Property FAQ2022-05-01T18:46:00+01:00

Purchasing, selling, mortgaging or leasing residential or commercial property is an important step requiring a high level of qualification and expertise.

At Thomas Barry & Co.: 

  • We are a team of professional, highly experienced solicitors, with a track record of over 30 years in property conveyancing.
  • We feel our 5-star Client Testimonials speak for us.
  • Over 90% of our new business comes from referrals.

Our goal is to provide a personal, friendly, client-focused approach and to guide you confidently through every legal step of the process.  We pride ourselves on being accessible, responsive and contactable. Our property law team have extensive experience in dealing with all legal matters relating to property & conveyancing for both domestic & commercial clients. We take the time to understand your needs and will guide you through the process to ensure the transaction runs as smoothly as possible.

Property Sales FAQ

Why Do I Need a Solicitor?2022-02-21T11:08:58+00:00

The solicitor, not anyone else (e.g. the estate agent), handles the legal aspects of the sale.  We deal with the purchaser’s solicitors’ title and contract investigations and the technical and drafting issues needed to steer the sale to closing.  Throughout the process we protect you, the vendor, from becoming responsible for obligations you cannot or should not undertake.

Does it Matter If I am Located outside Dublin?2022-02-03T12:36:19+00:00

No.  We act for clients throughout Ireland and abroad.

Our team has adapted and works very effectively from both remote locations and in-office.  While you are welcome to call and sometimes face to face is better, practically everything can be done remotely and conveniently over the phone, email, post or on Zoom calls.

When should I contact Thomas Barry & Company?2022-02-21T11:11:32+00:00

You should speak to us before you put your property on the market. The key to successful conveyancing is being ahead of the game and getting the right pieces into the right places at the right time.  As many of the initial legal steps can be completed in advance, by consulting us at the start you will significantly reduce delays and minimise stress.

How long will it take to sell my property?2022-02-21T11:58:27+00:00

This depends on a number of factors including whether you have started the legal work on your side early enough, whether you are involved in a chain transaction and whether the Purchaser’s side has everything in order.  If everything is in  place the standard residential conveyance takes approximately 6-8 weeks after going “sale agreed”.

How does the Conveyancing Process Work?

The diagram below shows the five main stages in the Conveyancing Process for a typical residential sale.

What documents do I need to provide in order to sell my property (includes instructions on how to navigate Local Property Tax website)?2022-02-21T15:34:58+00:00

The checklist below sets out the documents required in the majority of cases.  By closely following it and sending us the required documents early you can really save time and effort.

Digitally scanned/photographs of documents sent by email are acceptable to get going.  Original hard copies of nos. 1 3, 7, 8, 10 and 11 will need to follow.

  1. Authority to Thomas Barry & Co take up Title Deeds from Financial Institution.  We will send you this.  The Authority needs to be returned to us signed with any missing details (such as your mortgage account number) filled in so we can access your title documents.  Until we get and review your title documents the legal process cannot start.
  2. Local Property Tax (LPT) – The “Property History Details” page (specifically this page and not any other page from the website) is required for the sale. For instructions on how to get this page online, go to the end of this page.  If you do not currently have a property id and need to request one, go to https://lpt.revenue.ie/lpt-web/views/login.html?execution=e1s1 and enter your PPSN at the bottom of the page.
  3. For properties owned between 2009 – 2013, an NPPR (Non Principal Private Residence) certificate of discharge OR exemption is To obtain yours, email your local authority (FAO Finance Department) with your NPPR Account Reference Code and property address to request a cert.  If you don’t know your Account Reference code, go to http:// https://www.nppr.ie/Login.aspx  and click on “Lost Account Ref” and follow the instructions on the site.
  4. A copy of your State Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificate/Divorce Decree/Death Certificate (as applicable). If you need to apply for one, go to: https://www2.hse.ie/services/births-deaths-and-marriages/get-certificates/get-an-irish-marriage-certificate-online.html
  5. BER certificate and advisory report for the property. It is compulsory (with some limited exceptions) to supply a BER Certificate and Report when selling a home.  See https://www.seai.ie/home-energy/building-energy-rating-ber/
  6. Planning documentation. Usually one of the following is required:
    1. No Developments since property acquired – declaration to be signed by you. If applicable Thomas Barry & Co will draft the declaration.
    2. Development exempt from planning e.g., small back extension/attic conversion – Declaration from a Professional (Engineer/Architect) confirming that development is exempt from planning and in conformity with building regulation.
    3. Development that required Planning Permission – Copy of Planning Permission and a Professional’s Certificate of Compliance with Planning Permission and Building Regulations.  If these cannot be supplied an alternative may be to get a Certificate from a Professional setting out the position e.g. that although planning permission was required it was not obtained and by virtue of the fact the development is in situ in excess of X years the local authority is precluded from issuing enforcement proceedings.
  7. ‘Know Your Client’ identification documentation.
  8. Terms of engagement signed. We will send you this. Please read, sign and return to us.
  9. If your property is part of a larger complex and has a Property Management Company overseeing it, please forward the name, address, phone no and email of same.
  10. If a Service Charge is paid on the property, please send an up to date Service Charge receipt
  11. Land Registry Compliant map (if applicable). Your property title is registered either in the Registry of Deeds or in the Land Registry.  Where it is registered in the Registry of Deeds, as vendor you will be obliged to furnish a Land Registry Compliant Map.  Once we see the title documents we will be able to tell if you need a Land Registry Compliant map.
  12. Location map with property in sale outlined in red to enable application be made for letter from local authority confirming roads and services are in charge. This is just a general map – http://maps.google.ie or other service can be used to obtain.

