inland or with views of the sea, you will never be too far away from a calming beauty spot.

    With an increase in remote working taking less pressure away from having to commute every day, a slower pace of life can promote and improve overall well-being.

    Key Takeaways

    • The Northern Irish coastline offers diverse and spectacular landscapes, including the renowned Giants Causeway and designated Areas of Outstanding Beauty.
    • Coastal towns in Northern Ireland, such as Portstewart, Portrush, Larne, Carrickfergus, Bangor, Donaghadee, and Newtownards, provide attractive and affordable living options.
    • Scenic beauty abounds along the coastline, with breathtaking vistas, dramatic cliffs, rolling dunes, and accessible beaches.
    If you are interested in buying a coastal property in Northern Ireland, why not check out some of the current properties for sale? Or, if you have more questions about buying a home by the sea, send us an email or give us a call on 028 9065 3333.
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  • Finding Your Perfect Second Home in Northern Ireland's Coastal Communities
    Posted on 28 April 2023

    Finding Your Perfect Second Home in Northern Ireland's Coastal Communities

    Benefits of a Second Home in Northern Ireland's Coastal Communities

    An image of a harbour with a vibrant village vib

    If you are considering buying a second home, you may be wondering what the benefits of buying a property in Northern Ireland are. Whether you are looking for a holiday home for your family, or an investment property to boost your income, buying on the coast of Northern Ireland has a ton of benefits.

    Investment Opportunities

    Appreciating property values is becoming more common as the demand for coastal properties continues to rise. This increase in average property prices makes purchasing a second home in these communities a sound investment. Over time, the value of your property may grow, providing you with a worthwhile return on your investment.

    The potential for rental income is another significant advantage of owning a second home in a desirable coastal location. By renting out your property as a holiday home or on a long-term basis, you can expect to generate a steady stream of income from tenants. This additional income can help offset the costs of property ownership and contribute to your overall financial well-being.

    Improved Quality of Life

    Owning a second home in a coastal community can lead to an improved quality of life, with access to natural beauty and coastal landscapes. This serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life provides stunning coastal walks, picturesque harbours, and sandy beaches, offering endless opportunities to relax and rejuvenate.

    Coastal living also presents numerous opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation, promoting a healthier lifestyle. Outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, and water sports are readily available in these areas. Moreover, the fresh sea air and slower pace of life can contribute to reduced stress and improved mental well-being, enhancing overall life satisfaction.

    Exploring Local Culture and History

    Local culture and history are significant benefits of owning a second home in Northern Ireland's coastal communities. These areas are renowned for their rich cultural heritage, encompassing maritime history and local traditions. By having a second home in these communities, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the authentic charm that makes these areas so unique.

    Furthermore, each of the featured towns boasts a mix of historical landmarks and attractions alongside modern amenities. From historic sites to museums and galleries, there is always something new and exciting to discover and explore. This blend of history and contemporary offerings provides a dynamic and engaging environment that caters to a wide range of interests and passions.

    Family-Friendly Environment

    A family-friendly environment is another key advantage of owning a second home in Northern Ireland's coastal communities. These areas are characterised by their friendly atmosphere and tight-knit communities, which create a safe and welcoming environment for you and your family to enjoy.

    Additionally, these coastal towns offer an abundance of activities for all ages, ensuring that everyone has something to enjoy. From water sports to nature reserves, there is no shortage of family-friendly activities to keep everyone entertained. The wide range of attractions available in these coastal communities makes your second home an ideal holiday destination that will be cherished by your family for years to come.

    Our Favourite Coastal Locations

    An image of a marina with boats

    There is an abundance of beautiful coastlines in Northern Ireland, so there are many different locations that you might choose to look at. Here at John Minnis, we have a few favourite locations due to their stunning views, strong communities and rich histories.


    Donaghadee is a picturesque town known for its scenic harbour and historic lighthouse. This charming location features a variety of local shops and restaurants, making it a popular destination for those in search of a tranquil coastal retreat.
    The thriving local community in Donaghadee further enhances its appeal as a location for a second home. With a strong sense of community spirit and an array of local events and activities, this town provides an idyllic setting for those looking to experience a welcoming and engaging coastal lifestyle.


