Mark Lawlor Auctioneer in his office in Cootehill.

The next generation, matching buyers to sellers - West to East

Lawlor Auctioneers - New office in Cootehill

Mark Lawlor first opened his Cootehill auctioneers towards the end of last year, and is planning an official opening for the Market Street premises this Saturday, March 30. Seamus Enright caught up with him to find out more...

An extension of Lawlor Auctioneers’ existing office in Belturbet, together they now offer comprehensive regional coverage for all residential, commercial, farm lettings and valuations, as well as extensive access to a wealth of innovative advisory and property management services.

It was Mark’s dad, Mark Sr, who first established the family-run firm 20 years ago, celebrating the milestone anniversary last year.

As an accredited member of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) and a Recognised European Valuer (REV), Mark Sr quickly distinguished himself for his ability to assess property and value it with precision and foresight.

From a young age Mark Jr has been immersed in the world of property sales, absorbing the intricacies of the trade.

He is now proud to carry on the family tradition. Mark Snr has earned a reputation for reliability, honestly and accuracy.

The new Cootehill auctioneers operates out of what was once the Coffee Pot cafe and Micheal Smith Auctioneers, and Mark quickly gives thanks for the warm welcome he has received since setting up in the historic east Cavan market town.

“Obviously the Smith family are very well known and well respected. I’d like to wish Michael and Josephine health and happiness on their retirement,” said Mark.

“It was around this time last year I first met Michael and Josephine. I was looking at my options and this felt like this was the right path, and a great opportunity as well to establish myself in what is a brilliant and vibrant town.”

Mark sees Cootehill as a location of immense potential, and is delighted to have found his footing so quickly.

“We’ve had lots of ‘Good Luck’ cards, and plenty of people calling to wish us well. It’s been really nice.

The wealth of industry that’s here, the huge hinterland as well, there is huge potential in Cootehill with a lot of employment locally and a number of companies in proximity; you have great schools here; and a great community who are active and have a clear want for what’s best for Cootehill.”

Now with Aldi coming, and the JJ McCauley site adding 49 new units, all new homes, I really feel it’s a town with a very bright future.”

While Mark’s passion for auctioneering reflects that of his father, he still has ambition to carve a niche of his own in a competitive industry where clients are drawn to those distinguished by their expertise and integrity.

Half the battle, as Mark sees it, is understanding the importance of building relationships and maintaining that sterling reputation.

“Dad has done very well in his 20 plus years, and the Lawlor brand is well established in the west of the county.

He has spent a lot of time making connections, and building relationships with people. That takes time.”

Despite his relative youth Mark exudes confidence and poise beyond his years. He accumulated his abundant and well-rounded experience in property from time spent working in Dublin for much of the last decade.

With Knight Frank, a leading commercial and residential property agency in the Capital, Mark specialised in marketing for sale a wide variety of new homes. With Owen Reilly in Grand Canal Dock, he was very much involved in selling to young professionals looking for a city centre apartment, as well as some fantastic dwellings that sold for well in excess of €1 million; while with Sherry Fitzgerald in Drumcondra the majority of Mark’s sales were second-hand residentials.

“From working on old red brick properties to penthouse apartments, it was good to get that experience too.”

It certainly opened Mark’s eyes to the world of possibility. Buyers often attended appointments with an idea in mind, and sometimes with an architect in tow. In that regard he doesn’t see that market as being too dissimilar to what is on offer in many towns across this region - well built with tonnes of future potential.


The recently launched Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant- offering buyers up to €50,000 to renovate a property empty for two years or more, and a further top up of €20,000, if the house is derelict - has had a big influence on that.

“An awful lot of sales we’re now seeing are people with properties who before this maybe didn’t see the value in selling, and maybe had reservations over its value. It may have belonged to their parents, has been vacant, and nothing has been done with it. But now they’re starting to see there is value, because buyers are qualifying for the vacant home grant.”

It has been a “game-changer” in one sense, says Mark, but also a “double edged sword”.

“It’s been brilliant in how it has saw more properties coming to market, and certainly it will have a big impact in tackling town centre dereliction, but we have seen where it has increased the value of stock, and a vacant home, which say was worth €85,000 before this, is now selling for closer to €120,000 now because people know they’ll qualify.”

Regardless, Mark still sees plenty of opportunity for first time buyers looking for a starter home which in some year will stand as a valuable asset to perhaps sell on and move to something bigger.

