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Frequently Asked Questions

Please find answers to some common questions we receive regarding conveyancing matters. Click a question below to read the answer.

If your question is not here, please don't hesitate to call one of our friendly Conveyancing advisers who will be more than happy to answer your questions.

What is conveyancing?

Answer: This is the legal term given to the process of buying and selling property.

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Do your conveyancing services apply to the whole of Ireland?

Answer: Yes, we have acted for clients both purchasing and selling properties in all 26 counties of Ireland.

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Will I need to attend my Property Law Solicitors office?

Answer: Yes, we require at least one face to face meeting with all clients to ensure all money laundering requirements are met. All original documentation to include original identification documentation, up to date utility bills and evidence as to origin of funds must be furnished before we can act on behalf of any clients. After this initial consultation all of the procedure can be done by e-mail and post.

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Will I be able to speak to my Property Law Solicitor whenever I need to?

Answer: Yes. Phone number, e.mail address and fax details will be furnished for you to contact your Property Law Solicitor.

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How long does a normal Property Law Conveyancing transaction take?

Answer: There is no way of saying how long the transaction will take. It depends on many factors such if you are in a chain of transactions or how soon your mortgage is available. We will deal with your transaction as quickly as possible and keep you informed of progress. Normally once contracts for sale issue we will know the expected closing date. As a general rule it takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete a straightforward conveyance of a residential property.

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Why should I use a Property Law Solicitor?

Answer: We have extensive experience in the area of residential property law transactions with over 15 years experience. We have a streamlined and efficient service that ensures that your transaction is dealt with efficiently and without delay at an extremely competitive price. We deal with every transaction as if it is the most important transaction to us, because it is. We understand that the whole process of purchasing a property or selling a property is extremely stressful and we endeavour to take the stress out of the transaction on your behalf. We want you to give us a positive testimonial at the conclusion of your transaction and that will only be given where you have received a first class service.

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Do I need to pay anything up front?

Answer: The only monies to be paid up front is the booking deposit that is paid to the Auctioneer. This is 100% refundable in the event of the transaction not proceeding.

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What is a bankruptcy search?

Answer: If you are getting a mortgage to assist in the purchase of your property your lender will required a bankruptcy and judgment search against your name to make sure you have no bankruptcy orders or court judgments against you.

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What is a Planning Search?

Answer: A planning search is a search at the Local Authorities Planning Departments records against the specific property you are buying. It shows such matters as if the roads are taken in charge, if there is extension to the property for which planning permission has been obtained and many other matters relevant to the property.

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What is different when buying an Apartment?

Answer: When buying an apartment you are not only purchasing the physical Apartment but you are also going to become a member of the Owners Management Company (OMC). Prior to signing contracts for sale there is a significant amount of information that is sought on your behalf to ensure that the OMC is operating efficiently and that the financial status of the OMC is in a healthy state. By becoming an owner of an apartment and a member of the OMC you will become liable to discharge the annual service charge for your apartment. If you are purchasing an Apartment we will spend a considerable amount of time going over all documentation in relation to the Apartment in advance of your proceeding to sign contracts for sale.

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What is an BER Certificate?

Answer: This is a Building Energy Rating Certificate (BER) performed by an individual authorised by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The assessor visits the house to examine such things as loft insulation, boiler, hot water tank, radiators, double glazing etc. A single rating for the energy efficiency of the house is produced together with a recommended value of the potential for improvement. A BER Certificate must now be obtained before a property can be advertised for sale.

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What properties are exempt from having a BER Certificate?

Answer: Yes, there are exceptions for certain categories of buildings, e.g. protected structures and certain temporary buildings.
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What is a Land Registry fee?

Answer: This is the money paid to the Land Registry after the purchase of your property to register the property in your name and your lenders mortgage deed at the Property Registration Authority.

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What does leasehold mean?

Answer: Leasehold title is where you do not own the land on which the property is built. It is leased for a period of years on certain terms and conditions.

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What is a lease?

Answer: When the legal title to the property is leasehold this is the document which sets out the terms and conditions subject to which you will own the property. It will have numerous covenants between the lessor who owns the land and the lessee (the owner of property by lease). Most apartments are leasehold title and ultimately the owner of the common areas should correctly be the Owners Management Company

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What is a mortgage deed?

Answer: The document which acknowledges the debt to the Bank or Building Society who has lent you the money to assist in the purchase of the property.

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What is Stamp Duty?

Answer: This is a Government tax paid to the Revenue Commissioners when you have purchased a property. The current rate is 1% on properties up to €1,000,000.00.

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Who is liable for the Local Property Tax?

Answer: The Local Property Tax (LPT) for the property must be paid up to the end of the current year in advance of the closing of the sale. There will be an apportionment of the LPT from the date of the closing of the sale up to the end of the year and the purchaser will discharge to the vendor the sum due from the date of the closing of the sale up to the 31/12 of that year.

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Can I withdraw from my property transaction?

Answer: Clients wish to withdraw from transactions for several reasons. Examples include due to an adverse survey, or a problem with the legal title to the property. Provided contracts have not been exchanged ie you have not entered into a legally binding commitment to sell or purchase a property you can normally withdraw at any time without incurring any of the other side's fees.
Each transaction will depend on their own circumstances but we can advise you on your proposed course of action.

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When is a survey not a survey?

Answer: When it's a valuation. Most lenders will obtain a valuation on a property to decide whether they will lend. The valuation will normally be their own benefit even though the client has paid for it. It is imperative that the client knows the condition of the structure ( both inside and outside ) including the workings of the Property before exchanging contracts irrespective of whether they are obtaining a mortgage or not. A valuation survey is of little value as it does not include a check of the planning history of the property or check for breaches of the planning legislation. It is also questionable as to how detailed a structural issues are considered in valuation surveys.

We always advise strongly that you have a full property survey carried out by a suitably qualified engineer/architect with adequate levels of professional indemnity insurance

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Can I rent out my property or part of my property?

Answer: This will depend on the type of your mortgage you have but lenders should be notified at the outset. Beware that if you rent out your property your lending institution may change your residential mortgage rate to a commercial rate. You may also avail of the rent a room scheme where you can earn €10,000 per annum without incurring a tax liability. You will have to file the necessary revenue returns annually.
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When should I effect building and life insurance when purchasing a property?

Answer: The normal rule is that risk in the property passes upon exchange of contracts (referred to above).Therefore upon exchange you have an insurable interest and that's when building insurance for the property's full reinstatement value must be taken out not on completion.
Similarly any new or existing life insurance which needs to be increased should also be placed on risk at exchange not completion because in the event of any purchaser dying their estate will still be liable to complete the purchase but the estate would not have the funds to purchase the property.

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Do I need to make a will I because I have bought a house?

Answer: This is a personal choice. It would be advisable but there is no legal obligation upon you to. If you wish to make a will then we will be more than happy to take detailed instructions from you and proceed to draft a will on your behalf. The benefit of having a will is that it deals with your estate as you wish it to pass. Without a will often the expected intentions of an individual are not met, by a change in circumstances or by the strict application of the terms of the Succession Act. We can advise you fully in relation to making a will and we can draft it on your behalf to reflect your wishes.

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Searches? Do I need them?

Answer: Yes. Searches must be completed on both your behalf and on behalf of your lending institution to ensure that there are no legal burdens or mortgages affecting the title to the property or judgments registered against any individual with an interest in the property. We use the services of Dublin Law Searchers who carry out our legal searches for a fixed fee for both Land Registry and Registry of Deeds searches. This has resulted in a much lower cost for our client's law searches and this saving is passed onto our clients 100%.

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