10 Tips when buying a Residential Property

    sponsored feature by Cahir & Co Solicitors

    10 Tips when buying a Residential Property

    “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” ― Confucius, Chinese philosopher

    When you are planning to buy a property it is important you plan a schedule ahead of time for the things that you need to do to you’re your dream property and progress your purchase .

    It is a long process but understanding the process and working with experts minimises stress and maximises the speed with which you can deliver what you need to the various parties involved whether it might be solicitors , auctioneers , engineers ,architects or builders or banks .


    The following guide is not exhaustive but gives you a list of priorities to begin to think about and start to create your plan for property success.

    1. Investigate the neighbourhood

    Explore the neighbourhood as much as possible and get a feel for the area and its residents. Familiarise yourself with what services / amenities are nearby.
    Is there good quality broadband available? What are the nearby Schools like? What amenities are essential to you and your needs?

    Establish if the Houses or Apartments in the area are owner occupied or if the area inhabited by renters long or short term. That information is usually an indication of whether people are happy to live long term in an area.

    We would recommend that you visit at different times of day and evening to get a feel for the traffic in the area particularly in the mornings and evenings. If you are looking to buy in an estate you should pay particular attention to the common areas . Are they well maintained and in good condition, is the grass mowed? Try to establish also if there is an active Resident Association in the neighbourhood or Neighbourhood Watch. Are there schools , shops and other amenities you may need close by or are there travel links available to an urban centre bus , train or tram ?

    2. Inspect the property thoroughly

    When viewing the property do not be afraid to check the running water , flush toilets and run taps. Check the attic for water tanks . Make sure you check that the lights and electrical sockets are in working order. Make sure there are as many as you need or will you need to add more. Locate the Septic Tank if the property is on a standalone site and ensure it is in the grounds of the property.

    If the septic tank is located the adjoining neighbour’s field ensure that there is a Grant of Easement or Right of Way registered to it. Has the tank been registered and desludged or emptied regularly. Does the Septic Tank needed to be upgraded? Look at the boiler system check its age and condition.

    Check to see if it was serviced regularly, and if it is on its last legs how much will it cost to replace? What contents are included in the sale? You should make a list and agree this with the Auctioneer it may only be fixtures but be specific we see acrimony arising where there is a lack of clarity .

    3. Do your Sums & Check your Finances

    Once you have viewed the property and agreed the price, you will be required to pay a booking deposit with the Auctioneer. It is vital that you do your sums and ensure you have factored in all the costs with the purchase. Stamp Duty for residential property is payable to the Revenue Commissioners at 1% of the Purchase Price up to 1 million. This is in addition to your solicitor’s fees, which will attract VAT at @23% .T

    here are other outlays such as Property Registration Authority Fees, Surveyor Fees, Law Searches, and Planning Searchs payable to other parties during the transaction and your solicitor will pay them on your behalf. After the booking deposit is paid the next payment is when you have to pay the balance of the 10% deposit due on signing the Contracts. You will sign the Contract at this stage and this is when the contracts become binding

    4. Retain a Solicitor

    Your solicitor will give you a preliminary estimate of professional fees, the administration outlays, stamp duty which will be based on the value of the property as will the registration fees payable to the Land Registry to assist you to budget for the transaction at the outset. The solicitors will deal with raising any precontract enquiries on foot of the contracts they receive and your solicitors will inspect the Title documents furnished.

    They will ensure that the Title is in order and that they are satisfied you have good marketable title to the property. Please ensure that you give your solicitor’s details to the Bank and Broker if you have one to ensure that the Mortgage Pack issues to them in a timely manner.

    5. Get a Structural Survey

    When buying a second hand property it is highly advisable that you retain an engineer or surveyor to carry out a structural survey on your behalf before signing the Contract for Sale. This should be a full structural survey. The Mortgage Bank (if you are obtaining finance) will carry out a valuation however this is not a survey and cannot be relied upon by you.

