Buying a home for the first time – or even the second or third – is a thrilling, and sometimes daunting, prospect. Navigating the mortgage and purchase process can take time and a little know-how. Having the right team for each stage of buying a house can make the process run much smoother.
Knowing who to ask about the different house buying stages means having the right advice when you need it most. It also helps to know a little about the different stages yourself and how you can prepare for them.
We have vast experience helping clients with their house purchases. Below is their checklist for buying a house in Ireland to help you with your property purchase.
Step 1: Review Your Finances And Save For A Deposit
Buying a house always starts with the question ‘what can I afford?’. Reviewing your finances will help you get a grasp of your realistic budget. Start by analysing the last six months of your bank accounts and working out your outgoings. You will also need a deposit of at least 10%, sometimes 20%. Reviewing your finances and getting them in order is the first step to saving for your deposit.
How to review your income and outgoings:
- Review bank statements.
- Identify areas of potential savings.
- Review energy supplier rates, mobile service providers etc and consider saving by switching.
- Make a budget for necessities, deposit savings and other homebuyer costs (see below).
- Set a timeline on how long it will take to save your deposit.
- Set up a standing order to keep your savings separate from your day to day finances.
Aside from the cost of the property itself, there are additional home buyer costs to consider. These include:
- Monthly mortgage repayments
- Home insurance
- The cost of hiring a moving van or company
- Engineer and surveyor costs
- Stamp duty on the property
- Conveyancing and solicitor fees
- Booking deposit
- Cost of any decorating, furniture, repairs or remodelling for the new property.
- Cost of household utilities (including setup and installation fees).
- Local property tax (LPT)
- Registration fees
Step 2: Review your Mortgage Options
Once you have an approximate idea of your potential deposit amount and monthly repayment budget, speak to a mortgage lender. It is not necessary to only apply to your normal bank for a mortgage. You can, if you prefer, have your mortgage with a different bank or lender entirely.
Speaking to more than one mortgage lender can help you get a more rounded picture of your options*. Every lender will have slightly different offerings and conditions. Knowing them all will help you with the decision making.
Alternatively, you might prefer to use a financial broker. A financial broker will help with the mortgage research and application process. Most financial broker services are free to the client as they are compensated by the successful lender. When using a financial broker, ask them which lenders they work with before deciding if to proceed.
When reviewing your mortgage options, consider the following:
- Mortgage interest rates
- Deposit amount
- Length of the mortgage term
- Full repayable amount
- Monthly repayments
- Stability of the lending financial institution
- Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions of a mortgage may include particular mortgage protection terms. Be sure to review all terms of the mortgage and factor in any additional costs.
*Speaking to mortgage lenders and mortgage applications are free services. Please note, that when speaking to providers, you are under no obligation to take a mortgage with that lender.
Step 3: Find A Solicitor
Buying a house or any property is essentially a transfer of ownership from one person or entity to another. This transfer is known as conveyancing and will grant you legal ownership of the property you are buying. It is essential that you have an experienced solicitor when buying a house.
The solicitor will liaise with the current property owner’s solicitor on your behalf. They will also ensure that all is proper and legal with the sale and that everything is in order.
It is never too early to find a solicitor to help with the conveyancing. Finding a solicitor later in the process can slow down the process. So, it’s best to have your solicitor selected. When choosing a solicitor for buying a house, consider:
- The Solicitor’s conveyancing experience
- The resources and team size
- The fees
- The service they provide
If you don’t already have a suitable solicitor, request quotes and service details from two or three before deciding.
Step 4: The Fun Bit – Start Looking For A House To Buy
You have no doubt started looking at properties already, it is the most enjoyable part of the process after all. As well as looking at the property itself, consider practical factors such as commute times, schools, supermarkets and hospital distances.
When viewing properties, ask the agent about the street, neighbours and area as well as the house. Ask them to come back to you with details if they don’t have some of the details to hand. In most instances, the property brochure will outline all required details. Check for:
- How long the property has been listed
- BER rating
- Property age
- Fuel type
- Any recent or required upgrades
- If the property is leasehold or freehold
- Age of roof and alterations
- When the property was last sold
When searching for a house in Ireland there are a number of helpful websites including www.daft.ie and www.myhome.ie. Some estate agents also have registration services whereby they will alert you of suitable properties. Platforms like Instagram can also be helpful for finding properties, with @CheapIrishHomes and @CountryIrishHomes regularly sharing properties for sale.
Step 5: Make An Offer
When you are selling your existing home and buying another one, find a buyer for your own before making an offer. Once you are ready to make an offer, take into consideration:
- The asking price
- How much the seller will accept
- Any other offers
- The condition and repair needs of the property
With all this taken into consideration, be clear in your own mind how much you’re willing to offer at most. You must have your deposit and mortgage approval ready before making an offer. When you are ready to make an offer, keep your solicitor’s details to hand as the estate agent will require them. In Ireland, the seller does not have to choose to sell to the highest bidder. Presenting yourself as a serious, organised and fully financed buyer will help you in the bidding process.
When making an offer to buy a house, the offer can be made directly to the estate agent. They will take all offers to the seller who will make the final decision.
Step 6: Sale Agreed And Next Steps
Congratulations! At this stage, you have made an offer and the seller has accepted it. To secure the agreement while the paperwork is taken care of, you will be required to pay a booking deposit. A booking deposit means that the house will be taken off the market, for a few weeks at least. Following the acceptance of an offer there are still a few steps to sale completion:
Your solicitor will receive all sale details from the estate agent following your offer being accepted. Before the sale is completed, it is recommended to arrange a survey of the property. An independent surveyor will identify any structural issues and advise you on what is required to repair them.
Before your mortgage lender releases the money they will have the property valued. This step is a prerequisite to receiving a formal and final mortgage loan offer.
As a condition of your mortgage, you will be required to get a certain type and value of insurance. Your lender will require that you keep this in place for the entire mortgage term. Before drawing down your mortgage, send a copy of the insurance to your lender. Once the lender is satisfied, they will send all formal offerings to your solicitor. This is the last step before signing the contracts.
In a meeting with your solicitor, you will now sign the agreement for your mortgage and the contract for the purchase of the property. For the latter, there will be two copies. Both of which will be sent to the seller’s solicitor. The two contracts will also be signed by the seller.
At this stage, your solicitor will also send your mortgage deposit to the seller’s solicitor.
Getting the keys to your new house is an exciting day. The date of this will be agreed upon between you and the seller via your solicitors. Your solicitor will complete all paperwork for your final mortgage stages before this date to ensure the key exchange goes ahead. Assuming your lender is happy, they will send the remaining mortgage amount by cheque. This will go directly to your solicitor to be forwarded to the solicitor of the seller. With everything in order on time, your keys will be delivered to your solicitor’s office.
Contact Whelehan Solicitors
When you are starting the process of buying a house or property, contact us at Wheleahansolictor.ie for assistance. We have assisted hundreds of property purchases in Tralee and throughout Kerry and have many years of experience in conveyancing.