Buying a house

Buying a house is an exciting venture but it can also involve some stress.  We’re all about eliminating that stress and we know that the more you know about the whole procedure, the more relaxed you’ll be about it.

So what’s involved?

We’ve split the procedure into 8 steps that will lead you through the process and help you understand what’s next.


When you’re planning your budget, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration.  First, what savings do you have?  Are they tied up in any specific savings scheme and if so, is there a run-in time for releasing them?  Find out in good time so that you won’t be delayed later on.

Are you taking out a mortgage?  Your broker will get you the mortgage that best suits your requirements and is most advantageous financially.  Once you’ve complied with the various requirements (usually involving providing pay-slips and other items), a letter of loan offer will issue.

It’s very important that you give the letter of loan offer to your solicitor as soon as you receive it.  A number of General Conditions will be attached to the letter.  These are the terms and conditions that apply to each mortgage and they involve things like how the mortgage instalments are to be paid, what legal interest the bank will take in the property until the mortgage is fully paid off, and so on.

The letter will also include some Special Conditions.  These are not applicable to every mortgage and they have been crafted by the bank to cover various issues that are relevant to your mortgage.  They might include things like a requirement to provide up-to-date payslips before the loan is drawn down.  There may be a requirement that you take out a life insurance policy for the duration of the mortgage.

The loan will have a cut-off point.  This means that there is a deadline for signing the letter and returning it to the bank so as to take up the offer.  If this deadline passes and you haven’t returned the letter, you will have to reapply.  So it’s important that the letter is signed before the deadline.

Giving this letter to your solicitor at the earliest date possible will allow them to go through the letter, review and explain the General and Special Conditions and ensure that you are fully familiar with the mortgage before signing the Letter and returning it the bank.

Once you have your funding in place, you then need to think about the legal costs of the purchase.  Apart from your solicitor’s fee, you will also need to discharge Stamp Duty on the purchase deed, plus a number of other expenses.   We have prepared a questionnaire which provide you with a quote on your purchase.

To get your conveyancing quote, click HERE

Complete your Quote Provider at the bottom of the page.

Once you engage a solicitor, they will send you out a Purchaser’s Questionnaire.  This is a document to be completed by you so that your solicitor has all the information they need to complete the transaction.  It will look for information about your mortgage, names of all purchasers etc.  The information is very standard and it just means that your solicitor will have all the information they need to hand.

You can start to speed up the purchase process by having this questionnaire completed even before you meet your solicitor for the first time.  Why not download it now and get the information ready to give to your solicitor.

Download the Purchaser’s Questionnaire HERE.


Once you have dealt with your budget, you’re ready to move onto the viewing process, which is probably the most enjoyable part of the purchase process.  Viewing is not only enjoyable, it’s really important too.  This is your opportunity to decide which property meets all of your requirements. There are a lot of things that you need to take into account, and they’re not always obvious.  What way does the garden face?  Will you have enough room for storage?  What is the access like?

We’ve prepared a Checklist that sets out everything you need to think about at each viewing.  You are welcome to download it and use it to help you consider each property at the viewing.

Download your Viewing Checklist HERE


Once you’ve selected your ideal property, it’s time to move on to the next stage and make a bid.  It could take some time to reach Sale Agreed, particularly if there are a few people interested and you have to go back and forth a few times until your bid is accepted.

After you’ve reached Sale Agreed, you’re ready to pay the booking deposit.  This is a sum paid to the estate agent which “reserves” the property for you.  The sale is not binding yet as it is still possible for either side to back out.

The booking deposit is usually a small amount of a few thousand euro which signifies your interest in buying the property.  This sum will then be deducted from the monies to be paid at the completion of the purchase.


When the estate agent receives the booking deposit, he will give your solicitor’s details to the solicitor acting for the vendor who will then send the contracts out to your solicitor.

At this stage, your solicitor will send you out details of the fees that you will have to pay during the transaction.  While they will do their best to provide you with a good estimate of the costs, issues may crop up during the transaction that may lead to increased costs.  If this happens, they will let you know and keep you updated at all times.

