An introduction to O’Donnellan & Joyce – it all started in 1982

O’Donnellan & Joyce started building its foundations more than 50 years ago when Colm O’Donnellan and Tony Joyce became friends. Little did they know they would celebrate more than 40 years in business.

While sport was their main interest at the time, Colm and Tony started their careers in property with a strong focus in lettings and private treaty sales. In 1984 the duo held their first auction on the Aran Islands, and from there, the brand and the business was born.

With 15 full time staff members and many dedicated departments, the company has expertise in every area of the property industry and the team pride themselves in being Ireland’s largest independent auctioneering firm in the west of Ireland.

O’Donnellan & Joyce has received recognition from the Property Industry Awards, reaching the final for Residential Agency of the Year in 2022 and winning the Regional Excellence Award in 2016. More recently it has been nominated as one of the finalists in the National Property Awards by the Sunday Business Post as one of the top three estate agents in Ireland.

The company offers the full spectrum of property requirements such as private treaty sales, public auctions, commercial sales, valuations, lettings and property management services, and consulting.

O’Donnellan & Joyce is also the largest new homes sales agents on the west coast of Ireland and include areas such as Knocknacarra, Moycullen, Oranmore, Kinvara, and Craughwell.

The company has worked with some of the best known developers in the country over the years including O’Malley Construction, Agri Mac Contracts Ltd, JRBOC, DeCourcey, Kinport Construction, Atlanteco Ltd, Burkeway Homes, Renaissance Property, Rhatigan Homes, Citadel Corporate Finance, Burke Construction, and Goldhill Real Estate.

The company is very well known locally and nationally for its corporate and social contributions to the wider community.

At the helm of many charity auctions around Ireland, Colm O’Donnellan is normally found with a gavel in hand and is known to put on a very entertaining show. Colm and the team have also participated in many events in aid of COPE, Madra, Galway Hospice, Cancer Care West, and more.

Getting started on your property journey

Purchasing a property is arguably one of the biggest purchases a person will ever make in their lifetime. Whether you are a first-time buyer, downsizing, an investor or trading up, it’s important to be prepared and know what to expect.

The first step in purchasing a property is to know how much you have to spend. Under current regulations, borrowers can lend you 4.5 times your income.

The second step is to appoint a solicitor, to handle the conveyance.

Mortgage approval

Once ‘approval in principle’ is obtained from your lender, you are now in position to go house hunting. It’s important to be realistic in what you can afford and take external costs into account such as legal fees, surveyor fees, etc.

It’s recommended to research what properties are available in your price bracket and determine if they are suitable for your requirements.

Making a list of requirements/desires is very helpful. Criteria to consider include:

· Areas you would consider buying in.

· Areas that you may consider but not overly familiar with.

· What kind of property you are looking for.

· What are the must haves and deal-breakers.

Making these lists certainly help pinpointing the important factors.

Public auctions

Colm O’Donnellan heads up the O'Donnellan & Joyce auction department and says this is still a very popular method of sale and holding its own. Along with a very accomplished and knowledgeable team, live property auctions went from strength to strength in 2022 with auction sales totaling €23 million.

The first of seven auctions in 2023 took place in February with 22 homes going under the hammer and a 90 per cent success rate.

O’Donnellan & Joyce streams all its auctions live online with the assistance of David Brandt Studios. The live stream online bidding platform continues to attract international bidders, as well as national and local bidders who can bid online and view the auctions from the comfort of their own homes, lending itself to a dramatic increase of audiences across the world.

Although the option to bid on the phone or online are still popular, after the lockdowns finally lifted, buyers were back in the auction room bidding in person with great enthusiasm.

With properties for sale throughout the year dominated by Galway city and county there were many sales of properties from Donegal down to Cork and Mayo to Wexford, sales were reported from all four provinces.

Colm O’Donnellan, auctioneer and senior partner at O’Donnellan & Joyce, commented: “Our formula works because bidders enjoy the tremendous excitement of a live auction while still being able to bid from the comfort of their own homes and offices.”

The second auction of 2023 is set for Friday April 14. If you are thinking of selling, contact Colm O’Donnellan on 091 564 212 or email [email protected].

