Whether you decide to sell your property yourself or use an estate agent, you will find in today’s climate it can be difficult to sell your property. When you do secure a purchaser you need to ensure that you are in a position to issue contracts immediately. You will find that you will not always necessarily sell to the buyer who offers the most money. You may wish to take into account whether the buyer:
(a) is a first time buyer;
(b) if they have to sell their own property as part of a chain; or
(c) is paying cash instead of having to getting a mortgage.
We are a specialist legal practice with particular expertise and experience in all aspects of property transactions. Our aim is to ensure that the process of selling your property is as smooth and straightforward as possible with the minimum of stress.
Steps to selling a house or property
1. APPOINT A SOLICITOR
When you are planning to sell a property, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible so that we can arrange to take up with title documents. If you have a mortgage in place over the property the title documents will be with your bank or financial institution. By taking up the title documents, we can draft a contract for sale in anticipation of a sale to ensure that there is no delay once you are sale agreed on the property.
If you have made any extensions or alterations to your property you should let us know. Depending on the extension or alteration it may be necessary to get an architect or engineer to furnish a Certificate or Opinion on compliance with planning permission unless all such developments took place before 10th October 1964 and building regulations. Any house built since the 1st October 1964 requires planning permission. We will need to make sure that all planning documentation is in order. It is very important that the planning documents are in order before the proposed sale. By taking up the title documents which contain the planning documents at an early stage, any problems can be discovered and hopefully rectified as soon as possible. A purchaser will be advised to obtain the services of an engineer to compete a structural survey therefore any difficulties will raise its head. A potential purchaser may decide not to proceed with the purchase on discovery of difficulties, therefore it is best to start the process of selling your property as early as possible.
2. HOW TO SELL YOUR PROPERTY
There are two ways to sell a house – by selling your property directly yourself or through an auctioneer/estate agent. An auctioneer will sell your property by private treaty or by auction. Your auctioneer will give you advise as to the best way to sell your house.
3. OBTAINING A BER CERT
Since the 1st of January 2009, a Building Energy Rating Certificate (BER Cert.) has become compulsory for all homes and commercial properties being sold or rented regardless of the age of the building. The law sets out very clearly that both a seller and their agent must provide a BER certificate to all prospective purchasers of properties.
What is Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate ?
A BER Certificate is a rating of the overall energy efficiency of a building. The rating is on scale of A to G, with A1 being the most energy efficient and G being the least energy efficient. It contains the following information on each certificate: the name and address of the building, the BER number, the date of issue of the BER Certificate, the date until when the BER is valid and the BER assessor number and the BER assessor company number. A BER enables a purchaser to understand the overall energy efficiency of a building that they are purchasing.
How long is a BER Certificate valid for?
A BER Certificate is valid for a period of up to 10 years from the date of issue. If there are changes to building which will affect the energy rating of the building then a new BER Certificate will need to be obtained.
How can I get a BER report for my house?
A BER is carried out by trained BER assessors, registered by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI).
What will happen if I do not obtain a BER for my dwelling as required by law?
A criminal law sanction may apply if you do not comly with the BER Certificate requirements. If you are selling or renting your property and your building is not exempt and you do not obtain a BER Certificate, you will be liable on conviction in the District Court to a maximum fine of €5,000. But from the point of view of the sale of your property, a BER Certificate is a necessary requirement so failure to obtain a BER Certificate as soon as possible will result in a delay in the completion of you sale.
Are any buildings exempt from having a BER Cert?
Yes, there are certain buildings exempt from obtaining a BER certificate. The main exemptions are: National monuments, protected structures; new dwellings (for which planning permission was applied for on, or before, the 31st of December 2006, and where substantial work has been completed by the 30th of June 2008); new buildings,(for which planning permission was applied for on, or before, the 30th of June 2008, and where substantial work has been completed by the 30th of June 2010), certain buildings / dwellings developed subject to the requirements of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.
4. PREPARING THE CONTRACTS FOR SALE
We draft up the Contract for Sale on your behalf once we have received your title documents. A Contract for Sale contains the following details:
- The details of the parties to the contract.
- The purchase price and the deposit.
- The closing date.