Guide to printing the correct Local Property Tax “Property History Details” Page

Step 1:

Visit the Local Property Tax section of the Revenue website here https://lpt.revenue.ie/lpt-web/views/login.html?execution=e1s1. It will take you to the following screen.

Log in using your PPSN, Property ID and Pin.

Step 2:

Once logged in you will come to the following page. Click the View Payment History page in the top right-hand corner.

Step 3:

Right click and print this page in landscape format. It must be this exact page. Do not download as a PDF.

 

Why is planning permission important when selling?2022-02-21T12:29:33+00:00

The planning status of a property is important for at least two reasons:

  1. If the property is not planning compliant a bank, depending on the extent of non-compliance, may not be prepared to lend on the security of it.  As the vast majority of buyers are loan dependent this could have the effect of drastically reducing the market for the property.
  2. The local authority or a concerned citizen could bring enforcement action.

Is there a Seven Year Rule?

If there is an unauthorised development the local authority usually has seven years from the date the work is completed to bring enforcement proceedings.

It does not end there.  While the local authority may be out of time to bring enforcement proceedings after seven years, an unauthorised development remains unauthorised and may still have implications for you or the purchaser.  Please contact us to discuss this in more detail for your situation.

Where does the Contract Come In?2022-02-21T12:32:55+00:00

As a general rule, no legally binding agreement comes into existence until such time as a formal legal Contract has been signed.

As vendor’s solicitors we will furnish the purchaser with the contracts for sale and supporting documentation.  The purchaser’s solicitor will review these, raise whatever queries he/she considers necessary.  Once he/she is satisfied with the replies and that the other prerequisites are in place (satisfactory survey, loan approval etc) he/she will have his/her client sign the contract and arrange for the buyer to pay the balance of the deposit (usually to bring it up to 10% of the purchase price).  We will then ask you to sign the contracts at which stage they become legally binding on both parties. Usually until that point either party may withdraw.

What is the difference between Freehold and Leasehold?2022-02-21T12:35:19+00:00

Simplistically, freehold ownership means that you own the land and the building(s) outright. Owning the leasehold interest in a property means that you own just the building(s) and not the land it/they is/are on and that your ownership is for a fixed number of years.

While there is a perception that freehold is better than leasehold a long leasehold is a perfectly good title.

What is “Sale Agreed”?2022-02-21T12:36:23+00:00

Sale agreed means that an offer has been made on your property and you, the seller, have accepted it.  This does not mean either party is legally bound to complete.  Legal enforceability comes at the Contract stage.

Do I need to make a Will because I have sold a house?2022-02-21T12:38:26+00:00

Making a Will is a personal choice.  There is no legal obligation on  you to do so.  However, we strongly advise it and would be more than happy to work with you on creating yours.  Email info@thomasbarry.ie to ask for our Wills pack.

Property Purchases FAQ

Why do I need a Solicitor?2022-02-03T20:05:22+00:00

Your solicitor ensures you obtain a “good marketable” title to the property.  The day you buy is the day you sell.  If you do not obtain a good marketable title you will not be able to re-sell the property and lenders will not allow drawdown of a mortgage.

Does it matter if I am located outside Dublin?2022-02-03T19:31:42+00:00

No.  We act for clients throughout Ireland and abroad.

Our team has adapted and works very effectively from both remote locations and in-office.  While you are welcome to call and sometimes face to face is better, practically everything can be done remotely and conveniently over the phone, email, post or on Zoom calls.

When should I contact Thomas Barry & Company?2022-02-21T14:19:22+00:00

If you are buying you should contact us before making an offer.  That need be no more than a phone call. We will outline the general process and give you some “do’s “ and “don’t’s”, including not to pay a booking deposit without a solicitor’s covering letter.