Private treaty sales

Private treaty sales started with a bang this year with upwards of 40 sales recorded thus far in Q1 and expectations remain high for the remainder of 2023.

External factors, such as rise in inflation and interest rates, will continue to affect market conditions, however the trend of demand outstripping supply is expected to continue.

Hugh O’Donnellan, member of O’Donnellan & Joyce auctioneers sales team, has noted that majority of demand in the market is for owner occupancy but from a variety of different demographics. First-time buyers continue to make up a lion’s share of purchasers, preferring to pay their own mortgage rather than seeking further rental accommodation in a dwindling market.

However, there has also been a significant increase of purchasers looking for their ‘forever homes’ which has led to a surge in demand in already well-established areas such as Renmore, Salthill, Knocknacarra, and Barna.

Additionally, there continues to be a notable number of purchasers relocating from different locations, internationally and domestically, due to the rise in remote working positions, a trend first seen in the latter months of 2020. These flexible work positions have allowed people to benefit from choosing Galway and its good quality of life as a place to live.

The most notable demand within the Galway region is primarily in already well established and popular residential areas, such as Barna, Salthill, Knocknacarra, Shantalla, Newcastle, and Renmore, due to buyers wanting to avail of amenities and outdoor landmarks within walking distance.

This has resulted in majority of properties having several bidders and exceeding client expectations, in some circumstances properties achieved record prices.

If you are purchasing at auction, it is important to note that you must have the finances in place prior to auction day. Each property's legal documents and contract for sale are available from the auction team and it is advisable that you have them reviewed by a legal professional prior to auction day.

If you are the highest bidder and the hammer falls, you are deemed the purchaser and must pay 10 per cent of the AMV price, and you will be required to sign the contacts on the day of the auction. If the auction takes place remotely or via live stream, the contracts will be executed on your behalf.

New homes

Niall Browne, a senior sales agent, heads up the new homes section of the company and is very much looking forward to 2023.

Niall commented: “There is a variety of houses available in some exceptional new housing estates throughout the city which cater for all buyers' taste and demands. There is a natural trend for buyers to seek energy efficient homes and in particular first time buyers who benefit greatly from the HTB and Government-assisted purchase scheme.”

The demand for new homes has seen a continuous increase with the Help to Buy Scheme and the high BER rating foremost in buyers’ property lists.

Not alone have first time buyers shown high levels of purchasing, but second time buyers and downsizers are choosing these new energy efficient and cosy homes for permanent occupation.

The new homes team are actively speaking to two developers in County Galway to bring their developments to the market in 2023.


O’Donnellan & Joyce's rental department had an outstanding year in 2022. The volume of rental stock increased by 40 per cent.

Jamie Costello, who heads up the rental department, said: “There is a huge demand for rental properties in Galway city and beyond. We have noticed a 50 per cent increase in inquiries on rental properties advertised for letting.”

Landlords vacating are leaving a gap in the market for cash investors to purchase properties. While some landlords are exiting the rental market, there has been good activity with investors looking to avoid savings depreciation through inflation. Cash buyers are the preference for all sales as they can close deals quickly and investors are using this to their advantage.

The rental market is performing very strongly for Q1 2023, it is showing no sign of easing off this year. The eviction ban will lift from the end of this month, and there will be an exodus of landlords from the PRS.

The saving grace is the central bank increase in lending from 3.5 times to four times a person’s gross income. This will give renters the opportunity to get on the property ladder by purchasing a home. The market should remain strong for the rest of 2023 with rents rising at about five per cent.

The company's biggest achievement of 2022 was being awarded a position on the Independent Trustee Company (ITC ) property management panel. This ensures that its clients will be able to avail of its management and letting service when purchasing through a pension.

The start of the year has been great for O’Donnellan & Joyce and the company has taken on a lot of new clients. This is down to new landlords and existing landlords handing over the reins due to the ever changing legislation.

The buy to let (BTL ) market will remain strong for the rest of 2023 as inflation and negative interest rates in banks continue to punish those with cash in the bank. Investors will see good opportunities to hedge against inflation through the PRS. The large demand for rental accommodation makes the BTL market attractive.

