Buying a house can be a wonderful and exciting time. But it is also a complex legal process with many potential pitfalls, and can feel confusing and intimidating. At Hickey Dorney, our friendly team of property and conveyancing solicitors are experts in all aspects of the house buying process. Here we share with you our simple six step guide to buying a house in Ireland.
1. Choose your property
Although this may seem an obvious place to start, there are many considerations to factor in. It’s not only a case of finding a property that you like; it’s finding one that also fits your budget. Do your research by thoroughly auditing your living expenses and your savings. Use an online mortgage calculator to get an idea of how much you may be able to borrow. Another important consideration about a prospective property is considering its worth as an investment. Will it hold its value when it comes time for you to sell it? Are there any developments planned locally that will affect its value, such as a new road, or perhaps something that could increase its value, such as greater demand for housing in the area?
2. Get a survey
When you have found a property you think you would like to buy, you should get a survey on it. This is to uncover any defects that you have not noticed. A professional surveyor will detail the condition of the property, and should make you aware if there are any elements that need your attention, for instance if the roof will need replacing, or if there is a potential structural problem. You should allow in your budget for any essential work that may need to be done; maintenance work on the property may be a condition of your mortgage offer.
3. Making an offer
Once you have established your budget and have found a suitable property, it’s time to get your property solicitor on board. You will give them formal permission to represent you and to receive the title deeds of the property. If your offer is accepted, your solicitor will proceed with the legal steps to transfer ownership. This will begin with you putting down your deposit. Your deposit is refundable until contracts have been exchanged, which means if there is a problem you can still back out. Your solicitor’s job here is to advise you of anything that might affect your purchase, checking for any planning issues, rights of way, or anything else you need to be aware of. Your solicitor will also examine the terms of the contract very carefully, to be sure you know exactly what the terms of the sale are.
All house sales in Ireland are governed by the Land and Conveyancing Reform Act 2009. This Act requires any sale of land or property to be evidenced in writing. This means a record of the parties involved in the sale, the price paid, and the property itself. It has become standard practice to use the Law Society’s established form of particulars and conditions of sale to fulfil this requirement. This means the contract includes information about everything from the deposit to warranties including information about planning permissions and previous documents that have been shared between the sale parties. The contract will also include the all important closing date – the date on which the deal will be finalised, the deeds exchanged, the money paid, and the keys handed over.
Your conveyancer must carry out property searches on your behalf. These are designed to check for any issues which may affect the sale. Some will need to be made before the contracts are finalised – these are the planning search, the licensing search (if the property is a pub or hotel), and the compulsory purchase order search. Others are made on the day of closing – these are the land registry search, the company search, the judgement search, bankruptcy search, sheriff and revenue sheriff searches, and the registry of deeds searches.
Before finally getting those keys, there are various costs for a prospective buyer to account for. Stamp Duty will need to be paid, and the amount will depend on the value of the house.
There will also be fees for the searches as well as the solicitor’s fee. There is a cost involved with registering the deeds, and it is also the buyer’s responsibility to put adequate insurance in place as soon as the purchase is completed. A conveyancing solicitor will be able to guide you through each of these processes in order to make sure your purchase goes smoothly.
Contact Hickey Dorney
If you are looking for a property solicitor in Cork, look no further than Hickey Dorney. We are a friendly local firm of specialist property and conveyancing solicitors, and can help everyone from first time buyers to those purchasing their forever home. Whether you are selling your first home or buying your dream house, call Hickey Dorney for expert advice today.