Step-By-Step Guide To Buying A House In Ireland

Buying a house in Ireland can seem like a daunting process, especially in the uncertain times we currently find ourselves in. That’s why we’ve broken down the process into manageable steps on how to buy a residential property. So, follow this step-by-step guide to buying a house and we’ll give you all the information you need to make the process as easy as possible.

1. Set A Budget

When buying a house, it’s important not to set your sights too high. This means establishing a budget, but how can you work out what you can actually afford? The three things to take into consideration are your current savings; any stocks, shares or investments; and a potential mortgage.

You will need to have all your ducks in a row in reference to the first two, before speaking to a bank about how much money they will be able to lend you for purchasing a home. An independent mortgage broker who covers the entire market should be able to guide you through the process.

It is important to start saving for your mortgage as early as possible, ideally six months before you want to buy. You will need to save a deposit and get approval in principle on your loan before you can make an offer on the house of your dreams.

Once you have worked out your budget, be sure to factor in legal fees and stamp duty, as you will not be able to complete the purchase without paying for these crucial elements.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

It is important that you have been through your finances with a fine-tooth comb, as any reputable lender will do the same. After all, they will be offering you a large sum of money and it is their duty to ensure you can afford the repayments.

Avoid any unnecessary delays by ensuring everything is in order right from the start. Banks especially love to see that you have been regularly setting aside a portion of your income for savings, so hopefully this is something you can do when accumulating your deposit.

Red flags to look out for during this process include missed credit card or loan repayments. Pay off as much as you can on outstanding credit card debt and avoid betting transactions, as they tend to make you look like a risky investment. Interest rates are a hot topic at the moment as they are due to keep rising across the EU, so be sure to be mindful of this when locking in the term of your mortgage repayments.

TipsAvoid These 6 Things to Get a Mortgage

3. Things To Know As First Time Buyers

First-time buyers purchasing property exceeding €220,000 will have a 90 percent limit applied to the first €220,000, with an 80 percent limit on anything over this. The maximum mortgage you can acquire as a first-time buyer will often be limited to 90% of your income. This indicates that a 10% deposit is required as a minimum.

The Citizen’s Information website has some really great information on the Central Bank’s lending limits for first-time mortgages. If you’re not a first-time buyer, you can borrow up to 80% of the property’s price. First-time buyers may also be eligible for the government’s First Home Scheme. This is a shared equity scheme and can provide up to 30% of the purchase price of a home.  The full details about First Time Buyer’s Relief can be found on the Revenue website

4. House Hunting

The property market may be a bit intimidating at the moment, but going out and looking for the house of your dreams is supposed to be the fun bit. This is the opportunity to explore the area in which you are hoping to buy and see what your budget can realistically get you.

The key to a successful house hunt is to be well-informed and prepared. Research the property market in your area. Find out what types of properties are available and the costs involved, then compare them with your budget and preferences.

When starting the search, make a list of your absolute essential features, as well as a few wants, which you are flexible on. This will help you to make comparisons between the properties you view and compromises where they are needed. Priorities to consider include location versus space, convenience versus garden and period features versus good local schools.

5. Instruct A Solicitor To Do The Conveyancing

Once you’ve found a property you want to buy, and it’s been agreed on price and conditions between the seller and yourself (through an estate agent), you will then need to instruct a solicitor for your own conveyancing. They will open a file and put transaction proceedings into motion. This professional will be able to guide you through all the paperwork you need to complete and what exactly needs to be done when, so it’s important to get one that you trust.

6. Get A House Survey

A seller is not required to disclose any flaws in a property to you. Therefore, you should have the property surveyed to check for any issues before you finalise the purchase. Any problems that you might not have been aware of when you made your offer will be brought to light by the structural survey. For instance, if your surveyor determines that the roof requires replacement, you may elect to revise your offer to reflect this or opt out of the transaction altogether. The professional organisation for chartered surveyors is the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI).

You should have the property surveyed to check for any issues before you finalise the purchase.