    Bangor is a popular coastal town that offers stunning coastal walks, a beautiful marina, and a lively town centre. This combination of relaxation and entertainment makes it an ideal location for a second home.
    In addition to its natural beauty, Bangor boasts a wide range of amenities and attractions. The bustling town centre features an array of shops, restaurants, and leisure facilities, ensuring that you will always have plenty to do and see when you visit your second home. This vibrant atmosphere, combined with the town's picturesque surroundings, creates a perfect setting for enjoying the best of both worlds.


    Groomsport is a charming coastal village that offers a picturesque setting complete with award-winning beaches and rich maritime history. Its peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty make it an ideal choice for those seeking a second home in a tranquil environment.

    The village's rich maritime history is evident in its historic buildings and local attractions, which provide a fascinating backdrop for individuals looking to immerse themselves in the area's history and culture. The unique blend of beauty, heritage, and serenity in Groomsport makes it a perfect location for a second home that offers both relaxation and cultural enrichment.


    Holywood is a delightful coastal town that boasts a unique selection of boutique shops, eateries, and galleries. This charming location, with its blend of quaint charm and modern amenities, makes it an appealing choice for those seeking a second home.

    In addition to its charming atmosphere, Holywood is home to the prestigious Holywood Golf Club and a range of other leisure facilities. These amenities offer numerous opportunities for recreation and relaxation, ensuring that residents and visitors alike can enjoy a well-rounded and fulfilling coastal lifestyle. The combination of charm, convenience, and recreation makes Holywood an attractive destination for a second home.


    Newtownards is an appealing location for a second home, nestled at the foot of the picturesque Ards Peninsula and boasting close proximity to Strangford Lough and the surrounding countryside. This prime location makes it an excellent choice for those who appreciate natural beauty and want to enjoy the best of both coastal and rural living.

    As a bustling market town, Newtownards offers a wealth of shopping, dining, and cultural experiences. Its historic sites, such as the iconic Scrabo Tower, provide a fascinating glimpse into the area's past, creating a rich and engaging atmosphere. The combination of natural beauty, history, and modern amenities makes Newtownards a perfect choice for those seeking a second home in a vibrant and picturesque setting.

    Financing your Coastal Second Home

    An image of a coastal front

    So now you have explored a few different locations that might be of interest to you, the next stage is to consider how you will finance your second property.

    Mortgage Options for Second Homes

    Mortgage options for second homes can vary depending on your intended use for the property.

    For those planning to rent out their second home, a buy-to-let mortgage may be the most suitable option. This type of mortgage typically requires a larger deposit from the borrower; however, it can provide a reliable source of rental income to help offset the costs of property ownership.

    On the other hand, if you intend to use your second home for personal use only, you may be eligible for a residential mortgage. In this case, it's essential to consult a mortgage adviser to determine the best mortgage option for your circumstances. They can help you navigate the various mortgage products available and find the most suitable solution for your needs.

    Tax Implications and Benefits

    Owning a second home comes with certain tax implications and benefits that should be considered before making a decision.

    Council tax is one such consideration, as owning a second home may result in additional charges that vary depending on the property's location and value. However, if your property is furnished and available for rent for a specified period, you may be eligible for a discount on your council tax bill.

    Another tax implication to keep in mind is the cost of stamp duty. When purchasing a second home, you may be subject to an additional stamp duty charge, which is calculated as a percentage of the property's purchase price. It's essential to factor this cost into your budget when considering a second home, as it can significantly impact your overall financial planning.

    Insurance Considerations

    When owning a second home, it's essential to consider the various insurance requirements needed to protect your investment.

    Property insurance is crucial for safeguarding your second home against potential damage or loss. It's important to note that the type of insurance coverage required may vary depending on whether the property is a holiday home or a buy-to-let property. Ensure you select the appropriate coverage to suit your property's specific needs.

    In addition to property insurance, liability insurance is another important consideration, particularly if you plan to rent out your second home. This type of insurance covers any potential claims from tenants or guests in the event of injury or property damage while staying at your property. Having adequate liability insurance in place can provide peace of mind and protect you from potential financial losses related to rental disputes or accidents.

