HOW TO BUY

Budget

It is important to evaluate all costs involved in buying a home, for example, mortgage costs, legal fees, registration of deeds and stamp duty. If you have calculated that you can afford to buy a property taking into account all of these costs, then you are ready to buy.

Apppoint A Solicitor

Conveyancing is the legal work involved in buying or selling property. Conveyancing charges can vary between solicitors, so it is worth contacting several solicitors to compare prices. You can use the Law Society’s website to find a solicitor in your area.

Obtain A Survey

A seller is under no obligation to disclose defects in a property. You should get a survey of the property to find out if there are any defects before finalising the purchase. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) is the professional body for chartered surveyors.

Mortgage Approval

Very few people can buy a home without getting a mortgage. A mortgage is a long-term loan secured against the property you buy. This means if you don’t repay your mortgage you may lose your home.

There are different types of mortgages and different mortgage providers. Contact a number of different mortgage providers to find out who can offer you the best deal. More information on mortgages and choosing the best one for you is available from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

You can get mortgage approval in principle before you start to look for a property; this will let you know how much you have to spend. However, when you find a property you like, you must get formal mortgage approval before you sign the contract for sale (see below). If you sign a contract for sale and subsequently don’t get mortgage approval, you will lose your deposit and there may be other penalties.

Contract Of Sale

The contract for sale binds the parties to the completion of the sale. If you withdraw from the sale after this contract has been signed, you may lose your deposit. If you buy at auction you must immediately sign the contract for sale. If you buy through private treaty your solicitor will check that the contract is in order before you sign it.

In the case of new developments this contract for sale usually includes “building agreements” as most properties these days are sold and developed by the same company. In the past, but now rarely, one company would sell land to a buyer and a different company would build on it. In such instances, the contract is actually a “contract for sale and building agreement” but in almost all residential sales, a contract is simply known as a contract for sale. The completion date will be set out in the contract and the balance of the agreed purchase price will be due on that date.

Deed Of Conveyance

After signing the contract and before the completion date of the sale, your solicitor raises some general queries about the property with the seller’s solicitor. Requisitions on Title are a standard set of questions relating to the sale of a property that deal with such things as whether fixtures and fittings are included in the sale.

When your solicitor gets a satisfactory reply to Requisitions on Title, a Deed of Conveyance is drafted by him or her and approved by the seller’s solicitor.

Your solicitor makes arrangements for searches to be made against the seller to ensure that there are no judgements lying against the seller (for example, bankruptcy or sheriffs’ searches). Your solicitor should also conduct a search where the title to the property is held (either in the Land Registry or the Registry of Deeds) to ensure that there is nothing adverse attaching to the property, for example, an outstanding mortgage.

Once the Deed of Conveyance is approved by the seller’s solicitor, your solicitor will contact your mortgage provider to request the issue of the approved loan cheque. This is the remaining balance of the purchase price. It is paid to the seller’s solicitor and all documentation, and keys to the premises are handed over to your solicitor.

Stamp Duty

Your solicitor will calculate how much stamp duty is due and request this from you before the closing of the sale. The stamp duty is paid to the Revenue Commissioners, who place a stamp on the deeds. Without this stamp, the deeds cannot be registered. The deeds name the owner of the property.

Deeds

Once a sale is completed, your deeds, showing the new ownership details and mortgage details, if relevant, must be registered with either the Registry of Deeds or the Land Registry. The Property Registration Authority (PRA) is responsible for both systems of registration.

Your solicitor will continue to assist you with finalising the deeds to your house with the PRA. This can take from months to years to complete. Even if it does take a long time, you are still the owner of the property and, if you wish, you can sell the property before registration is complete.