7. Going Sale Agreed and Getting Mortgage Approval

After approval has been given for the purchase, a booking deposit must be paid to the estate agent. This could be anything from a few thousand euros to three per cent of the total sale amount, so be prepared to hand over a substantial amount as a down payment. As neither parties have yet signed the documents, this deposit will be refunded if the sale falls through. Sales details can then be issued by the estate agent.

Lenders require buyers to take out life insurance, also known as mortgage protection, when applying for a property loan. This will also insure you against any damage or theft that occurs within your home. As this can take time to arrange, be sure to start the process as early as possible.  We have previously gone further in-depth on how to insure your new home.

The next step is for the contracts to be issued, along with copies of the title deeds. Around about the same time official notice of the loan will arrive in the form of a loan pack from the bank or building society. Take note of the letter of offer, which lays out all the main details of the agreement. Completing all the fields on the letter and signing it is important for the loan to be processed.

8. Closing The Deal

You and your solicitor should check the contract closely and if everything is in order sign it and pay the contract deposit. Usually, this equates to ten per cent of the purchase price, excluding the booking price already paid. New builds may require a payment that has been calculated in a different manner. All of the documents will then be duplicated by your solicitor and sent on to the solicitor representing the seller.

The next step will be the exchange of the contracts. Once this has happened, a binding agreement is made between all parties, which is subject to the terms and conditions set out within the contract.

When your solicitor has returned the loan acceptance documents to your bank or building society, they will then raise a requisition on title, which is sent to the seller’s solicitor. A closing date and time can now be agreed by all parties, with your solicitor drafting a statement outlining the balance required to complete the sale.

9. Notification of Completion (For New Houses Only)

When a new house is finished, you will be sent a completion notice and your solicitor will also get a copy. Take this opportunity to formally inspect the house and create a snag list of anything that is not finished or you are unhappy about. Duplicate this document and keep one copy yourself, before handing the other over to the site supervisor. Ensure that any issues are rectified and your solicitor is given the go-ahead before proceeding.

Now all you need is to start moving your stuff into your new home.

10. Completing The Purchase

The money required to complete the purchase is delivered in advance, most often the day before the completion date. It usually comes in the form of a bank draft made payable to your solicitor. This is the formal completion of your house purchase. The keys are handed over by the seller’s solicitor and in most cases, to you personally. You are now a homeowner!

Stamp duty time limitations mean that the purchase deed must be signed quickly once the sale has been completed. The purchase deed and mortgage will then be stamped by your solicitor and the land registry or registry of deeds will be registered. This process can take months of years, depending on the circumstances.

At this point you are the legal owner of the house, no matter how long it takes for the process to be finally completed. Once registration has been achieved, your solicitor will return the title deeds to your bank or building society. This will be accompanied by a marketable title of good standing. Now all you need is to start moving your stuff into your new home.

11. Associated Fees That Come With Purchasing A House

Any residential purchase will require you to pay stamp duty and a registration fee. The amount of stamp duty will be 1% of the purchase price so long as it is under €1 million. Any property valued at over €1 million will be charged 2% of the property value.

There will also be a land registration fee which will be charged in accordance to the value of the consideration in the Deed of Transfer.

Consideration in Deed of Transfer

Land Registry fee

Up to €50,000


​From €50,001 to €200,000


​From €200,001 to €400,000


​Above €400,000


There will also be legal fees charged by your solicitor. Some solicitors will charge a fixed fee but most will vary. You should expect to pay anywhere between 1% and 2% of the house price with VAT payable on top. It is a good idea to talk this through with your solicitor before working with them so that you’re not greeted with a shock at the end of proceedings. Money Guide Ireland have a good breakdown of what fees you can expect when buying a house.

12. Insuring your new home

Once you’ve completed the purchase of any house, you’ll want to ensure that your new home and contents are fully insured in your time of need. Let AIG Ireland look after you. Get an online home insurance quote with AIG for great benefits and discounts.

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