    Navigating the Buying Process

    The buying process for a second home can be made easier with the help of a knowledgeable local estate agent and by understanding the local property market.

    Working with a local estate agent who has in-depth knowledge of the property market in Donaghadee, Bangor, Groomsport, Holywood, and Newtownards can be invaluable. Their expertise and familiarity with the area can help you find the perfect second home that meets your needs and fits within your budget.

    In addition to seeking professional guidance, it's essential to research and understands the local property market in your chosen area. Gaining insight into the average property price, housing supply, and demand can help you make informed decisions when purchasing a second home. This knowledge will ensure that you are well-prepared to navigate the buying process and secure the ideal property for your needs.

    Legal Requirements and Paperwork

    When purchasing a second home, it's crucial to understand the legal requirements and paperwork involved. Working with a solicitor can help ensure a smooth buying process and help you navigate any potential issues that may arise.

    Additional Costs to Consider

    An image of a beach front with a village next to it

    There are other costs that sometimes are forgotten about during the house-buying process, but it is important to factor these in early. You don't want any nasty financial surprises to put a dampener on your new home!

    Here are some additional costs to consider:
    • Maintenance costs: Owning a second home comes with ongoing maintenance costs, such as repairs, landscaping, and general upkeep. It's essential to budget for these expenses to ensure your property remains in good condition.
    • Decorating costs: You may need to invest in furniture, appliances, and decorations for your second home, particularly if you plan to rent it out as a furnished property. Consider the costs of furnishing and decorating your property when budgeting for your purchase.
    • Energy costs: Your second home will likely incur energy costs, such as heating, electricity, and water. Be sure to factor these expenses into your budget and consider ways to reduce energy consumption, such as investing in energy-efficient appliances and insulation.
    • Arrangement fees: Some mortgage lenders may charge arrangement fees for setting up a mortgage on a second home. Be sure to research these potential costs and factor them into your budget.
    • Credit score: A strong credit score can help you secure a better mortgage deal and lower interest rates. Ensure your credit score is in good standing before applying for a mortgage on a second home.
    • Council Tax: You may face a surcharge for a second property, check with the local council in the area you are considering buying in.
    If you have any concerns or questions about these costs, consult with your estate agent during the viewing process and speak to professionals about the cost of work that might need to be undertaken.

    Key Takeaways

    • Numerous benefits of owning a second home in Northern Ireland's coastal communities
    • Donaghadee, Bangor, Groomsport, Holywood, and Newtownards offer natural beauty, cultural heritage, and family-friendly environments
    • Financing options, tax implications, and additional costs should be carefully considered
    • Working with a local estate agent and mortgage adviser can facilitate a smooth buying process
    • Ideal locations for both peaceful coastal holiday homes and lucrative buy-to-let properties
    • Begin exploring the possibilities in these stunning coastal towns and take the first step towards owning your dream second home

    What's Next?

    If you are considering buying a home on the stunning coast of Northern Ireland, take a look at some of the coastal properties we have for sale right now, or get in touch with our friendly and experienced team on 028 9065 3333.
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  • National Garden Scheme announces Northern Ireland open days in partnership with John Minnis
    Posted on 17 April 2023

    National Garden Scheme announces Northern Ireland open days in partnership with John Minnis

    The National Garden Scheme has unveiled the private Northern Ireland gardens set to open to the public later this year in partnership with sponsor, leading estate agent John Minnis.

    Visitors to each of the beautiful gardens opening in Northern Ireland will contribute to the provision of much needed funding to charities supported by the National Garden Scheme, including Macmillan, Marie Curie, Parkinson’s UK and Hospice UK.  

    Trevor Edwards, Area Organiser, National Garden Scheme Northern Ireland commented:
    “We are hugely excited to reveal our plans for this year’s National Garden Scheme Northern Ireland, and to announce that John Minnis Estate Agents has joined us as official sponsor.

    “2022 saw the launch of the very first National Garden Scheme here in Northern Ireland, and we were pleased to have received a fantastic response from visitors across the region who helped us to raise an
    amazing £30,000 for our designated partner charities.

    “The support of local businesses is invaluable to organisations like ours, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors to some of Northern Ireland’s most impressive gardens and to be working
    in partnership with John Minnis to build on this previous success.”

