- Step 1 – Reservation
- Step 2 – Contract For Sale
- Step 3 – Searches & Requisitions on Title
- Step 4 – Completion
Buying a property in Ireland is fairly straightforward.
You are required to use a solicitor, but that is no surprise for someone used to the UK system and it should ensure that the property you are buying is thoroughly checked for any possible problems.
It’s also a good idea to have a buyer’s survey – as in the UK, this is a more thorough survey than the one carried out by your mortgage lender. It’s designed to pick up on anything you may need to spend money on or worry about.
Here’s a step-by-step overview of the buying process in Ireland.
Once you have found a property you would like to buy and verbally agreed the price with the seller or their estate agent, it is customary to place a small reservation deposit.
This is not binding, but should ensure that the property is taken off the market for a period, to allow your solicitor to prepare the initial “Contract for Sale”.
This contract for sale is a binding agreement between you and the seller.
It sets out the details of the planned completion date, the final balance due on that day and all of the checks and searches that must be satisfied for the sale to complete.
You will have to put down a 10% – 15% deposit at this point.
This deposit is non-refundable, unless a problem is found with the property that breaches this initial contract.
Step 3 – Searches & Requisitions on Title
Following the signing of the contract for sale, your solicitor will send the seller’s solicitor a document known as “Requisitions on Title“.
Although grand-sounding, it is simply a comprehensive checklist covering all fixtures and fittings in the house being sold.
The seller will have to indicate exactly what will be left behind and what will be included in the sale. This can be very useful – we have all heard of cases where kitchens, light-fittings and even wall sockets have unexpectedly been removed by the departing seller!
If it’s a family home, your solicitor should also check that a completed Family Home Protection Act document has been provided if required.
Once your solicitor gets back the completed Requisitions on Title and the results of any outstanding searches or checks, they will draft the final contract, known as the “Deed of Conveyance“.
Step 4 – Completion
Your solicitor will draft the final contract (Deed of Conveyance) for you and send it to the seller’s solicitor for approval. In most cases this should be a formality and once approved, you will be able to move to completion.
One the date of the sale, your solicitor should run searches on the seller to ensure that there are no current judgements against them (e.g. bankruptcy or Sheriff’s searches).
You will make the final payment and will then have to pay the closing fees.
Legal fees can vary quite widely in Ireland – there is no legally-required charging scheme for conveyancing and different firms have different charging policies, some based around the traditional percentage fee, and some quoting a flat rate.
Your main cost on completion will be Stamp Duty, especially if you are buying a fairly expensive property.
Irish Stamp Duty ranges from 3% – 9%, based on price and several other factors:
- First-Time Buyer?
- Owner-Occupier or Investor?
- New or Resale property?
- Floor space (new properties only)
It’s best to find out what level of Stamp Duty will apply to your property fairly early on, as the cost can be considerable.
For more on this please see this “citizen information” website on Irish Stamp Duty