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10 Legal Steps in Selling Your Property

Written by John Neville on .


Legal Issues involved in selling a house can be significant if you don't have the right Property Solicitor or conveyancing practitioner acting on your behalf. We now outline 10 simple steps involved in the sale of property by way of an explanation to an often complicated and technical process. If you need a low cost fixed fee conveyancing quote you can contact us today at 01-2300022 or by e.mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 Sold house Royalty Free Stock Images


1. How do I sell my house?      

There are three ways to sell a property. The first is by private treaty. This is the way the vast majority of properties are sold in Ireland currently. The second way that properties are sold is by auction. The third and least common way is to sell a property by way of a tender process. It is important to be guided by your auctioneer as to the best way to sell your particular property. Which method is the best will depend on a number of factors including the type of property, the demand for such properties in the area and such other considerations that any prospective purchaser will have.  This is why it is best to consult a professional in the area to see what the best option is for you. You should ensure that whatever auctioneer you decide to retain is highly recommended and has the requisite registration with the Property Registration Authority together with the appropriate professional indemnity insurance. No matter what method you use it is essential that you notify your solicitor of your plans to sell the property so that they may prepare the title documentation and the contract for sale. When we are instructed by our clients we will always set out what our fixed legal conveyancing fees are at the outset. Once we are engaged by our clients we commence the process of taking up the title documents to the property and preparing draft contracts for sale so that we are ready to go when that all important call is received informing us that you now have gone sale agreed with a prospective purchaser(s) that meet with your full approval. 


2. Do You Have a Mortgage on the property you are selling?

Most properties and houses these days have mortgages on them. If your house still has a mortgage on it you will need to give authorisation to us as your solicitors to take up the title deeds from your lending institution in order to prepare the Contracts for Sale. When we are acting on your behalf as your low cost conveyancing solicitors we will seek to take up the title documents from as early a stage as possible. We will check to ensure that everything is in order with the title documents and that there are no omissions in the title documentation furnished. We need to be absolutely certain that you have good marketable title to the property before we can issue the Contracts for Sale. It is our experience that quite often there are missing documents from the title documents furnished and we can rectify any such missing documentation once we have adequate time. This allow for the conveyancing process to run smoothly once you are sale agreed with the prospective purchaser(s). 

3. Preparing Contracts for Sale

The Contract for Sale is drawn up once the solicitor has received all the relevant documentation from you and the lending institution. Documents that we would be seeking from you as your conveyancing solicitors would include an up to-date utility bill, evidence as to personal identification such as a passport or drivers licence, recent mortgage account statement, evidence of discharge of the local property tax, evidence of discharge of the non principal private residence charge, the building energy regulations (BER) certificate, details of any development works carried out on the property and other such appropriate information that we will require as your property law solicitors to draft the Contracts for Sale. If we as your solicitors are preparing Contracts for sale by auction then we prepare all the documents in advance of the auction. We have a full booklet ready for dissemination to all interested parties and have included in the booklet the draft contracts for sale and a copy of all the title documentation. We leave the purchaser and purchase price blank until the auction is over. After the auction we immediately insert the sale price and the Purchaser(s) details. Once an individual is successful in the bidding on the day they have to be in a position to pay over the contract deposit there and then at a rate of 10% of the purchase price. There is no question or opportunity to seek to raise any further issues pertaining to the title documentation after the deposit is paid over. You are deemed to be on notice of all title defects on the date of the auction. This highlights how important it is to have a very skilled drafter of the Contracts for Sale by your conveyancing solicitor. It is a common feature of auctions that particular individuals may want to prevent the sale going ahead. To do this they may raise title issues before the Auction which might cause concern for other prospective bidders. Being fully prepared is the only way to ensure that no such event occurs if you are selling your property by way of an Auction sale.

4. Building Regulations and Planning Permission 

Any house built since the 1st October 1964 requires planning permission. We will as your property law solicitor make sure that the planning documentation is in order. As the seller of the property you don't need to do anything initially when the Contract for Sale are issued. However if you are aware that there has been an unauthorised development on the property since you acquired it then it will be necessary to prepare the necessary documentation from an architect or engineer certifying if such a development qualifies for an exemption under the relevant planning legislation. In our vast experience as conveyancing solicitors we find that about 50% of properties have some planning issues that need to be resolved. Our in-depth knowledge of the planning and building bye law legislation allows us to progress sales to a conclusion on behalf of our conveyancing clients. As you will now note it is very important that the planning documents are in order as early as possible before the proposed sale proceeds. We as your conveyancing solicitors are always delighted to be involved on your behalf from as early on as possible, even from the time of the decision to place the property on the market. We would always seek to have vendor clients complete a detailed property checklist at this initial stage. We also include our, "Fixed Price Conveyancing Fees Quote" with this initial questionnaire. 