“You are seeing a significant increase in young people taking the plunge now to do that, buy a home for themselves now but with one eye on the future.”

Not yet 30, Mark possesses a keen interest in all things GAA. Working in a town synonymous with sporting achievement, this trait will no doubt aid the opening of many conversations. But Mark is really keen to impress his proactive approach and dedication to ensuring optimal outcomes for his clients.

Already he’s managed achieve some considerable returns.

In the window are rows of property ads already with ‘Sold’ or ‘Sale Agreed’ printed in red bold lettering. The turnaround from when a property hits the market to reaching sale agreed is as short as six weeks in some cases providing all the other moveable parts in such deals fit into place.


“We offer a wide range of property services. A lot of it is second-hand residential sales, with both lettings and land really strong too, which is something that has been going very well for us in Cootehill. We’ve been able to achieve some very strong prices for our clients, four-bed rural farm house now renting for €1,200 per month, or a three-bed detached on the outskirts of town here just gone for €1,250.

The fact is, if you’ve not priced something correctly, you’ll be looking at it sitting there a long time. That benefits nobody, not the owner and certainly not the renter.”

While the prices “may sound high”, they’re very much reflective of current market rates, underpinned by a housing shortage”.

“On one of those we essentially doubled the rent the owner was receiving previously. It’s my job to get the best price for a house, be it selling or renting. We take the hassle out of where they once maybe got the half 8 in the morning or late night call about something that’s happened. Any issues, they come through us.”

In some cases Mark has had upwards of 20 enquiries within a few hours of putting a property on the rental market; and for those successful, he says in three to four years time these clients will be ideally positioned to prove to a bank their ability to make repayments on a regular basis. “Yes they’re big rents, but people right now are happy to pay them. It’s the quality of the property too. We’ve a lot of very good properties on our books, good locations, and there will always be interest when they come available.”

One of Mark’s own key strengths lies in his ability to adapt, staying abreast of changing industry trends and economic indicators. He prides himself on staying up to date on all grants and benefits available on farm land and property to get the best outcome for his clients.

It’s not just the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ methods of house selling that Mark adopts. With new platforms appealing to different demographics, estate agents like Mark must stay up-to-date with all the latest trends, and adapt their strategies accordingly. Sure there are still handshakes and ‘For Sale’ flyers in the window, but Mark openly moves with the times, and by embracing social media has already seen market ready houses regularly racking up hundreds and even thousands of views online.

Up to 90% of Lawlor’s social media posts about homes for sale or rent lead to a enquiry.

The canny young estate agent is also looking five to 10 years ahead, when these twenty-something social media followers will then be a new generation looking to afford a deposit.

“Selling properties on social media has moved into new platforms.

“We use Instagram and Facebook on all our properties to expand our reach and promote what we have on our books. It’s a strong way of building a profile on the one hand, and for people too see what you have also.

“It’s the mid 20 to 30 year olds who engage mostly on Instagram, they’re your buyers, and often times with Facebook followers, an older generation generally, they’re your sellers. So it’s about bringing them together.”

Virtual reality tours

Another shrewd advancement encouraged by Mark, first launched by Lawlor Auctioneers during the pandemic years, was their ability offer of Virtual Reality tours of properties listed for sale, which can lead to an enquiry.

“It’s a huge progressive step for the industry.

It gives people unique access, something they maybe hadn’t had before. VR does let you measure, but when you’re standing in a property for real you get a better sense of size and space. A lot of buyers coming to us now having done the VR tours, you know they’re genuine. They’re not just coming for a nose.

“They know what they want, and it helps shorten the sales process.”

Mark concludes by saying he hopes the professional approach and ethos that embodies the work and service provided by Lawlors will gain the business and trust of the people of Cootehill and surrounding areas. “I’m delighted with how the office has turned out. It’s bright, it’s central, it has noticeably changed this end of town even having another business open here.

Again, it’s a busy town, no shortage of businesses, and that brings a big footfall, so I couldn’t be happier in that sense.

“The office here gives us an opportunity to make ourselves better known this side of Cavan, and I’m proud to play my role in that.

So from West to East, we’ll continue to be a name that people can reply on and trust.”

Official opening

The official opening of the new Cootehill premises will take place this Saturday, March 30, from 12:30-2:30pm when Pat Davitt, CEO of IPAV, will be the guest of honour. There will be plenty of fun and prizes and everyone is welcome.

Contact us

For more details contact Mark Lawlor in Cootehill on 0879277705, by email on, or visit