In this article, I will give essential advice to first-time buyers trying to set a foot-hold on the property ladder.
Advice for First-Time Buyers
Buying your first home is one of the biggest steps people can take in life and, for many, the most expensive thing they will ever buy. It is vital that first-time buyers understand everything that is involved before making this move.
Unless you are a cash buyer, you will most likely be getting a mortgage. It is advisable to meet with various lending institutions and you will need to obtain loan approval from your chosen one. It can take a number of weeks before the letter of loan is issued to your solicitor so this process should be initiated as soon as possible.
If you are buying a property at auction and you intend to obtain finance from a lending institution, please be aware that the documentation provided by the vendor’s solicitor at auction may not be sufficient for your solicitor to certify your title to the bank. This may lead to increased costs on your part in obtaining the extra documentation required. A contract is signed on the day of the auction and your 10% deposit is non-refundable.
Help to Buy Scheme
The Help to Buy incentive is designed to assist first-time buyers with obtaining the deposit required to purchase or self-build a new house or apartment to live in as their home. The purchase value of the property cannot be more than €500,000 for properties bought after 1 January 2017.
The incentive provides for a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) paid over the previous four tax years to first-time buyers who purchase or self-build a new house or apartment to live in as their home. As a first time buyer, you may qualify under this scheme.
When you have viewed a house, an offer is made through the auctioneer. If accepted, you will make a booking deposit with the auctioneer, who will then issue a Sales Advice Note to the solicitors for the purchase and vendor. This note gives the details of the sale, allowing the vendor’s solicitor to issue contracts.
The purchaser’s solicitor reviews the contracts and the title documents in detail to ensure there is good marketable title. They may raise pre-contract enquiries identifying any issues to be resolved by the vendor and/or solicitor e.g. an unauthorised development built on the property or outstanding charges registered on the property.
The solicitors will liaise to reach a speedy, satisfactory outcome. However, this can take a number of weeks.
The purchaser should engage an engineer to carry out a survey of the property. This report (including a full boundary and structural survey) is vital prior to executing contracts.
The purchaser meets with the solicitor in order to review the conditions of sale. If everything is in order, the purchaser executes the contract and loan documents. The balance of a 10% deposit is paid to the purchaser’s solicitor upon signing the contract. Contracts are then exchanged and a binding contract is in place. We also recommend that the purchaser takes our buildings insurance at this stage. Completion can take four-to-six weeks from the signing of contracts.
The vendor’s solicitor must respond to 44 queries on the property and the purchaser’s solicitor reviews this documents carefully.
If a mortgage is being obtained, the bank is requested to have loan funds in place for closing. A date for completion is arranged. We advise purchasers to view the house again to ensure all items have been removed.
Once solicitors for both parties confirm the sale is closed, the keys are released to the purchaser.
Gillian Butler is a conveyancing solicitor at Keating Connolly Sellors and has several years’ in-depth experience in dealing with residential property transactions. If you are a first-time buyer contact Gillian at [email protected] or call +353 (0)61 414 355 or +353 (0)61 432 316.
The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We advise people to always seek specific expert advice for their individual circumstances.