    Remember a structural survey is recommended as the vendor is under no duty to disclose any physical defects with the property! Therefore the principle of caveat emptor or “buyer beware” applies and a survey will identify any issues such as dampness, loose roof tiles, poor insulation or a flood prone area. Also ask your Engineer to comment on the quality of any extensions or home improvements and if they required planning permission.

    A detailed house survey is well worth the price because it will give you, the home buyer, peace of mind. If the building survey turns up little wrong with the home, you will be able to move in to your new home worry free. However, if the building survey finds serious problems, then the few hundred euros invested in your building survey could end up saving you many thousands of euros.

    6. Planning Search

    It is worthwhile to have a planning search carried out by your solicitor or engineer or you can visit the Local Authority to see what plans are there for the area you are proposing to buy in? Is there a new road being planned or a large housing development nearby? You might decide that the proposed developments will negatively impact on your enjoyment of the property or decrease the value of your property. Be informed before signing Contracts.

    7. Service Charges

    If you are buying an Apartment or chose to buy in a development which is under the control of a Management Company it is usually a legally binding condition of Sale that you will become a member of the Management Company and pay the annual service Charges. Service Charges are not optional! All multi unit accommodations need to have a Management Company . The costs charged out by the management company to the owners of the units usually includes items such as landscaping and maintenance of common areas such as carparks, footpaths and common internal areas, service charges for utilities and cleaning and it will also include a charge to put in an account called a sinking fund .

    The sinking fund are funds held on account for really big costly repairs needed over time .Other matters the management company will deal with are the maintenance and service of the lifts and stairwells,the electricity and lighting costs in the common areas, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms for the common areas as well as refuse collection and recycling. Most importantly the block or building insurance and public liability insurance is a matter for the management company. It is still advisable to take out your own contents insurance annually. The service charges are usually charged annually and the figure will depend on the budget prepared by the managing agents or management company committee.

    8. Overseas Purchasers

    If you are buying a property in Ireland for the first time you will need a PPS number. This is a seven-digit number which can be obtained through the Client Identity Services. This number will be needed when your solicitor is paying over the stamp duty to the Revenue Commissioners. It is advisable to apply in a timely manner for the PPS Number to avoid delays. See http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Personal-Public-Service-Number-How-to-Apply.aspx

    9. Mortgage Pack

    If you are obtaining a mortgage to buy a property it is a condition of your mortgage that you obtain life cover and home insurance. Apply for Life Cover either with the Bank with whom you’re obtaining your mortgage from or shop around to get competitive quotations. Please note that both items will need to be in place and have the interest of your Mortgage Bank noted on both of the policies before the Mortgage Bank release the mortgage funds to your Solicitor to complete the purchase.

    10. Post Completion

    Once the sale is completed it is necessary that you update or make your Will. You have purchased a new Asset and it is important that you make adequate provision in your Will. Talk to your solicitor about making a Will or updating you Will and updating your address etc. After the completion of the Sale, it is the purchaser of the premises who is obliged to notify the relevant water services authority of the change of ownership of the premises. This is relevant if you have purchased a property with a Septic Tank only. Purchasers can notify change of ownership: By email to [email protected], or By post to Protect Our Water, PO Box 12204, Dublin 7. You must register your name as owner or the Property Registration Tax.

    Finally the last few steps .Your Solicitor will send the stamped Deed to the Land Registry. They make an application to the Property Registration Authority (P.R.A.) to register the Title to the property in the name of the Purchaser(s).

    Once the property is registered in the name of the new owner and a first legal charge is registered in favour of the financial institution (if applicable) the title documents will be listed so that a record of all the title documents received on closing are available and recorded on the file. Where there is a Mortgage your Solicitor will have given an undertaking to your Lender to return the title documents as security to the bank.

    When the property has been registered in the P.R.A. your solicitor will schedule all the title documents and the Solicitor will deposit the original title documents with the bank that gave the mortgage where they will be held in safekeeping and until the mortgage has been paid off

    If you have any questions please contact Cahir and Company Solicitors at 0656828383 or email any of our solicitors [email protected] [email protected] or [email protected]