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The Importance of Checking Local Planning Permissions Before Buying

When you are buying a new home, it can be very easy to fall in love with the property or the area. Maybe there is a big green field close by where you can picture yourself kicking the ball around with your son or walking the dog. Or maybe you love the fact that the back garden will get sunshine all day long and you are already planning barbeques with friends and family or deciding what kinds of plants you want to grow.

But what if you find out after buying that the big green field will soon be turned into a new shopping centre or that your new next-door neighbour will be building a 2-story extension blocking out a few hours of sunshine? Would you have bought elsewhere if you knew beforehand?

You can never 100% predict the future, but thankfully in Ireland, we have a mostly transparent planning process where you can see any planning applications from the last few years online. This means any planning applications which are in progress, approved or declined are available to view online as far back as 2010. Then for older applications, you can query your local authorities' planning office.

Example 1: Firhouse

In this example, you can see that none of the houses immediately adjacent to the property has planning applications. So you can be pretty sure there won't be any surprises shortly after moving in.

Buy what about that large development south of the property? Well in this case, I happen to know the area and know this school has recently been redeveloped and the work is already complete, so again, I can be pretty sure there won't be any surprises after moving in!

Example 2: Donnybrook

In this example, I don't know the area too well and the map looks a little different. You can see that the houses surrounding the property all have recent planning permission approved.

As these are so close to the property, you'll want to investigate this further and at least know what the permission is for. The work could already be done and could simply be a small extension or a dormer window, or it could be recent permission for a double-storey extension that will overshadow your garden.

Then to the south of the property, there is a large development with permission. This could be a retail development, a new apartment block or really anything.

To the east of the property you can see there is a very large area where a football club has permission. This could simply be a new clubhouse, a new entrance to the grounds or, like in the case of Thomas Davis GAA Club a few years ago, they could have sold a pitch which is now being developed into a new estate.

None of these might be bad things, in fact, they could end up being great for the area. But they are something you will want to investigate so there are no surprises after you move in.

Take the first step in checking local planning - get a Home Hunter Report!

We believe knowing what is happening around your potential new home is a vital part of the house-buying process and unfortunately something which many people overlook. So we made sure to include a local planning map in every Home Hunter Report. It shows an overview of every planning application as far back as 2010 meaning you'll be able to get a quick view of what is going on in the area.

It is one small step in helping you to buy with confidence!

To get your Home Hunter Report, just go to and enter in the Eircode of the property you are considering buying.

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