- The contract will also list the title documents and planning documents
- The contract then continues with a number of standard conditions, which we will go through in detail when you attend the office to discuss matters.
Once a sale is agreed, the auctioneer will take a booking deposit from the purchaser. The amount of the booking deposit can vary and often depends on the sale price of the property. It is important that you note that a booking deposit is refundable until such time as contracts are signed by both you and the purchaser.
Once the Estate Agent/Auctioneer receives the booking deposit they will issue a Sales Advice notice to all parties involved, which include you, the purchaser, us and the purchasers solicitor. When you receive a copy of the Sales Advice notice you should contact us to ensure that we have also received a copy.
The Sale Advice Notice contains the details of the parties involved in the transaction, the sale price of the property, closing date, conditions of sale eg certain contents included in sale price, or certain conditions that the purchaser must comply with eg obtain loan approval or it may contain conditions that you must comply with eg fix window etc .
We will issue a contract for sale and forward title documents to the purchaser’s solicitors. It is common for the purchasers solicitors to raise certain queries on receipt of contracts and title documents. We will deal with the queries on your behalf. Included with the contracts are planning documents. Houses built after the 1st October 1964 require planning permission. If you are aware of any problem with planning permission let you solicitor know as soon as possible.
After the purchaser and the purchase solicitor are satisfied with the contracts. The contract and deposit is then returned to our office. The deposit paid is 10% of the purchase price, you can deduct from this any booking deposit that you have already paid to an engineer. It will be necessary for you to attend our office to sign the contract in duplicate. One part is then returned to the purchaser’s solicitor who will then raise requisitions on the title, which have to be responded to by the vendor’s solicitor.
This creates a binding agreement between you and the purchaser to complete the sale.
6. REQUISITIONS ON TITLE
The purchaser solicitors draft the deed (which transfers the property into the purchasers name) and raises various questions on the title of the property, ownership of the property and other questions in relation to the property. We will reply in writing to the purchasers solicitors to these series of questions, these are know as requisitions on title.
Once all queries raises and the Requisitions have been satisfied and all matters are dealt with a closing date and time is finalised to either parties are agreeable too or which has been agreed on the outset and written into the contracts. If you have a mortgage over your property we will request up to date figures on the amount required to redeem your mortgage. If the amount you owe on the mortgage is more than the sale price you will need to contact our office before you sign contracts and the bank to see what arrangements can be reached in relation to the balance due. You should be contact with your bank
We will prepare a Statement setting out a detail statement of accounts on completion of the sale of the property. This is sent to you in advance of the completion in order that you can deliver the balance of funds to your Solicitor.
We will all the documents for closing and if there is a mortgage we will obtain redemption figures from the lending institution. It will also be necessary for you to attend the office prior to the closing to sign various closing documents that will be required.
8. CLOSING THE SALE AND HANDING OVER THE KEYS
The completion of your sale takes place in our offices. It is not necessary for you or the purchaser to attend at the closing. We finalise matters in relation to your sale on your behalf. At this stage, you will have to ensure that the property has been cleared of any contents, not including any contents which have been agreed to be left as part of the sale and included in the contract for sale. Once the purchaser solicitor is happy with all title documents, the purchaser’s solicitors will furnish the balance of the purchase price and we will release the keys of the property to them.
9. FINALISING MATTERS
If you have a mortgage this is redeemed immediately out of the sale funds. If you are selling a house, which is not your main residence (your principal private residence), then you may be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax. If the property is your main residence for the entire period of ownership of the property you are not liable for Capital Gain Tax.
What about Capital Gains Tax?
If you are selling a house, which is not your main residence (your principal private residence), then you may be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax. If the property is your main residence for the entire period of ownership of the property, then you are not liable for Capital Gains Tax.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a tax charged on the capital gain (i.e. profit) made on the disposal of any asset. It is payable by the person making the disposal not on the person receiving the property. The gain/profit is the difference between the price you paid for the property and the price you sold it for. The difference is considered taxable income. The current tax rate is 33%. Put very simply, if you acquire a house that is not your principal private residence say for €100,000 but later sell it for €200,000, then you have made €100,000 and tax is payable on this gain.
Tip: when matters finalise in relation to the sale of your property you should always consider making a will or reviewing your will.