How long will my purchase take?2022-02-21T15:14:07+00:00

This depends on a number of factors including whether you are involved in a chain transaction, how soon your loan is available and how prepared the vendor is.  After you go “sale agreed” and pay the booking deposit, assuming the seller’s solicitor is ready to go, contracts should issue about 1-2 weeks later from the seller’s solicitor to us.  If you have your homework done (e.g. survey completed and final mortgage approval in place) and the title is in order normally you can expect to get the keys approximately 4-6 weeks after contract signing.  A “watch out” is that not everything said or implied in discussions holds true.  This is especially true of timelines.  In negotiations a vendor or an agent may say a sale will close quickly without properly factoring in that the vendor is him or herself involved in a purchase (or chain of purchases) or, for other reasons, does not in fact control the timeline.  The best tip is that while it is good to make plans don’t make them irreversible until at least the contract is signed by both parties.

How the Conveyancing Process Works:

Once you find a property and go “sale agreed” a typical residential purchase can be broken down into six main stages as shown in the diagram below.

What information do I need to give to Thomas Barry & Company?2022-02-03T19:40:13+00:00

We will give you our Purchaser’s Questionnaire asking about the property.  We we will this need answered.  We will also need:

  • Property address and details of price, agent and booking deposit
  • Photographic evidence of your identity such as your passport or driving licence and a document with your permanent address, such as an electricity bill or bank statement sent within the last three months.
  • State marriage certificate if you are married or civil partnership registration certificate if you are in a civil partnership.
  • Separation agreement or judicial separation order if you are separated.
  • Divorce decree if you are divorced, or decree of dissolution of civil partnership if you were in a civil partnership that has been dissolved.
  • Your PPS number.
Property Survey – What You Need to Know2022-02-03T19:43:52+00:00

Why do I need a Survey?

When purchasing an existing property, the principle of “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) applies.   This means you purchase the property with notice of any existing faults, visible or hidden.  We strongly recommend retaining your own surveyor (usually an engineer or architect) to carry out a detailed structural survey.

The position with new builds is better from a purchaser’s point of view than with second hand properties in that the purchaser will have contractual protections and also, usually, the benefit of  construction standards in the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation.  These however are subject to significant limitations and only go a certain way towards protecting the purchaser.  While some people opt not to engage a surveyor for a new build it remains prudent to do so.

Will the Bank’s survey not do?

Lenders will usually carry out a “survey”.  This is generally just a valuation, is not carried out for your benefit and will not suffice for the above purposes.

When should the survey be carried out?

Ideally the survey is carried out after we have received the contracts from the solicitor for the seller. This is because the contracts will usually be accompanied by maps and planning documentation which will be of assistance to the surveyor.

Unfortunately, it frequently happens that purchasers find themselves under pressure to carry out an early structural survey even though neither the contract map nor planning documents are available from the seller’s side.  If that is the case in today’s market, you may have little choice but to go ahead and ask the surveyor to later finalise his mapping and planning checks.

Mortgage – Converting to final approval, mortgage protection2022-02-21T14:24:15+00:00

Approval in principle (“AIP”) is simply an indication of how much a bank thinks you can borrow.  It is not a legal document and does not entitle you to receive a mortgage loan for the AIP amount.  That  stage is only reached when you receive a full final mortgage offer.  You cannot apply for this until you are able to tell the bank the specific property you intend to purchase.   As there can be considerable time lags, once you go sale agreed you should immediately contact your bank to convert your AIP to full final mortgage offer.

Can I sign the contract before I have final loan approval?

It is generally most inadvisable to commit to a legally binding contract without the formal final loan offer.

Do I need a mortgage protection policy?

If the property you are buying is to be your home, the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (with some exceptions) obliges you to take out mortgage protection cover.  If the property you are buying is for investment or holiday purposes mortgage protection cover may be optional.  This is a non-legal matter on which you should take independent advice.

Where does the contract come in? Can I withdraw if need to?2022-02-21T14:26:11+00:00

As a general rule, no legally binding agreement comes into existence until such time as a formal legal Contract has been signed.

The vendor’s solicitors will furnish us with the contracts for sale and supporting documentation.  We will review these on your behalf.  If we are satisfied with them and that the other prerequisites are in place (satisfactory survey, loan approval etc) we will ask you to sign the contracts and pay the balance of the deposit (usually to bring it up to 10% of the purchase price).

Can I withdraw if I need to?

Provided contracts have not been signed you can normally withdraw.  After the contract is signed you generally cannot do so unless there is substantial default on the part of the seller or an event provided for in the contact arises e.g. some event on which the purchase was dependent does not happen.

