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Property | Legal Guides

Selling a home is a large and complex transaction. What may seem to you to be a simple straightforward sale can go badly off the rails unless it is properly planned. 

Therefore, it is important to involve your solicitor at the earliest possible moment. If you take steps to sell your home before consulting your solicitor, you are risking delays and difficulties. You could, as a direct result, incur unnecessary expense, delay and worry.

How your solicitor can help

Your solicitor can advise you in relation to the following matters:

  • Pre-contract matters: location of title documents to your home, obtaining these from your bank on Accountable Trust Receipt (ATR) if necessary.
  • Having the contract for sale drafted in advance.
  • Agreement on a timeframe for the sale, such as auction date and closing date for giving vacant possession.
  • Review of title to identify any potential difficulties, such as alterations or extensions without either planning permission or consents under building regulations.
  • Whether you should accept an offer which is “subject to loan” and, if so, on what terms.
  • Identification of contents to be included or excluded from the sale.
  • Advice as to whether you can commit yourself to purchase another home before the sale of your own home is completed – and, if so, what financial and other complications are involved.
  • Estimating of the total cost and expenses which you will incur in the sale (including legal fees, VAT, other outlays), estimating budget for the transaction.

Your solicitor will also look after the following:

  • Exchange of contracts.
  • Drafting closing documentation.
  • Explaining title searches.
  • Closing the sale.
  • Post-closing matters - paying off any loan and obtaining a deed of release / discharge of loan from your bank.

What you need to do

Matters that you will need to look after include the following:

  • After you see your solicitor, you will need to deal directly with your auctioneer regarding placing your home for sale, the necessary Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate (for information see www.seai.ie), any contents included in the sale and negotiation of the terms of sale (including the auctioneer’s fees and advertising expenses).
  • Before closing, you will need to attend to closing any utilities accounts.

Before seeing your solicitor:

  • Do not take a deposit.
  • Do not sign anything for anybody.
  • Do not permit occupation by anyone until the sale is completed.

Seeing your solicitor

When seeing your solicitor, please:

  • Phone for an appointment before arriving at the office.
  • Bring with you photographic evidence of your identity such as your passport or driving licence and a document with your permanent address, such as an electricity bill or bank statement sent within the last three months. This is needed under anti-money laundering regulations [link].
  • Bring with you any documents relating to the sale, including:
    • Your title deeds if you have them.
    • Any papers or Vesting Certificate if you bought out your ground rent.
    • Details of any building work you did to your home including planning permission.
    • Your mortgage account number if you have a mortgage.
    • Your state marriage certificate if you are married or civil partnership  registration certificate if you are in a civil partnership.
    • Your separation agreement or judicial separation order if you are separated.
    • Your decree of divorce if you are divorced, or your decree of dissolution of civil partnership if you were in a civil partnership that has been dissolved.
    • Your PPS number and tax type (whether PAYE, income tax other than PAYE, VAT, etc).
    • Evidence that any Non-Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge due for 2009 to 2013 has been paid. For information on this issue, see www.nppr.ie.
    • Your LPT property ID number for Local Property Tax (LPT) and evidence that any LPT due for 2013 onward has been paid. For information on this issue, see the Revenue website.
    • Evidence that the Household Charge due for 2012 was paid. For information on this issue, see www.householdcharge.ie.
    • If your home has a septic tank, bring a valid certificate of registration with Protect Our Water (to be given to the purchaser). For information on this issue, see www.protectourwater.ie.
    • If your home is on a group water scheme, up to date receipts for payment.
    • If your home is a flat/apartment or is in a managed development / property, details of the managing company and/or managing agents, and an up to date receipt for service charges and a copy of any house rules.
    • Results of any radon testing carried out on your home, together with details of any remedial work or other alterations carried out to reduce radon levels. For information on this issue, see www.epa.ie.
    • Make a note of the questions you wish to ask your solicitor.
    • If you need to cancel an appointment, please phone and tell your solicitor.