O’Donnellan and Joyce will be on hand to provide the required professional management advice to investors.

Commercial property

The commercial market throughout Galway city and the west of Ireland has proven to be resilient throughout an unprecedented 2022, and it is shaping up to be an outstanding 2023.

Shane McDonagh, who leads the commercial department within O’Donnellan & Joyce, commented: “We have witnessed a record year within the commercial sector with various sales and lettings throughout the city and across the Connacht region.” The most notable trend was the demand for investment properties with a secure income or strong rental potential.

This is evident with the sale of some prominent buildings within Galway city in Q1 of 2023, with the launch of high profile units on Prospect Hill, Eyre Square, Abbeygate Street, Dominick Street, and Quay Street.

Last year exceeded all expectations within the commercial sector, and with the recent launch of high profile units in Q1 the company expects a strong and consistent 2023.

"Our advisory services have also expanded throughout 2022 as a whole," he added. "Having the benefit of being based on the ground within Galway city along with having in-depth knowledge of the entire west of Ireland, O’Donnellan & Joyce have acted as valuers and negotiators for national firms and state bodies ranging from Limerick to Sligo.

"Having being engaged to carry out several rent reviews and lease negotiations from the beginning of the year, there appears to be strong appetite from retailers and SME’s to remain active and present within the city centre and surrounding suburbs."

Property valuations

With nine years of experience carrying out a wide range of valuations outside of those required for mortgage lending, Shane McDonagh BSc MIPAV TRV Assoc SCSI RICS has ample experience when it comes to rent reviews, commercial valuations and probate.

Aaron O'Reilly is into his fifth year with O’Donnellan & Joyce and qualified two years ago as a TEGoVA TRV valuer, meaning that he can complete valuations to ‘Blue Book’ European Valuation Standards (EVS2020 ).

The threat of rising interest rates and the effect that it has on one’s pocket at the end of the month has been a key driving force into 2023, when it comes to home owners and those thinking of buying requesting valuations from the O’Donnellan & Joyce valuations team.

The company offers an efficient valuation service and is on the valuers' panel for all major lending institutions such as AIB, Bank of Ireland, EBS, Haven, Finance Ireland, Permanent TSB, and KBC among others – meaning that those looking for a better interest rate from their bank can contact O’Donnellan & Joyce for a written valuation and can rest assured that their bank will accept the verified valuation report.

The group of qualified valuers within the firm have experience a record high in the number of requests for valuations this past year, and it is no surprise given the numerous hikes in mortgage lending interest rates that customers have faced. Both property purchasers seeking a new mortgage, and those looking for a better loan to value (LTV ) mortgage deal with more attractive interest rates, should contact the valuations team to discuss the valuation process.

Aaron O’Reilly BComm TEGoVA TRV MIPAV MMCEPI, of the valuations team, said: “We are delighted to see the likes of Haven and AIB offering green energy interest rates where customers can avail of a reduced interest rate when their home reaches a BER rating of B3 or higher on the BER scale. In many cases, homeowners are investing in new boilers, upgrading insulation, and carrying out other tasks to increase their BER rating which in turn saves them money on home heating and on the interest due to their bank.”

While all of the banking institutions require valuers to hold this qualification, it also means that the team can complete valuations for a variety of other purposes and clients receive a recognised stamp, meaning that the valuation is completed to the highest standard and harmonised with the European Standard.

If you are looking for a commercial valuation or are thinking of renting or selling a commercial property in the west of Ireland, Shane McDonagh’s experience and knowledge is sure to set you in the right direction. Having handled many large scale transactions within Galway city and further afield, Shane has acted for both buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants and has advised a wide range of clients through these tricky negotiations.

Each of the staff members involved in the valuations department at O’Donnellan & Joyce has undertaken years of training and education as well as annual continuous professional development (CPD ) and attending annual conferences in order to stay up to date on new valuation methods and the ever-changing economic climate.

The team pride themselves in offering an efficient service with quick turnaround times and with their vast range of knowledge in all areas of valuation, no request will be turned away.


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