Deciding to buy a home is one of the biggest steps people can make in their lives and, for the many, the most expensive thing they will ever buy. Whether you are buying or selling, it can be a very stressful and costly event. During the current climate, purchasers and sellers are also faced with the uncertainty Covid-19 brings to the economy as a whole. The property market in Ireland is changing by the day.
While many estate agents have embraced technology and are carrying out virtual viewings, this may not be ideal for persons looking to buy their first home and want to get a “feel” for the property.
For properties that have gone sale agreed, the current restrictions are likely to cause delays in exchanging contracts as surveyors, valuers and engineers may not be able to inspect the properties in accordance with safety guidelines. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has told members to avoid non-essential direct contact with third parties and to avoid properties where persons are in self-isolation. As a purchaser is always advised to carry out a structural survey of a property before exchanging contracts, the current HSE guidelines may restrict a surveyor’s ability to make the necessary assessment for the purchaser.
The Law Society has advised that new conveyancing contracts still being negotiated should include a special condition to “account for circumstances where the usual conveyancing practices and procedures cannot be observed due to necessary services not being available from third parties and restrictions from Covid-19”.
The offices of the Property Registration Authority were also closed for a period of time and this caused grave uncertainty in the property sector at that time. Banks were not releasing mortgage funds as solicitors could not confirm closing searches were up to date and the application to register the banks interest in the property could not be made to the PRA upon completion. The PRA offices are now reopen and whilst there maybe delays in the release of funds from banks due to working restrictions, existing agreed sales should be able to proceed.
During the current pandemic with persons working remotely, some offices closed and temporary lay-offs, it can delay taking up title deeds from lending institutions, issuing of letters of loan offers and loan packs to solicitors and general administrative delays between offices, all of which will inevitably slow down the process of purchasing a property in Ireland during the current Covid-19 crisis.
However, Sellors staff are continuing to work remotely and are having virtual meetings with clients to make the purchasing process as easy as possible.
If you have any queries or would like further information, please contact Gillian Butler of Keating Connolly Sellors Solicitors on 061 414 355 or [email protected]