Firstly, things to realise. Buying a home in Ireland, just as you’d expect from any European country, can take a significant amount of time and have a high cost, including legal fees, deeds, stamp duty and mortgage costs.
Furthermore, there’s the importance of having high-quality home insurance in place before you move in, protecting your investment. It’s important to calculate the cost of home insurance on the basis of the cost to rebuild your house and its contents. And once you know it then you should search online to compare home insurance Ireland quotes from different companies and find the best cover within your budget.
However, if you plan on doing this, there are several major reasons why you might want to consider Ireland as a location to relocate to, especially if you’re already based in another part of the United Kingdom.
Ireland is in the middle of strong economic growth and developing fast. With connections to the EU, as well as easy links with the USA, it’s also positioned well for international travellers. Moreover, it is a hugely popular tourist destination because of the welcoming people, picturesque scenery and generally relaxed outlook.
These factors probably contribute to the increased amount of immigration to Ireland. For the last few years, Ireland has been experiencing a boom in people permanently moving to the country. According to Irish government statistics, the country experienced net inward migration in 2018 for the first time in several years, with around 90,000 inward migrants.
This contributed to a total population growth of 60,000, significant considering the total population is a mere 5 million.
Here’s what you need to consider if you’re serious about moving to Ireland in the near future.
Know your budget
Firstly, and most importantly when it comes to considerations when moving to Ireland is, can you actually afford it?
When considering costs, make sure to add all incidental costs. Many a time an extra fee comes out of nowhere, and an extra couple of thousand can be crippling if not accounted for.
Make sure to book a meeting with your local mortgage advisor or bank manager. They will be able to give you a more accurate and up to date figure for what you can afford, as well as give you an itemised list of all the fees you can expect to be paying.
Also consider seeing multiple mortgage advisors, if you can. The mortgage market is wide, with a large variety of products available from different lenders, and the offers you may get from one bank could be completely different to another.
How to find a house in Ireland
Ireland has a huge amount of Real Estate Agencies, so finding a property is not going to be difficult. Bear in mind that each estate agent will only be able to show you the properties that their agency has available. It is then worth applying to every agency in the area you would plan to move to, to obtain a complete listing of all available properties.
If you know to what area you want to move, you can search local listings, either on local websites, or using global services like Gumtree.
You should already have a checklist of what you’re looking for when buying a property, which makes it much simpler to match existing properties.
Have a list of absolute must haves, as well as deal breakers. It’s also worth having a list of potential likes. The more discerning you can be, the better.
In our opinion, it’s worth checking the Property Services Residential Price Register. This is a listing of every house that has been sold since 2010 in Ireland, and the price paid for it. There’s a good chance your property might be featured on it, giving you a baseline figure to work with when pricing and negotiating.
Things to consider when buying a home in Ireland
When selling a home in Ireland, the current owner is not obligated to tell you any faults with the property.
Because of this, it is absolutely essential that you have a full survey of your property performed before you consider purchasing it, to identify anything that might cause issues after the purchase.
Contact the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) in order to find a regulated surveyor to perform this.
Also make sure that you have a mortgage offer in place before you sign a contract of sale. If you do not obtain a mortgage after signing, you will lose any deposit already paid on the house, and there may be further costs.
Sales in Ireland are typically conducted through either a Private Treaty Sale, or Public Auction.
Private Treaty Sales
Sales done as a single, person to person transaction, typically through an agent. You will contact the seller, or their representative, and agree on a price.
Once a price has been agreed and all necessary fees paid, your documents will be checked by your solicitor, then forwarded to the current owner’s solicitor. Once this step has been taken, you are under legal obligation to purchase and pay the initial deposit.
However, the seller is under no obligation to continue the sale. Until they have signed and returned the documents of sale, they can refuse and refund you the deposit, but not any fees paid.
Properties put forward for public auction will generally have a reserve figure, which must be met in order for the sale to go forward.
However, it’s worth knowing that at any time, the seller can refuse sale, even if the reserve is met.
The seller, or the auctioneer, can also sell the property before the auction. So, if you are interested in a property, it may be worth discussing with the vendor before it goes to the public auction.
Each property will have an auction date, and it is essential that you have all the documents ready for this date. You will need a mortgage agreement, to have the documents of sale checked by your solicitor, and to have the property surveyed before considering an offer.
The final steps to purchasing your property
Once all previous steps have been completed, you will take the final step of signing a contract for sale. This legally binds both parties into completing the sale.
At this point, you cannot withdraw from the sale without serious repercussions, including losing your deposit.
- A property purchased through private treaty can have the documents checked by your solicitor before signed.
- A property purchased at auction must have the contract signed on the day.
Once you have signed the contract, your solicitor will carry out Requisitions on Title, which is a process of general questions, including whether fixtures are included, as well as other queries.
After this step, a Deed of Conveyance will be drafted by your solicitor and approved by the seller’s. Once this document has been approved, the balance will be paid, and the property changes hands, becoming yours.
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty is a property tax on sales of properties. It totals 1% of the total value on properties up to 1 million Euro, and 2% on values above 2 million Euro.
This is paid to the Revenue Commissioners, who will authorise the deeds in the new name, (hence, ‘stamping’ them.) Without this step, the property cannot be transferred to the new owner’s name.
Finally, your deeds will have to be registered with the Property Registration Authority (PRA.)
At this point, your home becomes your own, and you’re free to move in!