Buying A Home In Ireland - FAQ
1. What should my first step be when I decide to buy a home?
Carefully budgeting your funds and knowing your financial situation is the first thing anyone considering purchasing a property should do. Calculate the funds at your disposal, get your current home evaluated for equity, and get a quote from a solicitor of all the costs involved in the purchase of your new home. Getting pre-approved from a lending institution will only help your situation when you've located a property you wish to buy. Information on your current situation when going in to buy a home is your best tool for a smooth transaction.
2. I know my financial situation. What's my next step?
Contact a solicitor and open a file to start the transaction proceedings. Your solicitor will be instrumental in the process from here on out.
3. I've decided on the home I want to buy. What happens now?
Once you've been approved and decide to go through with your new home purchase, your next step will be to pay the booking fee to the Estate Agent. These fees vary widely depending on many factors, but range from €3,000 to as much as 3%. This money can be refunded up until you sign the contracts. Once received, the details of the transaction are sent out to all parties involved in the sale.
4. What is in the details of the sale?
The sale details are prepared by the Estate Agent. They are then sent to you, your solicitor, and the builder's solicitor. The sale details contain vital information about the transaction, including the price, the estimated closing date, the conditions of the transaction, and the names and contact information for all parties involved.
5. Once everyone's received the sale details, what happens?
The solicitor hired to work on behalf of the seller will – after receiving the sale details – issue the contracts. All contracts are sent in duplicate along with a copy of the title deeds to your solicitor.
6. When does my lender send my money to pay for the house?
Once you've been pre-approved for the loan amount, your solicitor will be sent a formal loan pack for you. After your solicitor has gone over the loan pack and discussed all the details with you, there will be some documents to sign before the lending process can proceed.
7. Now that I have the loan, what happens next?
After your solicitor has gone over the contracts, you will need to meet with your solicitor to pay the contract deposit (minus the booking fee) and sign the contracts. With new houses, you may not have to pay the full 10%, but instead pay a smaller, reduced payment known as a “stage payment.” The amount of the “stage payment” is detailed by the Estate Agent at the beginning of the transaction, and should happen within 3 weeks of paying your deposit. You solicitor will then return the contracts and building agreements, and contract deposit or stage payment to the seller's solicitor.
8. What happens after the deposit is paid and the contracts are signed?
Next, the seller's solicitor will return one copy of the contract and building agreement, which creates a binding agreement for everyone involved.
9. Why do I need all this insurance?
Mortgage Protection – or Life Insurance – is required by all lenders. If you or your partner should die before full repayment on the mortgage, this insurance covers the outstanding amount on the mortgage, at the very least, depending on the terms of the policy. Home Insurance is also a good idea to protect your new investment against fire, theft, or other damages. This process can take a while, so be sure to allow for the time for the insurance procedures to be completed.
10. I've signed my contracts and exchanged them. What happens now?
Once the contracts have been exchanged, your solicitor will return the loan acceptance and other documents to the bank or building society.
11. I've heard that there's some title work involved. What is it?
There is a lengthy questionnaire for raising requisitions that your solicitor will handle. Once completed, these documents and a draft purchase deed are sent to the seller's solicitor. Once the seller's solicitor receives the requisitions, he or she replies in writing to your solicitor and approves the deed.
12. My solicitor's just received a “completion notice.” What is that?
A “completion notice” is a document that your builder sends to you and your solicitor. The receipt of this document begins the time period in which completion must be finalized. Upon receipt of the completion notice, you will “snag” the house; that is, perform a formal inspection to ascertain that the house has been finalized. During this inspection, you will make a list of unfinished parts of the house. This list is known as the “snag list,” and it is done in duplicate so that you have one and the site foreman has another one. In a few days, check with the site foreman to find out if all the items on the “snag list” have been completed. This process is repeated until all the items on the list have been completed. Once the house has been completed to your satisfaction, you should contact your solicitor to let him or her know.
13. What is “closing?”
Closing happens as soon as all query raises have been completed, the requisitions are met, and all other matters are finished to the satisfaction of all involved parties. During this time, check with your bank or building society to ensure that every detail has been handled and all is ready for your cheque to be issued. Delays can easily be caused by not taking out life insurance or fire insurance in time. During closing, your solicitor prepares a statement that details the balance needed to complete the purchase. This will be sent to you prior to the completion process so that you will have a measure of time to send the funds to your solicitor. This amount will include any allowances agreed upon between you and the seller.
14. When do I get my loan cheque?
Your loan cheque is usually delivered to you prior to the completion date.
15. When do I pay?
Besides the instances listed above, the last time you pay is after you've received your loan cheque, which you generally receive prior to completion. You bring this money to your solicitor in the form of a bank draft. This bank draft should be made payable to your solicitor before the completion date.
16. What is completion?
Completion is the formal finalization of your home purchase. The formalities take place at the seller's solicitor's office, but you need not be present at this meeting, as your solicitor represents you. At this meeting, your solicitor will check the vendor's title and signed documents. At this point, your solicitor will tender the balance of the purchase price. Once this is received, your solicitor will be given the keys to your new home. If your purchase has been a second-hand purchase of a new home, the site foreman is contacted via telephone following the completion, and informed to release the keys to you. You collect your keys from the site foreman.
17. I thought “completion” was the end of the process. Why are there more documents to sign?
The purchase deed is only available to be signed by you after closing. Due to strict time constraints for stamp duty, the purchase deed must be signed immediately following closing.
18. What is stamping and registration?
After you've signed the purchase deed, your solicitor will stamp the purchase deed and mortgages. Next your solicitor will register these documents with the Land Registry or Registry of Deeds. Depending on the county and property, this process can take months or even years.
19. What happens at registration?
Once your documents have been recorded, you become the registered owner of the property with the Land Registry or the Registry of Deeds. While legal ownership of the property passed to you on completion of the purchase, the registration process will take 6 months or longer. The delay in registration does not, in any way, say that you are not the legal and beneficial owner of property; you can sell a property even if registration is not finalized.
20. When do I sign the deed?
On the completion of the registration process, you solicitor will return your title deeds to your bank or building society. Included with the title deed is a certificate that confirms that you have received a marketable title. Generally, you are notified of registration completion and that the title deeds have been returned. This is the last step in the process, and your solicitor will close your file.
The goal of our firm is to provide honest, courteous and diligent representation while striving to keep your legal costs down and making the legal process as easy as possible on you.
Call us for a no-obligation consultation
Explore our law articles and learn more about us
Rest easy knowing your case is in experienced hands
* In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or a proportion of any award or settlement.
The solicitors at Damian Nolan & Co.,
Solicitors (incorporating William A.
James & Co.)
have more than 40 years of combined experience
in the following areas of law:
Residential conveyancing, commercial conveyancing, criminal law, trial law, drink driving representation, family law, divorce, separations, child custody matters, personal injury*, business law, wills and probate, civil litigation*, employment law, defamation, civil litigation*, and much more.