    The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to over 3,500 exceptional private gardens in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Guernsey, including Old Balloo House and Barn in Killinchy.

    John Minnis, of John Minnis Estate Agents which has branches in Bangor, Belfast, Comber, Donaghadee and Holywood, added:

    “At John Minnis, we’re committed to lending our support to the local community while showcasing wonderful places across Northern Ireland, and partnering with the National Garden Scheme provides the
    perfect opportunity to do this.

    “Northern Ireland is home to some truly spectacular private gardens, and it is wonderful to be involved in a scheme which not only offers members of the public the opportunity to experience these
    spaces for themselves, but also raises funds for a variety of very worthy causes.

    “A huge thank you and congratulations must go to all who take part and take the time to nurture these beautiful gardens. They really are fantastic and I would certainly recommend visits to see for
    yourself, whilst supporting these excellent charities.”

    Further information about the gardens included in the National Garden Scheme and open days can be found at: findagarden.ngs.org.uk
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  • Unlocking the Potential: How Adding an Annex to Your Home Can Boost Its Value
    Posted on 11 April 2023

    Unlocking the Potential: How Adding an Annex to Your Home Can Boost Its Value

    What is an Annex and How Can it Add Value to your Home?

    An image of an annex with living room and dinning room
    An annex is a self-contained living space that is either attached to or detached from your main property. It typically includes a bedroom, living area, bathroom, and kitchenette. Building an annex can increase the value of your property by providing additional living space, a home office, or even a rental opportunity. Furthermore, an annex can improve the overall appeal of your property to potential buyers, as it offers a versatile space that can be tailored to suit various needs.

    Benefits of Building an Annex

    When considering building an annex, it may be for an elderly relative or to expand your living space, but you might be wondering what other advantages there are. It's good to consider all of the benefits that you may reap from having an annex, and if you decide to move home later down the line, you can use these selling points to attract potential buyers.

    • Extra space for a growing family or aging parents: An annex can provide the additional living space needed to accommodate a growing family or to care for aging parents, without having to move to a larger property.
    • Potential rental income: If you choose to rent out your annex, it can generate a steady income stream, helping to offset the costs of the project and potentially providing a long-term return on investment.
    • Increased property value: The additional square footage provided by an annex can significantly increase the value of your home, making it a worthwhile investment for homeowners looking to sell in the future.
    • Greater flexibility: An annex can be used for various purposes, such as a home office, guest suite, or even a private retreat for family members seeking some peace and quiet.
    • Attractive to potential buyers: If you decide to sell your home, having an annex can make it more appealing to potential buyers who may be looking for additional living spaces or rental income opportunities.
    Thinking about the benefits and different uses for an annex could help you come to the decision on whether building an annex is right for you.

    The Downside to Adding an Annex to you Home

    There are a lot of benefits involved in adding an annex to your home, but it may not be the right solution for you and your home. Let's take a look at some factors that might affect your decision:

    • Initial cost: Building an annex can be a significant financial investment, with costs ranging from £80,000 to £100,000 or more, depending on factors such as size, location, and construction method. It is crucial to carefully consider your budget and long-term financial goals before embarking on such a project.
    • Planning permission: Depending on the size and scope of your annex project, you may need to obtain planning permission from your local council. This can be a time-consuming and potentially costly process, with no guarantee of approval.
    • Construction disruption: Building an annex can be a disruptive process, as construction work may cause noise, dust, and inconvenience for you and your neighbours.
    • Potential impact on neighbours: Depending on the location and design of your annex, it may impact the privacy and enjoyment of your neighbours' properties. This could lead to objections and strained relationships.

    These are important factors to include in your decision-making, and if any of these issues are making you reconsider building an annex, think about what other alternatives there are.

    Alternatives to building an annex

    An image of building an annex outside

    If you need more space, building an annex isn't your only option. Here are just a few alternative options:

    • Moving home: If you need more space or want to increase the value of your property, one option is to move to a larger home or a different location. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it may be more suitable for your needs and circumstances.
    • Converting existing space: Rather than building an annex, you could consider converting an existing part of your home, such as a garage, loft, or basement, into additional living space. This can be a more cost-effective and less disruptive option, but it may not provide the same level of flexibility and rental income potential as an annex.
    • Building an extension: Another option is to build an extension onto your existing property, which can also provide additional living space and increase the value of your home. However, this will still involve construction work and may require planning permission.
    It is worth costing up these alternatives or thinking about how they might be a better fit for your home and lifestyle.

