Guide to buying a property in Ireland
1. Find your home
In today’s market the purchaser has the upper hand in negotiating a sale price. A vendor is more inclined to accept an offer from a purchaser who is a cash buyer or with a pre-approved loan offer (often called approval in principal). Obtaining a mortgage in the current market is difficult and we would strongly advise clients to use the services of a recommended mortgage broker who will provide professional advice in relation to repayment amounts, interest rates, terms and insurance policies.
2. Sale Agreed
Once you find your ideal home and place an offer that is accepted, you are sale agreed. At this stage the estat eagent will confirm that your offer was accepted and will request a booking deposit. It is very important that you ensure that the booking deposit is handed to the agent and that the receipt clearly confirms that the matter is subject to contract and that should the matter not proceed you will be refunded your booking deposit immediately and without any deductions whatsoever. This booking deposit will be refundable up until the point that you sign contracts for sale.
3. Contracts issued
Once the agent obtains the booking deposit he will issued a sales advice notice to both the vendors solicitor and the purchasers solicitor. It is at this point that you will be required to appoint a solicitor formally. The vendors solicitor will issue contracts for sale to the Purchasers solicitor together with a copy of the title to the property.
4. Loan Offer
Before signing contracts it is important that you receive a full loan offer from the bank. A formal loan pack will issue to your solicitor which will include a letter of loan offer that will set out the terms and conditions of your loan. You must make absolutely sure that you can comply with any special condition contained in the loan offer and should go through these in detail with your solicitor before signing the loan documentation.
It is strongly recommended that you have a full survey carried out to the property before signing contracts. A purchaser buys a property in Ireland as is and so if major defects are later discovered ie structural issues, plumbing, wiring etc. the purchaser has no recourse. It is important to have a surveyor also check whether any extensions or works were carried out to the property and if so to provide a list of these works to your solicitor so that they can ensure the relevant planning documentation is furnished in relation to these works.
6. Sign Contracts
On receipt of the contracts and copy title documentation your solicitor will have checked title and most likely have raised a number of pre contract queries in relation to the property. Once your solicitor is satisfied with the title produced and you are happy with your surveyors report you are then in a position to sign contracts. A further deposit will be required at this stage which together with the booking deposit usually totals 10% of the purchase price. The contracts are returned to the vendors solicitors and once countersigned and exchanged the contracts are fully binding.
Your solicitor will have further legal work to carry out after the exchange of contracts in the form of requisitions on title which is a lengthy questionnaire on title. Your solicitor will also draft the deed together with ancillary documentation where required. The vendors solicitor replies to these queries and also approves the draft deeds from your solicitor.
If you are purchasing a new property a completion notice will be sent to your solicitor to confirm the property is ready to close. On receipt of this notice you should around to snag the property which is basically the preparation of a list of unfinished works. Once the snag list is complete you are ready to close.
If you are purchasing a second hand property, the closing date will have been decided between the parties and placed in the contract for sale. Near the closing date your solicitor will prepare a closing statement setting out costs and outlay of the purchase in order for you to deliver the balance of funds to your solicitor for closing. Your Solicitor will receive your loan cheque and will lodge same a number of days before closing to ensure funds have cleared in time for the completion date.
Closing takes place in the vendors solicitors office. Your solicitor attends on the day and receives the fill title, keys or an authority to release keys addressed to the estate agent after handing over the funds.
You will then attend with your solicitor to sign the title documentation and collect your keys. Closing is will then have formally taken place.
After closing your solicitor still has some work to do. They must pay the relevant stamp duty with the Revenue Commissioners. Once paid they must then register the deed with the relevant registration authority. Registration can take a number of months to complete.
9. Return deeds
Once registration has completed, your solicitor will schedule the title deeds and return them to the bank who holds the deeds for the full term of the mortgage.