So, you have found your dream home and it is situated on our lovely little island. “Where do I start and how can I keep the costs down?” is a question we get asked almost daily. We understand that buying a property is expensive. There are lots of costs that you simply cannot avoid, such as Stamp Duty, registration fees or a professional valuation. This might lead you to think about other ways you can save and whether you can save on legal fees. Can you buy property in Ireland without a solicitor? Is DIY conveyancing a thing? Let me explain why you should always instruct a solicitor before purchasing a property in Ireland.
Most people buy a property with the help of a mortgage. If you are getting a mortgage, then your lender will require that you use a solicitor to handle the conveyancing side of things. In other words, it is mandatory that you have a solicitor and you will not be allowed to continue without one.
While with a cash purchase there are no legal restrictions placed on how you should proceed, instructing a solicitor to best protect your interests is really necessary.
All purchasers buy a property subject to the Latin phrase “caveat emptor”. This translates to “buyer beware”. This means that a seller does not have to tell you about defects in a property. We therefore always advise that you would first obtain a survey of the property that you are purchasing. So, before you finalise the purchase, a survey of the property will find out if there are any defects. The survey will help highlight any issues you may not have been aware of on first sight of the property. For example, if your surveyor finds that the roof needs to be replaced, you could change your offer to account for this, or decide not to buy.
Once you are satisfied with the survey and you are happy to proceed with the purchase, the next step would be to instruct a solicitor.
Instructing a solicitor
Your solicitor will handle the conveyancing aspect of the sale. Conveyancing is the legal work involved in buying and selling property. Conveyancing fees are not something that you should be looking to cut back on. Having an experienced conveyancing solicitor on your side is money well spent. Importantly, your solicitor will be in a position to investigate the title to the property that you are purchasing. This means that your solicitor will check that the sale of the property is legal, that the person who is selling the property owns it and has the right to sell it, and that nobody else could claim to own it. It is vital that on the purchase of the property, you would obtain a good marketable title and that you are buying on paper what you think you are buying on the ground. Your solicitor is best placed to determine this for you as they are trained in this investigation and manage it on a day-to-day basis.
Contract for Sale and accompanying documents
The next important step is the issuing of Contracts for Sale, Requisitions on Title and Title Documentation to you. When you instruct a conveyancing solicitor, you are hiring a legal expert whose job is to protect your best interests. They do things like carry out searches to ensure the property is safe and secure. They also check the title to make sure there aren’t any restrictions, rights of way or covenants that you don’t already know about. Your solicitor will handle all the legalities of the transaction. This includes drawing up the contracts, transferring funds to the seller, recording your purchase with the Land Registry and managing the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax. The Contract for Sale is a hugely important document that binds the parties to the completion of the sale. If you are not properly advised on the contents of the contract then it may lead to you signing up to something that you would not knowingly have agreed to. If you sign and later discover something about the contract and if you withdraw from the sale after the contract has been signed, you may lose your deposit and be liable to be sued for specific performance under the Contract.
A property purchase is not a straightforward matter. Mistakes can be particularly costly when buying a property.
In short, buying a property without the valuable assistance of your solicitor may be the biggest mistake you make and lead to you losing out on your dream home. Your solicitor will protect you and will minimise the risk of mistakes being made.
Wolfe & Co LLP are well equipped with a number of experienced conveyancers. We are here to advise you in any way we can and look forward to assisting you with the purchase of your dream home.
By Aislinn Collins Solicitor
This article is for general information purposes/general overview only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We recommend seeking legal advice to interpret and advise on any aspect of the law.
April 2023 Wolfe & Co. LLP Solicitors
Market Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork - web: www.wolfe.ie
Tel: 028-21177, e-mail: email@example.com