We have prepared a Quote Provider that will give you details of the likely fees you will have to pay and this includes our professional fee.  The Law Society of Ireland have also prepared a pamphlet dealing with legal fees and you should also review same.

Get your conveyancing quote HERE

Download the Law Society of Ireland fees pamphlet HERE.


This is the stage when your solicitor reviews the contracts and the documents that are provided.  The documents that arrive with the contracts are called the “Title Documents” and your solicitor’s review of same is called their “Investigation of Title”. As with the letter of loan offer, each contract comes with a list of General Conditions.  These are conditions that deal with vital matters affecting every sale.  They include details of the manner in which the sale is going to be finalised, how the purchase monies will be paid, and so on.

The contract will also include a number of Special Conditions.  These conditions involve matters that are to do with the property in question.  They might include issues on the planning condition of the house, or provide a list of contents that are being included in the purchase price.

Your solicitor will explain the General Conditions and Special Conditions to you at this stage and will discuss anything that might be of concern.


Once your solicitor has explained everything to you, and you are happy to go ahead with the purchase, you come to the next stage which is the signing of contracts.

The contracts are signed by you first and it is at this stage that you pay the balance of the deposit.  The contract deposit usually amounts to 10% of the total purchase price and the booking deposit that you have already paid is deducted from this sum.  So if you are buying a property for €300,000, the fully deposit paid by you will work out as follows:

Purchase price = €300,000

Deposit due = 10% = €30,000

Booking deposit paid = €3,000 (this will be retained by the estate agent until completion)

Contract deposit paid = €27,000 (this will be retained by the vendor’s solicitor until completion)

Total deposit paid = €30,000

Amount due on completion = €270,000

The contracts are then signed in duplicate and returned to the vendor’s solicitor.  He/she will arrange for both contracts to be signed by the vendor.  One contract will then be kept by the vendor’s solicitor and one will be returned to your solicitor.  At this stage the contract is legally binding and both you and the vendor will have a copy of the contract.

Things are a little different if the house is being sold by auction.  In those cases, your bids are made at the auction and if you are successful, your solicitor will arrange for you to sign the contracts and pay your deposit there and then.  One contract will be kept by the vendor’s solicitor and your own solicitor will keep one contract.


The transaction can now go forward to completion.  The date on which you will pay the balance of the monies in return for the house keys is called the “Closing Date”.  Your solicitor will arrange for your bank to lodge the mortgage monies into their client account and it is at this stage that you will be obliged to provide the monies to cover the fees and stamp duty which will also be lodged in your solicitor’s client account.

At the completion of the purchase, the vendor will hand over the formal legal documents which will transfer legal ownership of the property to you.  The keys will also be handed over at this stage together with any information such as alarm codes or other details that you will need to know on your first day in the house.  In return for these documents and keys, your solicitor will transfer the balance purchase monies to the vendor’s solicitor’s bank account.  On some occasions, you may have agreed to purchase some of the contents in the house and if this is the case, you will also pay for them at this point.


Once the sale has completed, your solicitor will give you the keys together with any alarm code etc.  He/she will also arrange for you to sign the formal documents and once they are signed, he/she will arrange for the Purchase Deed to be stamped with the Revenue Commissioners.  After that, he/she will arrange for it to be registered in the Property Registration Authority which is the government body that keeps a formal register of property ownership throughout the country.

Once the Deed has been registered, the Property Registration Authority will issue a document to your solicitor called a File Plan Folio.  This document will show you as the registered owner of the property.  It will also show your bank as the owner of a charge against the property and this will remain in place until the mortgage has been paid off at which time your solicitor will lodge a document called a Deed of Discharge with the Property Registration Authority so that a new folio can issue, this time with no mortgage showing up.


In most cases, every purchase transaction runs smoothly but, just like everything else, situations may crop up that will mean that additional or different steps may need to be taken.  We work hard in every transaction to ensure that you experience as little stress as possible.

Have any questions about the procedure for buying a property?  Request a callback by completing the form below.





In order to be fully prepared, why not download these items so that you can get started on the journey towards your new home.

To get your conveyancing quote, click HERE

Download your Viewing Checklist HERE

Download your Purchaser’s Questionnaire HERE

Download the Law Society of Ireland pamphlet on fees HERE





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