Buying property


BUYING A PROPERTY IN IRELAND is generally a straight forward process, providing you follow the appropriate steps to successfully conclude your transaction. Property is normally bought or sold in two ways: usually by Private Treaty and occasionally by Auction:

  • Private Treaty: The auctioneer / estate agent will establish an asking price and facilitate negotiations between the purchaser and the vendor. You give your bid to the agent and they take it to the selling party. It is a longer process compared to an auction and either side can withdraw from the agreement up to the point of signing of contracts
  • Auction: The auctioneer / estate agent will set an AMV (Advised Minimum Value) for the property, which is usually the minimum the seller is willing to accept. As with normal auctions, bids are open and the buyer with the highest bid acquires the property. On acceptance of the bid the buyer is required to lodge a 10% non-refundable deposit, and will be required to sign a sale contract legally committing to the purchase.

The following describes the typical steps when purchasing by Private Treaty. If you are interested in any of our properties and have a question please contact us – we'll help you wherever we can.


  1. Calculate the funds at your disposal whether they be on deposit or cash
  2. Calculate the equity value in your existing property if applicable
  3. Appoint a solicitor and get a quote of the costs involved in purchasing

If required, obtain approval in principal from a lender so that you know what amount is available to you when a property is selected. Your mortgage advisor can help you choose the type of loan that will best suit you.

Your auctioneer will help match your requirements to the properties available, and will arrange viewing appointments for you. Once you've found properties of interest learn more. Look at the property at different times of day, and with regard to proximity of services etc. Satisfy yourself that it meets your requirements and your aspirations.

If you are purchasing through a lender, a surveyors report will most likely be a requirement of the loan agreement. It is however advisable to engage the services of a surveyor anyway to ensure you are fully aware of the condition of the property, and to identify any areas that might require attention. We have a list of recommended surveyors and engineers to help you in this area if required.

If you are buying a new house or apartment it should come with a BER (Building Energy Rating) which indicates the energy efficiency of the property. All homes for which planning permission was applied for on or after January 1st, 2007 must have a Building Energy Rating. After January 1st, 2009 secondhand houses, whether offered for sale or rent, must come with a Building Energy Rating.

Once you decide to proceed, and having received approval from your lender (if required), lodge a booking deposit with the auctioneer / estate agent. The amount may differ from auctioneer to auctioneer - in our case the normal process is to lodge 5% of the purchase price with ourselves on decision to purchase, and 5% of the purchase price with the vendors solicitor when contracts are signed. We will advise you of any variation to  the normal arrangement.

Your deposit is refundable until contracts are signed, at which point the auctioneer / estate agent will prepare and issue the sale details to you, your solicitor, and your builders solicitor if relevant. These details include the price, conditions of sale, anticipated closing date, and the contact details and addresses of all associated parties.

On receipt of the sale details the sellers solicitor will issue the contract in duplicate to your solicitor, and include a copy of the title deeds for the property

SECURE YOUR LOAN (If required)
Confirm that your lender has formally approved your loan in writing and that you have received their formal loan documentation and a Letter of Offer. This normally includes the terms and details of the loan, mortgage documentation, acceptance of Letter of Offer and Assignment etc. The documentation should be issued to your solicitor who will check and confirm the details with you. On agreement the appropriate documents are signed enabling your lender to proceed with the contract.

When your solicitor has checked and confirmed the contracts you will be required to sign the contracts and pay the contract deposit (10% of the purchase price less booking deposit already paid). Your solicitor will, on signature, return in duplicate the contracts and any building agreements to the seller’s solicitor.

On receipt of the contracts and building agreement you have now established a binding agreement between all parties, subject to the terms and conditions contained therein.

If you are using a lender to facilitate the purchase of the property you (and your partner if relevant) will normally be rquired to have life insurance and/or mortgage protection. You should enquire and make arrangements for insurance early in the purchasing process to avoid any delay with the lending agreement when needed. If you are purchasing an apartment check to see if building insurance is part of your annual maintenance fees.


  1. Your solicitor will issue the loan acceptance back to your lender on exchange of contracts.
  2. Your solicitor will raise requisition questions on Title and send this in conjunction with a draft purchase deed to the sellers solicitor.
  3. The sellers solicitor will respond in writing to the requisition questions and approve the deed.

COMPLETION DATE (Existing property)
Your solicitor will issue a financial statement covering purchase and costs required to complete the transaction. A completion date will be agreed and established following a satisfactory conclusion of any matters raised during the title requisition stage.
Your purchasing funds will be delivered by you, payable to your solicitor, in advance of the completion date.

COMPLETION DATE (New property)
On completion the builder will issue a Completion Notice to you and your solicitor. This notice also establishes the time period for actual completion. On receipt of the Completion Notice you should carry out a formal inspection and agree a list of any unfinished works (the snag list). Ensure all works are completed to your satisfaction and advise your solicitor.

This stage is the formal completion of the purchase and normally takes place at the sellers solicitors premises. Your solicitor will act on your behalf and as such you do not need to be present. On receipt of good Title with fully signed documents your solicitor will hand over the balance of the purchase price and take receipt of the keys to the property. In the case of a new property the site foreman is informed to release the keys to you.

On close of sale the purchase deed will be issued to your solicitor for your immediate signature. Prompt attention is required to meet the time limits for stamp duty obligations.

On close of sale your solicitor will stamp the Purchase Deed and Mortgages to be registered in the Land Registry / Registry of Deeds. Registration can take six months or more dependent on the county and type of property. Legal ownership to the property passes to you on completion of the purchase, and any delay in registration does not undermine the fact that you are the legal and beneficial owner of the property.

On completion of registration your solicitor will return your title deeds to your lender together with a certificate confirming you have acquired the title. Your solicitor will normally then close off your file.

NEVER HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS - purchasing property is an infrequent activity for most of us so there are always areas of uncertainty. We will help clarify those uncertainties, or if it's not in our area we'll direct you to the relevant areas of expertise.



The Irish Revenue  :  Mortgage Interest Relief and Stamp Duty etc.

Department of the Environment  :  Planning and Delelopment Applications. 


Martin Swanton Properties is a member of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers, your guarantee of a professional and reliable service.




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