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Buying a home? Here’s what you need to know

If you’re actively looking to buy a new home, now’s the time to seek out a property conveyancing solicitor — they handle the legal transfer of property ownership. A solicitor works in your best interest to oversee the legality of the sale and to ensure the protection of your legal interests during the entire transaction. For many people, this will be their first real experience of engaging with a solicitor. Here’s what you can expect.

Agree of sale

The conveyance usually begins at the office of the auctioneer. As a purchaser, you will be required to pay a booking deposit for the house to an auctioneer. As this is not a binding agreement, the deposit is fully refundable. Your next step is to instruct a trusted solicitor like Martin A Harvey & Co. Solicitors to act on your behalf in the sale of the property. If the property is not new, your solicitor should advise you to have a full structural and planning survey carried out by a qualified architect or engineer. This is an essential step as ‘Buyer Beware’ still operates as the law today. So once the contracts are signed, you agree to take the property as it was at the time of the sale.

Dealing with your bank

The seller’s solicitors will draft Contracts for Sale for the property and send them, along with the Title Deeds, to your solicitor. If you’re taking out a mortgage, the financial institution will generally require you to instruct a solicitor as the bank will send the mortgage documents directly to them for review and your signature.

The pre-contract enquiries

Your solicitor will then investigate the title documents for issues relating to planning and environment searches, rights of way, or the responsibility for maintaining the property’s roads and services. Once the contracts are signed, you will obtain a ‘good marketable title’ to the property. This is a key condition of the financial institution for their loan offer as it means there will be no issues if you wish to sell the property later.

Contract of sale

The solicitors on both sides of the sale help negotiate the terms of the contract. After all terms have been agreed to and the title to the property thoroughly investigated, then the contract is signed. Now both parties are bound to complete the sale. This is when you pay a ‘contract deposit’— generally agreed as being 10% of the purchase price of the property less the booking deposit. A closing date for the sale will be agreed between the parties. In addition, your solicitor contacts the lending institution on your behalf for the drawdown of the loan funds. Note, the financial institution will often require you to take out life and home insurance policies before releasing the funds.

Closing the sale

On closing day, the seller’s solicitor will carry out ‘closing searches.’ These are Judgement, bankruptcy, Revenue and Sheriff searches which are carried out on both you and seller. Once satisfied with the results of the searches, your solicitor will release the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor. Then you’re given the keys, and you can now officially move in!

Stamp Duty & Registration of Title

The final stage of the conveyancing process involves the stamping of the Transfer Deed and registering the title with the Property Registration Authority. If you are in need of a trusted property conveyancer, call Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors at 021 496 3400 or email at maharvey@martinharvey.ie. We will be happy to assist you.

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