Why is planning permission important when buying? Is there a seven year rule?2022-02-03T19:48:16+00:00

The planning status of a property is important for at least three reasons:

  1. If the property is not planning compliant a bank may not be prepared to lend on the security of it.
  2. If the property is not planning compliant you may not be able to re-sell.
  3. If the property is not planning compliant, the local authority or a concerned citizen could bring enforcement proceedings.

Is there a seven year rule?

If there is an unauthorised development the local authority usually has seven years from the date the work is completed to bring enforcement proceedings.

Unfortunately, it does not end there.  While the local authority may be out of time to bring enforcement proceedings after seven years, an unauthorised development remains unauthorised.  Unless retention permission for an unauthorised development is obtained the consequences can include:

  1. The owner will not be entitled to rely on any planning exemption. This could be particularly relevant if, for example, you want to build an extension which would not normally require permission.  If there is already an unauthorised development you will not be able to rely on this exemption.
  2. The local authority will be entitled to disregard any unauthorised development. If, for example, it is obliged to make any payment based on the value of the property they will be entitled to presume that any unauthorised development does not exist when calculating the value of the property.
  3. The local authority will be entitled to refuse to connect the property to any public services it is installing. For example, if the local authority is upgrading the water supply or sewage disposal services in the area the local authority will be entitled to refuse to connect the property to the upgraded service.
  4. If the property is partially or completed destroyed, (e.g. by fire or flood), the owner will not be entitled to rebuild any part of the property which did not have the benefit of planning permission before it was destroyed.
  5. It will be more difficult to get new planning permission. The planners may insist that retention permission is sought and obtained before they even entertain an application for permission for new development.
What about buying an apartment or a property in a privately managed estate?2022-02-03T19:49:59+00:00

When you purchase a unit in a multi-unit development, usually you purchase both your individual property (almost invariably a long leasehold interest) and a share in a management company which owns the common areas. The management company is established for three key purposes – to be the legal owner of the freehold of the units in the development, to be the owner of the common areas and to manage and maintain the common areas.

How active and well run a management company is and is going to be clearly is of significant importance.  This is something you will have to check yourself and does not fall within our remit.  As part of our conveyancing work we will raise Law Society standard Requisitions on Title and seek what is known as a Multi-Unit Development (“MUD”) pack. This should contain salient information on the development.  We will pass what we receive to you, to satisfy yourself as to the information contained.  It is beyond our brief to check or scrutinise it.

At what point is the property officially “mine”?2022-02-21T14:30:54+00:00

The property is yours once the sale closes.  We will still have to stamp and register the deed in the Property Registration Authority on your behalf.

What happens on the day I get my keys?

We will transfer the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor.  On the closing day we will have professional law searchers carry out searches in various official registries to make sure the title is still “clean”.  Assuming these are clear the sale will close and we will notify you where the keys are available for collection – usually from the office of the estate agent.  To allow time to make the searches, closing usually occurs mid to late afternoon.  You should check with the agent in advance how many sets of keys and what keys (e.g. for internal doors) are available.

What is stamp duty and how much will I have to pay?2022-02-03T19:52:28+00:00

Stamp duty is tax paid by buyers on purchasing property.  The current stamp duty rates on a transfer of residential property are:

  • 1% on the first €1 million
  • 2% on excess over €1 million.

There is a slight reduction for new builds.

What are Property Registration Authority fees?2022-02-21T14:33:25+00:00

The Property Registration Authority (PRA – previously the Land Registry or Registry of Deeds) is the State organisation responsible for the registration of property transactions in Ireland.  Registration fees are payable to the PRA to have ownership and other interests registered.  Usually the following charges apply:

  • Up to €50,000                                                                                                €400.00
  • €50,001 – €200,000                                                                                      €600.00
  • €200,001 – 400,000                                                                                     €700.00
  • €400,001 plus                                                                                                 €800.00

Other PRA charges:

  • Deed of Charge (Mortgage)                                                                       €175.00
  • New copy Folio and File Plan                                                                    € 40.00
Who is responsible for Local Property Tax, Service Charges etc.?2022-02-03T19:56:21+00:00

Periodic charges on property such as Local Property Tax (LPT) and service charges will be apportioned to the closing date.  This means if the seller has paid the full year’s charge and the sale closes during the year you will have to refund him the portion of the charge relevant to the date from which you acquired.  If the seller has not paid an annual charge he or she will have to allow you the portion relevant to the period of his/her ownership off the price.

From the time your stamp duty is paid Revenue will be aware you are the new person responsible for LPT.

Do I need to make a Will because I have bought a home?2022-02-21T14:34:59+00:00

Making a Will is a personal choice.  While there is no legal obligation on you to do so we strongly advise it and would be more than happy to work with you on creating yours.  Email info@thomasbarry.ie to ask for our Wills pack.

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