Selling a house
1. Find a solicitor
You will need to have a solicitor in place to sell your property. If you have a mortgage, your solicitor must request your title deeds from your lender. It can take between four and eight weeks for your lender to issue the deeds. To avoid unnecessary delays instruct your solicitor to request the deeds as soon as possible.
If you don’t have a mortgage, give your title deeds to your solicitor. Once the solicitor has the title deeds he or she will investigate the title and see if they need to apply for any documents in order to complete the sale.
Solicitor’s fees can vary a lot and may be either a percentage of the price of the property, or a flat fee. You will usually be charged additional fees for services like phone calls, postage, search fees and registering deeds. So, before you choose a solicitor get several written quotes that include their professional fees and other costs.
See our Finding a Solicitor guide for more information
Finding a solicitor (PDF 130Kb)
2. Get a Building Energy Rating (BER)
A BER certificate is required if you are advertising a home for sale or rent, or before a new home is occupied for the first time. It shows how energy efficient your home is and checks energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting. Your home is rated between A and G, with A-rated homes being the most energy efficient. . You will need to have this before working with an estate agent.
For more information on BER ratings you can go to the website of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
3. Find an estate agent
While it is possible to sell a house privately, most properties are sold with the help of an estate agent. The estate agent will value your property, arrange any advertising and co-ordinate viewings, as well as being involved in the completion of the sale in conjunction with your solicitor.
All estate agents must be registered with the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA). Check that your estate agent is registered. If you need to make a complaint about an estate agent there is a complaints process that can be followed on the PSRA website.
To help you pick the right estate agent, it can be helpful to ask a few questions before deciding:
- How much will they charge for selling your property?
- What are the advertising costs? This is often paid up front and separate to overall fees charged by the estate agent. It can include photos, online advertisements, and brochures.
- Where will they advertise your property?
- Ask for examples of similar properties sold in your area.
- What is demand for similar properties in the area like?
- Have they any recommendations on how you can improve your property to help attract interest?
- What level of support do they offer during the sales process? How often they will update you, for example after viewings?
- How much do they think your property will sell for?
- If you enter into a contract with them, how long will the contract last?
Percentage fees for an estate agent can vary between 1% and 2.5% of the final sale price of the property. On a house that sells for €250,000 this is the difference between €2,500 or €6,250. Value Added Tax (VAT) will also need to be added bringing the cost up even more.
Remember you are in charge when it comes to selling your home. Talk to a number of different estate agents before you decide on one, and make sure that you are comfortable with the person, cost and the support they will offer throughout the process.
Once you have selected an estate agent, you will enter into a contract with them. The contract will set out the terms and conditions of the sale, including all costs. It should also include a copy of the Property Service Agreement. The Property Service Agreement is a statutory document published by the PSRA and all licensed agents in Ireland must give you a copy at the outset of the relationship.
Some contracts will include an exclusivity clause where the estate agent acts as the only seller of your property for a period of time. Make sure you are happy with the timeframe outlined in this clause as it may limit your ability to move to another agent if you are not happy with the service or if circumstances change.
4. Prepare for the sale
Give the estate agent a full list of all contents that will be included in the sale, for example furniture, appliances, blinds, as well as any damage or repairs needed to the property that will not be completed prior to the sale.
It may be a good idea to get an engineer’s report completed on your property before you put it on the market to highlight any issues. By giving this information to a potential buyer at an early stage of the process, it could reduce the possibility of the buyer looking to negotiate the price down after they conduct their own survey.
If you used the First Home Scheme to buy your house, you should also contact them to see what fees will be charged.
5. Bidding Process
When offers start to come in it can be tempting to accept the highest bid offered, but there are a number of other factors that you should consider.
- Has the buyer got mortgage approval? Your estate agent should confirm whether the buyer has their mortgage approved in principle. Ask for a copy of their approval letter. If they don’t have approval, this means that they still have to apply and might be declined by the lender which could result in the sale being delayed, or possibly falling through.
- Has the buyer got their deposit? Confirm that the buyer has their deposit in place. This will help ensure that the sale is not delayed or falls through at a later date.
- Does the buyer need to sell an existing property? If you are not dealing with a first-time buyer, they may have to sell their own property before they can buy your property. Ask to see a signed contract for the sale of the other property which should give you some assurance that there will not be any undue delays with the sale going through.
- Are they a cash buyer? Some buyers may be in a position to buy your property with cash. This could mean that the sale could go through relatively quickly.
When considering the bids on your property, think about all of the above before making a decision.
6. Sale Agreed
Once you accept an offer, the property is sale agreed and the buyer will need to pay a booking deposit to your estate agent. Booking deposits vary – they can be a specific amount, such as €5,000, or a small percentage of the offer made. This can be agreed with your estate agent. The booking deposit is refundable up until contracts are signed.
Your estate agent will prepare a document of sale details and send this to both the buyer’s and your solicitor. This document contains details of the price, conditions of the sale, the estimated closing date – the day the house sale will be completed – and the names and addresses of all those involved in the sale.
Finally it is time to complete the last steps of the process. You will need to attend your solicitor’s office to sign the transfer deed and other documentation that may be required to complete the sale.
You will need to provide proof of payment of household charges and LPT (Local Property Tax). This is generally handled by your solicitor. For more information on LPT visit www.revenue.ie.
In addition, if this is not your principal private residence, proof of payment of NPPR (Non Principal Private Residence charge) will be required for the years the charge applied (2009 – 2013). For more information on NPPR visit www.nppr.ie
Your solicitor agrees a final closing date with the buyer’s solicitor. This is the day you will hand over title deeds and keys and the balance of the sale price is sent to your solicitor.
If you have a mortgage, your solicitor is obliged to pay it off from the sale proceeds and any balance is transferred to your account after your solicitor has deducted all the agreed fees relating to the sale.
Last updated on 3 October 2022
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