Ready to Build Scheme

What is the Ready to Build Scheme?

Under the Ready to Build Scheme, you can buy a site from a local authority to build your own home on. The sites are sold in towns and villages at reduced prices of up to €30,000 below the market value. These sites have all the necessary infrastructure.

Local authorities can sell sites they already own for this scheme or they can buy new sites. They make these sites available for people to build homes on by providing access and services to the sites, such as electricity, water and wastewater.

The discount you get when you buy the site depends on how much it costs the local authority to provide services on the site before selling it to you. The maximum discount is €30,000.

You must live in the home as your principal private residence when the home is built.

The scheme is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage through the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund and you apply to your local authority. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has information about the scheme including an FAQ.

Do I qualify for the Ready to Build Scheme?

To qualify for the Ready to Build Scheme, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must build a home on the site and live in it as your principal private residence when it is built.
  • You must build your home on a site that is part of the scheme in a regional town or village, see below.
  • You must apply for planning permission to build your home on the site within 3 months of being approved to buy the site and paying your deposit. Ownership of the site will only be transferred to you when you get confirmation of planning permission.
  • You must start building your home on the site within 12 months of getting planning permission. (An extension to this timeframe may be given in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the local authority).
  • You must agree to the clawback conditions, which apply if you sell the home within a certain timeframe.
  • You must not have already bought a site under the scheme.
  • You must have tax clearance from Revenue to show that your tax affairs are in order.

Note: If you don’t apply for planning permission within the 3-month timeframe, ownership of the site will go back to the local authority. And, if you don’t start building your home within 12 months of getting planning permission, you must repay the local authority the discount you got on the site.

What is a regional town or village?

The scheme applies to towns and villages with a population of over 400 people, as well some smaller ones, which have sufficient services and amenities.

What discount can I get with the Ready to Build Scheme?

You can buy a site under this scheme for up to €30,000 below the market value of the site. The discount you get when you buy the site depends on how much it costs the local authority to provide services on the site before selling it to you.

How do I apply for the Ready to Build Scheme?

The Ready to Build Scheme is new so there may not be sites available to buy under the scheme yet.

When sites become available to buy under the scheme, they will be advertised on your local authority’s website and in relevant local publications. The advertisements will contain information about the sites and the closing date for applications.

You complete the application form (pdf) and send it to the local authority with your supporting documents. The local authority will review your application and documents and write to you to let you know if your application has been successful.

You can contact the Vacant Homes Officer in your local authority if you have questions about the scheme.

How are applications for the Ready to Build Scheme prioritised?

Applications for the Ready to Build Scheme are prioritised in this way:
  1. First-time buyers and ‘fresh start’ applicants
  2. Applicants with particular needs who are selling or have sold their current home and want to live in a town or village. Particular needs include people with disabilities and older people.
  3. Anyone else who is selling or has sold their home and wants to live in a town or village.

You are a first-time buyer if:

  • You have not previously bought or built a property to live in.
  • You do not own or have an interest in any property in Ireland or abroad.

You are a ‘fresh start’ applicant if you previously owned a home, but you no longer have a financial interest in it because:

  • You are now divorced, separated, or your relationship has ended
  • You have gone through personal insolvency or bankruptcy

What happens if my application is not successful?

If your application is not successful, you can appeal the decision with the local authority. You should write to them within 3 weeks of the decision, giving the reasons why you are appealing. Your appeal will be reviewed by someone in the local authority who was not involved in assessing your application. The local authority will contact you with the outcome of this review. This can take up to 6 weeks.

What happens if I want to sell my home or rent it out?

If you decide to sell your home or rent it out within 10 years of buying the site, you will have to pay the local authority back. The amount you repay depends on how long you’ve lived there. If you live there for:

  • Less than 5 years, you have to repay the full discount you got on the site
  • Over 5 years but less than 10, you have to repay 75% of the discount on the site
  • More than 10 years, you don’t have to pay back anything
You must pay back some or all of the discount in any situation where the home is no longer your primary residence within the first 10 years.
Page edited: 23 September 2022