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Property Law Property Purchases and Sales

Buying a property in Ireland-step by step through the purchasing process

Buying your first property and unsure of what to expect? Let’s take a look at the various steps in buying your property.

Two things you will need to do from the outset are:

 a) arrange finance with a lender, 

b) find the right property. 

Assuming you have succeeded in doing this you will have to pay a booking deposit to the estate agent when you go ‘sale agreed’ on the property you have chosen.

This booking deposit is fully refundable and is held by the estate agent in his client account pending completion of the transaction. If for some reason it does not complete and the sale/purchase falls through you will have no difficulty with the return of the deposit to you.

Once the estate agent has received a booking deposit you will have to tell the auctioneer who is your solicitor in the transaction. She will then issue a sales advice note to the solicitors acting for both you and the vendor. 

Issue contracts

The vendor’s solicitor will then issue contracts and copy title documents to your solicitor. 

Your solicitor will review the contract and documents furnished and raise queries which arise from the documents. 

These queries may include issues about planning permission, building regulations, access to services such as water and sewerage, taxes such as LPT and NPPR tax etc. 

Meanwhile you will need to ensure you have secured finance from the lender. Once you have a firm loan offer a loan pack will be sent to your solicitor.

Your solicitor, if satisfied with replies to any queries he has raised, will ask you to attend his office to sign the loan offer and bank documents together with the contract for the sale of the property. 

Contract deposit

It is at this point that you will pay the balance of the contract deposit. 

The contract deposit is 10% of the purchase price but you will be able to deduct the booking deposit you have paid from this sum and that is what you will pay when you sign the contracts.

By way of an example, let’s say the purchase price of the property is €250,000 and you have paid €5,000 as a booking deposit when you went sale agreed.

10% of €250,000 is €25,000. Subtract the €5,000 booking deposit and you will be paying the balance of €20,000 when signing the contracts.

The contracts are then returned to the vendor’s solicitor and the acceptance of the loan offer is returned to the bank.

Things will then progress towards completion of the transaction with an agreed closing date. The vendor’s solicitor will get the vendor in to sign all necessary documents, including the transfer of the property to you, and will send all title documents to your solicitor just prior to closing day.

Meanwhile, you will have been attending to the requirements of the lender which will include signing a direct debit mandate and the putting in place of life assurance and home insurance.

Completion of the purchase

Prior to completion your solicitor will ask you to put him in funds to complete the transaction. 

He will take into account the loan you will be receiving and will have to account for funds for  stamp duty, Property Registration Authority fees, your solicitor’s professional legal fee, and any other outlays.

On closing day it is advisable for you to carry out a pre closing inspection.

Once everything is in order and your solicitor has received all documents of title your solicitor will transfer the balance of the purchase price to the vendor’s solicitor and will requisition legal searches.  

On closing day your solicitor will ask the vendor’s solicitor to certify the searches and once this is done and the vendor’s solicitor has received the balance of the purchase monies the sale will be complete and you will be able to pick up the keys of the property from the estate agent’s office.

Post completion

After completing the transaction your solicitor will pay the stamp duty on your behalf and register the transfer and mortgage with the Property Registration Authority. 

Once the transfer is registered all title documents will be sent to the lender who will hold them as security for the mortgage on the property.