What steps can you take to ensure that the sale of your Home in Ireland goes as smoothly as possible?
We are often consulted by clients who are selling their property looking for advice on how to close the sale of their property quickly. As a result, we have prepared a guide of issues to be addressed. We are available to discuss anything in this guide and our contact details can be found here.
1. Consult your solicitor.
While this may seem obvious when selling your home, many people instruct the Estate Agent first and only approach their solicitor once they have a buyer of the property. If you are looking to have the sale concluded in the shortest time possible, your first call should be to your solicitor.
Delays occour when your solicitor has to wait for your title deeds to be delivered from your Bank or, when received, issues arise in relation to the title which need to be resolved prior to the Contracts for Sale issuing.
In the current climate, purchasers get nervous if there are delays in the issue of the Contracts for Sale so the best course of action is to call your solicitor before you put your property on the market so that when you find your buyer, everything is in place.
2. How you are going to sell your home?
This can be by (1) private treaty or (2) by auction. The pros and cons of each method of sale are best discussed with your Estate Agent.
In respect of Auctions, the only difference (from a solicitors point of view) is that the Title Documentation and the Contracts for Sale must be available for inspection to all potential bidders in advance of the auction. If you have followed the advice in No. 1 above, then this will not be an issue.
3. Get you Title Deeds.
The vast majority of houses in Ireland have mortgages attached to them. If your house has a mortgage, then it is necessary for your solicitor to take up your Title Deeds from your Bank.
This is done on “Accountable Trust Receipt”. You (as the borrower) give permission to your solicitor to take the Title Deeds from the Bank and, in turn, the solicitor promises the Bank that they will not to release the Title Deeds to anyone (unless its connected to the sale of the house) and if the sale does not proceed, return the Title Deeds to the Bank.
The Title Deeds are necessary to (1) confirm your title (ownership) of the property is in order and (2) prepare the Contracts for Sale.
4. Review of your Title Deeds.
This is the most important step in the conveyancing transaction. In analysing the Title Deeds, your solicitor will be able to establish (1) any issues with Title, for example missing documents, (2) establish if there are any burdens/rights of way or other matters which could effect the sale of the property, (3) check that all of the planning documentation is in place.
Once reviewed, your solicitor can advise you on whether there are any issues that need to be addressed prior to the issue of Contracts for Sale, dealt with as special conditions within the Contract for Sale or can be dealt with after completion.
5. Get a Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate.
Every house in sale must have a BER certificate. This will be provided with the Contracts for Sale or else prior to closing.
6. Resolve your tax issues.
There are a number of tax matters that relate to each house sale in Ireland. There are a number of particular taxes that must be paid prior to closing or discharged after closing from the proceeds of sale by way of an undertaking given by your solicitor. Theses taxes are even more important if you are conducting a negative equity sale as you will need permission from your Bank to deduct these funds from the proceeds of sale. For more on negative equity sales, see our blog post here.
The taxes are as follows:
a. Local Property Tax (LPT),
b. Household Charge,
c. Non-Principal Private Residence (NPPR) tax.
Confirmation of payment (LPT and household charge) and Certificate of Discharge (NPPR) will have to be provided on or after closing.
You should also provide your PPS No., Property ID and PIN No to your solicitor for you LPT online account so that the payment confirmation page can be printed out and given to the purchasers solicitor.
You should also note that if the property is not your principal private residence, then you may be liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and you should contact your account or financial adviser to clarify the position.
7. The sale of the “Family Home”.
If you are selling a property in Ireland, you must produce a Declaration which deals with The Family Home Protections Act, 1976, the Family Law Act, 1981, the Judicial Separation & Family Law Reform Act, 1989, the Family Law Reform Act, 1995, the Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996 and the Civil Partnership & Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010. The Declaration is known as an “FHPA Declaration”.
Within the Declaration you confirm the status of the property – whether its a family home (as defined with the Acts), not a family home or if its a shared home )within the meaning of the Acts.
You will also have to exhibit a copy of your State Marriage Certificate so you need to provide the original to your solicitor in advance of closing.
8. Property Questionnaire.
During the course of a conveyancing transaction, the Purchasers solicitors will provide a document to your solicitor know as “Requisitions on Title”. The document is a long questionnaire covering every aspect of the property. The replies to these questions are obtained from (1) the Title Deeds and (2) from you, as the Vendor.
In order to ensure that this stage of the process is dealt with as seamlessly as possible, we issue all of our clients with a short property questionnaire, the answers to which will allow us completed the Requisition on Title on your behalf.
9. Selling & Buying on the same day.
Unfortunately, the ability to do so (in the absence of bridging finance) is severely limited. Invariably, Banks will require the first mortgage (for the house you are selling) to be discharged in full prior to releasing the funds to purchase the second house.
Due to the delays in processing transactions, it is not possible to pay the funds to the credit of your mortgage account and obtain both (1) confirmation of discharge of the Mortgage and (2) receipt of the purchase monies from the Bank on the same day.
So what are your options if you want to move form one house directly into another?
Firstly, you could obtain bridging finance to allow you to complete the purchase while the funds discharging the Mortgage on your first house clear. Banks are reluctant to provide such finance but it would very much depend on your relationship with your Bank.
Secondly, you could enter the new property on a caretakers agreement while you await both your discharge funds to clear and your Mortgage funds to issue. This would require the Vendor of your new house agreeing to enter into such an agreement.
Thirdly, you could accept that there will be a number of days where you will be “between” homes and you can have your removal company place your items in storage for a number of days pending the purchase of your new house completing
At O’Kelly Solicitors, we have the experience and expertise to guide you through the various issues that arise in the course of selling your home in Ireland. We offer clear, concise advice and are available to answer any questions you may have.
We offer fixed price transaction costs and the details of our fixed fee conveyancing can be found here.
So if you are considering selling your house in Ireland, call Mark O’Kelly, the principal of O’Kelly Solicitors directly on 086 7889753 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options. You can also contact us directly through our website here.