    Who would benefit from an annex?

    An annex can cater to a wide range of users and their specific needs. Here are some common types of users who could benefit from an annex on your property:

    • Multi-generational families: An annex can provide a private and comfortable space for elderly parents or grandparents who wish to live close to their family. This arrangement offers independence for the older generation while also allowing them to maintain close ties with their loved ones.
    • Young adults: As housing costs continue to rise, many young adults are struggling to afford their own homes. An annex can provide an affordable and convenient living arrangement for adult children who need time to save for their own property or who prefer to live close to their parents for support.
    • Home-based professionals: With remote work becoming increasingly popular, an annex can serve as a dedicated home office or workspace for those who need a separate area to focus and maintain a work-life balance.
    • Guests or lodgers: An annex can be used as a guest suite for visiting friends and family, providing them with a comfortable and private space during their stay. Alternatively, you could rent out the annex to lodgers, generating additional income while offering affordable accommodation to tenants.
    • Individuals with special needs: An annex can be adapted to provide a safe and accessible living space for family members with disabilities or special needs. Customised features such as wheelchair ramps, handrails, and accessible bathrooms can be incorporated to ensure a comfortable and supportive environment.
    • Artists or Hobby enthusiasts: An annex can serve as a dedicated space for artists, musicians, or hobby enthusiasts who require a separate area to practice and create without disturbing the rest of the household. This can be especially beneficial for those who need a quiet, inspiring, and organized environment to focus on their craft.
    • Home-based businesses: Small business owners or entrepreneurs may find an annex a suitable location for their home-based business operations. This could include a consultation room for professionals like therapists or consultants, a treatment room for beauty or wellness practitioners, or even a small workshop for artisans.
    • Short-term rental opportunities: If you live in a desirable location or near popular tourist attractions, you could turn your annex into a short-term rental space, such as an Airbnb. This can provide additional income and give you the flexibility to use the space as needed.
    By understanding the various types of users and their needs, you can design and build an annex that caters to their specific requirements. This not only ensures that the annex serves its intended purpose but also maximises the potential return on investment through increased property value or rental income opportunities.

    Breakdown of Costs

    An image of building an annex outside

    Building an annex in the UK can be a substantial financial investment, with costs varying depending on several factors such as the size, materials, location, and construction method. In this section, we will provide a breakdown of the estimated costs you can expect when building an annex in the UK, with the average cost ranging from £80,000 to £100,000.Basic construction costs: The most significant portion of the budget will be allocated to the actual construction of the annex. Basic construction costs can range from £1,500 to £2,500 per square metre, depending on the complexity of the design and the materials used. For example, a 40-square-metre annex could cost anywhere between £60,000 and £100,000 for the basic construction.

    1. 1. Planning and design fees: Before starting construction, you may need to obtain planning permission and enlist the services of an architect or designer to create the plans for your annex. Planning fees can vary depending on the local authority, while architect or designer fees typically range from 3% to 7% of the total construction cost.
    2. 2. Utilities and connections: To make your annex habitable, you will need to connect it to essential utilities such as water, electricity, and gas. The costs for connecting these utilities will vary depending on the existing infrastructure and the distance between the main property and the annex. You should budget approximately £3,000 to £7,000 for utility connections, but this may vary depending on your specific circumstances.
    3. 3. Interior fittings and finishes: The costs of interior fittings and finishes will depend on your preferences and the level of quality you desire. This includes items such as flooring, lighting, bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, and cabinetry. A basic level of finishes and fittings could cost around £10,000 to £15,000, while higher-end options can easily exceed £25,000.
    4. 4. Landscaping and external works: Depending on the design and location of your annex, you may need to allocate funds for landscaping and external works, such as paving, fencing, or planting. These costs can vary widely depending on the scope of the project and your desired outcome but expect to budget at least £3,000 to £10,000 for landscaping and external works.
    5. 5. Contingency fund: It's always wise to set aside a contingency fund to cover any unexpected costs or changes during the construction process. A recommended contingency fund is typically around 10% to 15% of the total construction cost.
    To ensure you stay within your budget, it's crucial to carefully plan and monitor your expenses throughout the project. Additionally, it's a good idea to obtain several quotes from different builders and contractors to compare prices and services before making a final decision.

