Gone Daft: Dublin Rental Websites

Apologies for contributing a not so pithy “service” post this week, but today was our deadline to push our first shipment (books, clothes, computers, etc.) out the door and on the road to Dublin.  Later this week we’ll head to Atlanta to celebrate my parents’ 50th Anniversary, and say goodbye to friends and family.  It’s been, and will continue to be, a busy week.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer just a few thoughts on using the Internet to find an apartment in Dublin.

Let me start by saying that without the Internet, I cannot imagine what an excruciating process moving overseas in general, and finding a place to live in particular, must have been.  The folks who lived trough the “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses” immigrant experience obviously had it the worst.  But, suffice it to say that anybody doing this before, oh, let’s say, 1998, must have gone through hell using landlines, answering machines, faxes, classified newspaper ads, and snail mail.

In the months before we flew to Dublin to look for a place to live, we got in the nasty habit of frequently checking the lettings list at Daft.ie and other websites.  It’s a nasty habit because you see someplace nice and get your hopes up.  But by the time you get to Dublin, the good ones are all gone. And to really make it a “seal the windows and turn on the gas” experience, those same boards are filled with sage advice such as:

“Why would you move here if you don’t have to?”

“You must be crazy to move here, now.”

“This whole place is sinking. Stay in America.”

When you’ve already committed to moving, advice like this is somewhat less than helpful.  Fortunately Daft.ie and MyHome.ie are populated with other, less shrill, participants.  And, in the end, we did get some useful information on subjects like what parts of town to look in, and what to expect from Irish landlords and leases.  With that knowledge, we managed to push on from that first malodorous glimpse of Irish rental property.

In general the specific properties on Irish rental websites are only really helpful within about 5-7 days of the time you are looking to sign a lease.  Before that time, the rental websites are helpful mainly for getting an idea of different neighborhoods in terms of property quality, layout, and price.  They can help you narrow you search (geographically), but don’t get too attached to any one letting (rental property) until just days before you are prepared to sign a lease.

Overall, the rental (lettings) boards for Dublin are helpful to a degree, but don’t rely on them too much.  Don’t count on renting too far in advance.  But once you are in town (or just before you arrive), hit the boards hard and you should have no trouble finding a suitable place to live.

Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:

  • Saying Goodbye to Family & Friends
  • The Logistics of International Moving
  • Wire Transfers: And why you shouldn’t be your bank’s test case.

Emigration Day: July 12, 2011 (28 Days)

About Glenn Kaufmann

I'm an American freelance writer, photographer, and web publisher. I specialize in writing about travel, food, arts, and culture. I also write dramatic scripts for stage and screen. I'm based in Ireland.
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6 Responses to Gone Daft: Dublin Rental Websites

  1. Kay Connelly says:

    Agreed about the internet being so helpful! I had heard a bunch about how hard it is to find an apartment in Paris. I even talked to someone on the phone who was living in Paris, in a hotel, and couldn’t find a suitable apartment for his family. He said he’d see something in the paper, but it was rented by the time he got there. I got online and found our apartment for the year at sabbaticalhomes.com within a few weeks. Signed the lease based on pictures and talking to the current tenants since I couldn’t make a scouting trip to look at it.

  2. Cassandra says:

    Getting close now! We lived in Cambridge (GB) in 1984 and I can’t imagine the work my father did to find us a place that we could move into when we got there. And it was perfect, all set up by snail mail. Good luck to you on your quest!

  3. Jessica says:

    Hi Glenn, I recently found your blog and am loving all of your posts, both service oriented and otherwise. I have a question regarding your experience with seeking out rental properties in Dublin. From the cursory searches I have done on the websites you mention and some others, it seems that furnished flats are very common. Do you find this to be the case? Did you and your wife start completely anew with furniture, etc., or was that part of what you shipped over?

    I have been looking in several areas, but mostly 4, 6/6w, 8, and 14, and a majority seem to be furnished. Furnished v non-furnished of course brings up a whole other level when it comes to considering the pros and cons of To Bring or Not To Bring. You certainly don’t want to have to start completely fresh, but then it’s nice to have your own vibe in your surroundings. Thanks for any input you can provide!

    • Hi Jessica,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to raise this question. It’s a good one.

      Because, like you, we’d taken the time to research the rental market in Dublin beforehand and knew many/most places come furnished, we made the conscious decision to move no furniture, just the few pictures and appliances we couldn’t live without and felt would (as you say) give a “vibe in your surroundings”.

      We think, and have her from several Irish friends, that the standard is a result of the fact that most rentals were for students or your couples starting out (with no furniture of their own). In Ireland it’s still more common for people to on long term rather than rent, so renting is considered to be a “starting point” from which you’ll begin acquiring your own stuff for the time when you can buy your own place.

      And I guess that may also apply to the immigrant just starting out as well.

      BTW – Be prepared for the Dublin rental market. It’s terrible right now. Definitely a renter’s market – long lines at showings, and dark drab flat going for a king’s ransom. If you can live a bit further out you’ll get more value for money.

      Hope that helps.


      • Jessica says:

        Hi Glenn,

        Thanks for your reply, that does help quite a bit. Another thing I have noticed is that most apartments seem to have either been remodeled or at least had significant work done in the kitchens and bathrooms to update appliances, etc. Do you think this is a coincidence with the things I’m seeing on the site, or does that also seem to be the norm? Our budget is not astronomical so the listings I’m looking at wouldn’t be considered high-end. I am just curious if this is another relic of the Celtic Tiger.

        Also, your comment about the bad rental market is one of a few we have heard from other Dubliners; it definitely doesn’t sound ideal, but our current city’s market isn’t much better, so that is some consolation.

        • Hi Jessica,

          The number of “renovations” doesn’t surprise me.

          Given the age of most properties built during the Celtic Tiger, and the lack of quality construction evidenced during any major construction boom (the tendency seems to be get em’ up quick so we can make money), now 10-15 years on, it’s time to update most of them (even the “good” or well made ones).

          And the Irish standards have definitely come “up” as a result of the Celtic Tiger, so many of the much older units are also being updated to make them competitive.

          And many landlords who are having trouble selling are renovating to make their places more competitive. Then, months later they give up and start renting again. Finally, with housing prices going off the charts, many people in Dublin can’t afford to move, so they are renovating.

          Yeah, the global property market seem to be getting stupid (heating up) again.

          It appears society learned nothing, and greed trumps everything, so we will likely have to endure another bubble in a few years.


          On that cheery note, welcome to Ireland.


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