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We at John C. O’Donnell Solicitors Galway have been helping people buy and sell property since 1932.
We offer a full range of services when it comes to property whether you are a first time buyer an owner occupier, an investor or wish to change your current mortgage provider we will be there to guide you through the process.
Buying a Property
Buying a property is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life. A bad buy could have consequences for you and your family for many years to come.
You should always contact a solicitor first. Always remember the auctioneer works for the person selling the property while your solicitor works for you and is there to look out for your interests.
Properties are normally sold by private treaty or auction.
If you are considering purchasing a property and are unsure how the process works or what the payment of a booking deposit means please contact our office and we will explain the process to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions the only stupid questions are unasked questions.
We can explain all the government taxes and charges you will have to pay such as Land Registry fees, Stamp Duty and search fees.
If you are buying a property it is important that you have it checked by an engineer before signing contracts however you don’t need to have it surveyed before you pay the booking deposit. It is not until you have signed contracts that you have to complete the sale. Until contracts are signed both parties are free to walk away from the sale.
You should never sign contracts until such time as your solicitor has had a chance to review the contracts and the title of the person selling the property to make sure they have good marketable title.
What is sale by private treaty?
Most properties in Ireland are sold by private treaty in Ireland. It operates as follows.
You see a property you like. You contact the auctioneer and put in a bid(how much you are willing to pay).
If other people are interested in the property the auctioneer will check to see if they can beat your bid. This process can go on for a days or weeks depending on how many people are interested in the property.
If your offer is accepted then you will be asked to pay a booking deposit normally around €5,000 to €7,000 and to confirm the who your solicitor is.
Contracts and title documents are then sent by the solicitor for the person selling to us at this stage various queries may be raised by us on the title produced. If you are getting a loan we would be insisting that the contract be made subject to loan. Until such time as contracts are signed you are free to walk away from the property. The person selling however is also free to walk away.
Once we have confirmed title is in order you should have your engineer carry out a full planning search and also carry out a structural survey. All second property is sold on the basis of buyer beware it is therefore vital to have the property checked by an engineer.
Buying a Property at Auction
I want to buy a property coming up at auction what should I do?
We would always recommend if you have never been to an auction before (and most people haven’t, so you are not alone) to attend an auction you have no interest in buying a property at just to see how the process works. Then when you are attending an auction where you want to buy a property the whole progress won’t seem so strange. After attending the auction you may have some questions and if you do please contact us.
If you are considering buying at auction it is vital that you contact us as soon as possible before the auction to allow us to contact the solicitor for the person selling the property so we can examine the title and contracts. It is too late to contact us after you have signed contracts.
Have your finances in place and be ready to close the sale. If you are considering buying a property at auction and you are relying on a loan to purchase it if for some reason the bank withdraws its loan offer you will lose your deposit and may be pursued through the courts for the balance of monies. Ideally you should be a cash buyer when buying at auction otherwise there is always a risk you will lose your deposit if you cannot complete the purchase of the property.
If you are attending an auction you will have to pay 10% of the purchase price on the day if your bid is the highest and the reserve has been reached(only the auctioneer and the person selling know what the reserve price is). The auctioneer will announce once the reserve price has been reached.
Please telephone our offices and we will answer any other queries you may have.
STEPS TO SELLING A PROPERTY:
Are you planning on selling your property what are the steps you should take now?
- Locate the Title Deeds to your property: If you have a mortgage on your property there is a strong chance that your title deeds will be with your bank or they may be still with the solicitor who acted for you when you purchased the property.
- Once you have located your title deeds what next? Contact us to arrange an appointment by phone/in person or by virtual meeting such as Zoom. We can arrange to take up your title deeds from your bank or previous solicitor. We will draft up the necessary forms and can either meet you in person or send the form to you electronically or by regular post for signature and return. Please note the banks generally require a hardcopy of this document called an authorisation. It is important to this early and ideally before you have actually put the property on them market or a buyer is found. It can take banks up to six weeks to send out title deeds from the date they receive the authorisation which can result in a delay in the sale or the sale actually falling through because of this delay. We will be able to give you an estimate of our fees at this stage.
- Confirming Title is in Order: Once title deeds are received, we can then review title to the property to confirm it is in order. We will be able to confirm our fees estimate once we have reviewed title.
- Contents: Do you want to take the contents of the house with you or are they included in the sale? You should consider this at this stage. If the property only is being sold you will have to sell the property with ‘vacate possession’ which means the house should be fully cleared out including the attic and only have fixtures and fittings left when the sale closes.
- Appointing an Auctioneer: Once title has been reviewed and it is confirmed same is in order you should then instruct an auctioneer to place the property on the market. They will advise you on the best method to sell the property. You will need to agree the auctioneer’s fees at this stage too or should request details of their fee from them. Many auctioneers’ fees are based on a percentage of the sale price.
- Sale Agreed: When the auctioneer finds a buyer for the property and the price has been agreed by you the property is now ‘sale agreed’. This means that both parties are have agreed that the sale should proceed but either party may pull of the sale until such time as contracts are signed and deposit paid. Until contracts are signed the sale is SUBJECT TO CONTRACT/CONTRACT DENIED. You should also try and agree a closing date at this stage. A trouble-free sale normally takes 4/5 weeks as a rule of thumb.
- Property taxes: If you are selling a property which is not your family home (house you rented out, shop unit or other commercial building) then Capital Gains Tax may arise on the sale and if you have an accountant you should talk to them at an early stage. How much tax is payable will depend on the what you paid for the property/value you inherited the property and what price you sell it at. Capital Gains Tax is payable on the difference between the two with a number of allowance which your accountant will be able to advise you on more fully. Other property taxes that will need to be paid up to date are the Local Property Tax, NPPR and Commercial Rates.
Call us or email us now to discuss your options with an experienced property solicitor.
Out of office hours appointments available.