    Make the most of your investment, by working closely with experienced professionals, such as architects, designers, and builders, who can help you navigate the planning and construction process. Additionally, researching and understanding the local property market will help you gauge the potential return on investment for your annex project.

    Will Building an Annex Affect my Council Tax?

    Council Tax is an important consideration when building an annex on your property, as it can impact your overall financial obligations. Depending on your situation, take into consideration the following:

    • Council Tax Bands: Council Tax is charged based on the property's value and its assigned Council Tax band. When you build an annex, it may be given its own Council Tax band separate from the main property. This means that you could be liable to pay Council Tax for both the main property and the annex, potentially increasing your overall tax obligations.
    • Council Tax Discounts: In certain situations, you may be eligible for a Council Tax discount on your annex. If the annex is occupied by a dependent relative, such as a person aged 65 or older, an adult with a disability, or a young person under 18, you may qualify for a 50% reduction in Council Tax for the annex. It's essential to check with your local council to determine your eligibility for this discount.
    • Council Tax Exemptions: Some annexes may be exempt from Council Tax altogether. If the annex is unoccupied and cannot be let separately from the main property due to planning restrictions, it may be exempt from Council Tax. Additionally, if the occupant of the annex is a full-time student or someone with a severe mental impairment, the annex may also qualify for a Council Tax exemption.
    The best way to find information how building an annex will affect your council tax is by speaking to your local council. Each council area has different council tax rules and regulations, so by speaking to your local council, you can find out how building an annex may affect you and your council tax bill.

    Key Takeaways

    • An annex provides versatile living space for various users, including multi-generational families, young adults, home-based professionals, and individuals with special needs.
    • The average cost of building an annex in the UK ranges from £80,000 to £100,000, depending on factors such as size, materials, location, and construction method.
    • Consider the pros and cons of building an annex, such as the potential for rental income, increased property value, and planning permission requirements, before making a decision.
    • Explore alternative options, such as moving to a larger home, converting existing space, or building an extension, to determine the best solution for your needs.
    • Collaborate with experienced professionals, such as architects, designers, and builders, to ensure a smooth planning and construction process.
    • Research local property market trends and potential financial assistance or grants to maximise the return on investment for your annex project.
    • Spend time researching how much it will increase the value of your home, and take a look at other similar properties in your area with annexes.
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  • Statement in response to the latest House Price Index  published by Nationwide Building Society
    Posted on 4 April 2023

    Statement in response to the latest House Price Index published by Nationwide Building Society

    According to a recently published index from Nationwide Building Society, house prices across Northern Ireland have increased in the first three months of 2023.

    Commenting on the findings, John Minnis, Company Director at leading local estate agent, John Minnis Estate Agents Ltd, said:

    “Those hoping to sell their property might be buoyed by the latest news of rising house prices, however, it always pays to set realistic expectations and seek
    expert advice.

    “Northern Ireland’s housing market is made up of many local markets, meaning house values can vary area to area, sometimes on a street-by-street basis!  

    “Of course, this is great news for home owners. Speaking to an estate agent is the best way to ensure your property goes on the market at a price that will
    attract interest and result in a completed sale at the very best price.

    “Our advice to those seeking to purchase property is to not be concerned. This increase in house prices may be at odds with the UK as a whole, but Northern Ireland remains one of the most affordable regions to buy property.

    “The latest increase in Bank Rate levels had been forecast by many mortgage lenders, and it is hoped that inflation will fall throughout the rest of this year, which is good news, and lenders are already beginning to reduce their rates.

    “Buyers can also benefit from an increased variety of mortgage products, meaning there are plenty of options available to help them progress up the property ladder.

    “We have seen strong demand throughout the first months of this year and looking ahead, we hope that this confidence in the market continues. Our experienced team is always on hand, so whether you’re buying or selling your property John Minnis Estate Agents have the expertise to help.”
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