5. Selling the Family Home

In all property transactions there must be compliance with the statutory protections afforded to both co-owning and non-owning spouses. The protections are those that are set out in the Family Home Protection Act, 1976. If you are selling your family home, even if it is in only one of the spouse’s names om the title to the property the consent of the other spouse is required. If both names are on the deeds then the problem does not arise, as both their signatures are required anyway. There is also a requirement to have the non-owning spouse to sign the Contract for Sale. On completion of the sale of the Family home both spouses will have to sign a Family Home Protection Act Declaration with a copy of the Civil Marriage Certificate being exhibited. 

6. Signing Contracts for Sale and Closing

The first stage of the contract process is when we as your conveyancing solicitor drafts up the Contracts for Sale and prepare copies of all the requisite Title documentation and planning documentation for the property. We take our clients instructions in relation to various aspects of the sale agreement and ensure that items such as agreed closing date, contents and any other particular matters of importance to our client(s) the vendor(s) is clearly set out in the Contracts for Sale. We then send the Contracts for Sale to the purchaser’s solicitor for signing. The Purchasers Solicitor will then raise what are known as pre-contract enquiries. It is our experience that the more work and effort put in by both  us as the Conveyancing Solicitors and our Vendors clients in preparing the Contracts for Sale leads to a minimal number of pre-contract enquiries. This has the effect of adding pressure on the Purchaser(s) to proceed to signing the contracts for sale where there is no basis for the Purchasers to use pre contract enquiries being outstanding as a basis to delay the return of executed Contracts for Sale. Once any pre-contract enquiries are dealt with the purchaser(s) solicitor will then ask the purchaser to sign the contract and pay the balance of the outstanding deposit. The contracts are then returned to our offices in duplicate. We make an appointment with our client(s) who will call to our offices to sign the Contracts for Sale in duplicate. One part of the Contract for Sale is returned to the purchaser’s solicitor. It is only at this stage that all parties to the original agreement to the property sale are contractually tied into the binding agreement for the sale of the Property.  

7. Post contract and Closing the Sale 

After the Contracts for Sale are exchanged the purchasers solicitors will then raise what are known as Objections and Requisitions on Title. This is a property title health check that must be responded to by the vendor’s solicitor. The vendor’s solicitor will prepare the documents for closing and if there is a mortgage we will obtain redemption figures from the lending institution. The vendor(s) will then sign the various closing documents and all necessary Statutory Declarations. On closing we will as the vendors solicitor will meet the purchasers solicitor and exchange the various closing documents for the balance of the purchase monies. At this stage as the solicitor for the vendors we will consent to the release of the keys by the auctioneers or if we are in possession of the keys we will release them directly to the purchasers solicitor. 

House Sold Stock Photos

8. Buying and Selling Properties at the same time

This is something that requires a significant element of skill and expertise in ensuring that both processes operate in tandem. It is important that we are informed at the outset the expected completion dates for both the sale and purchase of our clients respective properties. Our experience would tend to be that we would try to have both contracts for sale executed in tandem. Circumstances may dictate that this will not be possible. We will explain in significant detail all the legal consequences of proceeding with either the purchase or sale initially. It is not essential that both closings be on the same day, however this is obviously what most clients seek and that is what we would strive for on our client’s behalf. 


9. Selling a house and association liabilities 

If you are selling a house, which is not your main residence, then you must file a return in respect of Capital Gains Tax. If the property is your main residence then you are not liable for Capital Gain Tax where you are purchasing another main residence within a specified time frame. It will be necessary to obtain a Capital Gains Tax Clearance Certificate when you are disposing of a property and the purchasers solicitors will insist that this is available prior to completion on post completion where we as your solicitors give an undertaking to furnish the CG50 Clearance Certificate if the property exceeds the current threshold level as set down by the Revenue Commissioners. There is also liabilities that may accrue in relation to the property such as Local Property Tax. Non Principal Private Residence charge and service charges for properties in managed estates.



10. Costs involved in the Sale of a Property

The main cost involved in the selling of your property if you engage us as your solicitors will be that of your auctioneer. We offer a fixed low cost conveyancing fee to our clients which lessens the overall costs associated with the sale of your property. It is important to retain both an experienced auctioneer and solicitor as they both will have significant experience in the area and will know the procedure well. It is important to shop around and to discuss what you get for the fees quoted. Ensure that there are not going to be any hidden costs associated with your property sale. When you retain us as your property law solicitors you can rest assured that along with a fixed professional fee you also will get a highly professional service. Our aim will be that you will be so satisfied with the service we provided to you that you will recommend us without hesitation as your friends or families Property Law Solicitor. 

Call us for a quote on 01-2300022, e.mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or choose the Conveyancing Quote option and we will revert to you shortly. 


© 2014 John Neville and Company Solicitors, 2 Glenageary Road Lower, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin are fully bonded members of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland.