Key Questions You Need to Answer Before Selling Your Home

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. Perhaps you need to move for work, or your family have outgrown your first home and need some extra space? Or maybe you’ve found your dream property and you’re ready to take your next step on the property ladder.

Whatever the reason, the prospect of selling a property can be daunting, so we’re here to break down all the important questions you need to answer before you embark on the journey.

Is selling your house the best option for you? 

Selling your property can be a long and expensive process, so it’s important that you’re 100% sure selling is the right option for you. Depending on why you’re selling your house, there may be cheaper alternatives that could work better for you in both the long and short term. For example:

 Property Upgrades V Extensions

If you’re selling to upgrade to a bigger property but you’re happy in the area you’re currently living in – consider re-mortgaging and extending your current home instead. Not only will you be able to enhance a home you already love, but the extra work will likely add value to your current home in the long run, making it easier to afford an even bigger property further down the line.

Location Changes V Temporary Renting

If you’re moving away for work, selling your home might seem like the most sensible option. However, it’s worth thinking about what other opportunities are available. For example, if house prices are on the rise in your area, an alternative to selling right away could be to rent your home out for a while. This will keep your mortgage paid, (and potentially earn you a yield!) while, depending on the market in your area, increase your profits when you eventually decide to sell.

Downsizing V Modification

If you’re looking to downsize your property, it could be worth considering how you can modify your current home to suit your needs first. Selling and buying homes is expensive. The same can be true for modifying a home to suit individual mobility needs. However, the latter can be a more cost-effective route and it allows you to keep your beloved home.

Can you afford to sell your house?

Unfortunately, selling your home isn’t as straightforward as simply handing your key to someone in exchange for a bag of money. In fact, there are a number of extra costs that you’ll need to consider. These include:

While these costs aren’t eye-watering, they do add up. Add an unexpected cost while you’re in the process of selling and you’ll feel the pinch if you haven’t budgeted for these expenses.

How should you choose your estate agent?

Estate agents will charge anywhere between 1 – 2.5 per cent of your house value to sell your home for you, so it’s important you understand what’s included in their price before choosing them.

With so much choice available, it’s vital you do your research: read reviews, check their processes and talk to a variety of companies and get a feel for how they operate. It’s also a good idea to talk to the individual agents themselves! By working with people who you like and get along with you can make a stressful situation far less challenging. Note down what each estate agent offers as part of their service, and how their fees measure up against each other.

Many people choose to use a variety of estate agents in order to get a bigger market exposure. If you chose to do this too, be aware that whichever agent sells your property for you will be the ones you’ll need to pay – so repeat the above process with each agent you select!

What will you do after selling your house?

Before you put your home on the market, you’ll most likely have a good idea about what you plan to do. Most people will buy another property – while others may pocket any profit for whatever they have planned next.

Either way, considering your plan for after selling is vital. Will you start renting another property, or are you looking to buy again?

What do you need to do to get your house ready to sell?

In today’s world of Instagram filters and pristine Pinterest boards – there have never been higher expectations to meet. Home buyers want to walk into a house and be wowed – so if your home doesn’t have the “wow factor” then selling it might be an uphill struggle.

Avoid the stress of low, or even no offers, by making sure your house is well painted, well-furnished and well tiled before you invite any serious viewers in. Regardless of whether the new owner will redecorate, it’s the presentation side of things that really stands out to potential buyers. So, get the paint brushes out!

How much do you want for the property?

The unpredictability of the property market can mean that even if you have a selling figure in mind, that figure may no longer be achievable – or it could be really undervalued! That’s why it’s vital you get your property valued by a professional before you put it on the market.

Recently, Irish property prices have been on the rise – so, depending on when you bought your home, it’s easy to assume that you’ll be able to sell your home for a profit. However, depending on where you live and how much you bought your property for, this may not be the case. That’s why being aware of how much your house is actually worth is really important. Firstly, this insight will speed up offers, as you’ll be advertising your house in line with the current market’s prices. Secondly, you’ll end up with the best possible selling price for your market.

How should you choose a conveyancing solicitor?

In order to sell your house, you’ll need the help of a solicitor. They’ll do everything from drawing up the draft contract to organising a completion date – so it’s important you find a fully qualified property solicitor who has a great track record.

However, just a good track record isn’t everything. Because selling property can be such a trying experience, choosing a solicitor that shows a human side and empathises with the stress and financial implications of selling property can make the process far less challenging.

Check what previous clients have to say about the law firm and you’ll get a good idea of how a company treats their clients in general. It’s also worth talking to a combination of national or local conveyancing solicitors before you make your decision. While some local solicitors tend to offer a more friendly and attentive service, national conveyancing specialists can also provide an extremely valuable service. Find out about how we help clients all over Ireland sell their properties.

Are you prepared to wait in a property chain?

When selling a property, it’s likely you’ll end up in some sort of property chain. This means you’ll be waiting until either your seller or your buyer – or both – have exchanged their contracts on the other properties they’re buying or selling. For anyone who’s looking for a quick sell, it’s important to only accept offers where the chain is short or non-existent – otherwise you might find yourself stuck waiting for longer than you’d like.

First time buyers are often a good bet for people who need to sell quickly, as they’re not waiting to sell their own property. Cash buyers are also a good option, as they’re not waiting for their property to be sold to be able to afford to buy their next one.

Are you selling a freehold or a leasehold property?

If you’re selling a leasehold property, it means that you’re only the owner of the property and not the land it sits on. This is often the case with flats and apartments, although some houses can also be set up this way. Your land “ownership” will be for a fixed number of years, so you’ll need to bear this in mind when it comes to selling, as you may be selling a much shorter leasehold than when you bought the property. A good conveyancing solicitor will be able to advise you on this issue so you don’t run into any trouble.

How Gibson & Associates can help you

At Gibson & Associates, we offer conveyancing with the heart and soul of a local service, but we help people across the whole of Ireland.

We understand how stressful selling a property is, which is why we go out of our way to provide you with a service that provides the peace of mind you need. Our team has a wealth of experience when it comes to successfully closing property deals quickly, cleanly and efficiently across the country – from Dublin to Galway; from Cork to Donegal.

To find out more about our conveyancing service, get in touch with our friendly team using the contact form below.

Your quick solicitor answers to Wills & Probate in Ireland

It’s a topic that we generally don’t like to think about or at least not now anyway, maybe when the time comes…but all of us will experience a bereavement at some point, or maybe you are thinking about your children’s future, then do you know (legally) what to do? Read on to find the answers to some common questions…

What to do after a bereavement?

If you do experience a bereavement, the days after are difficult; then, you are faced with the task of sorting through paperwork and possessions. There are certain documents you should try to locate a will, trusts and any title deeds.

What is a Will?

It’s estimated that 36% of the population in Ireland does not have a Will in place! A Will is a written declaration of a person’s wishes for the distribution of his/her estate and belongings after death. At least one executor (whom can also inherit under a Will) is appointed to make sure that the estate is distributed according to the wishes of your late loved one.

The absence having a Will in place can leave difficulties and confusion for your family members left behind — planning now Will help in the future. For more information on making a Will click here.

How do I know if there’s a Will?

When a solicitor prepares a Will, they advise the client to inform someone that they made a Will. In many cases, this person is the executor of the Will. If you think a Will has been made but the location is unknown, you should contact the deceased person’s or family solicitor to check if they hold a copy, and possibly check with any other local solicitors. Sometimes, an advert is placed in law publications to locate a Will (Attempts are being made to establish a centralised Will Resister in Ireland).

If there is no valid Will, the person is said to have died intestate and their estate is distributed in accordance with rules of intestacy, this is based on a strict hierarchy of entitlement: surviving spouse/civil partner, children, grandchildren and so forth.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that allows the executor to deal with the estate and pass onto the inheritors, the authority to do this is contained in a legal document called a Grant of Representation – of which there are three types;

  • Grant of Probate when there is a Will.
  • Grant of Administration when there is no Will.
  • Grant of Administration with will Annexed is required, if there’s a will but no executor, or, the executor cannot act.

Then, the estate can be administered, and all financial and tax affairs organised. An application for Probate is made to the Probate office. There are fourteen District Probate Registries located outside of Dublin, locations are on

Is Probate always required?

If the assets left are small sums (less than €25,000), the financial institution may release the funds without seeing a grant; this does not include immovable property (land, houses etc.) and you may be asked to sign an indemnity (it is advisable to seek advice from a solicitor before you sign anything). Generally, when there’s land, shares or property involved Probate is required.

How long does it take for Probate to be granted?

One of the difficult parts before Probate is granted is the collecting of all the documents required, assets and liabilities, outstanding debts etc., this may take some time to organise. Then, you are into the lengthy Probate process (an average of 16 months!), it’s a drawn-out stressful process that is best left to your solicitor.

What to do if the executor is slow distributing the Will?

The duty of the executor is to distribute the assets within a year. If an executor has confirmed that he has the Will, but he has done nothing about it, and is not responding to your correspondence, contact your solicitor.

Can you dispute a Will?

A Will, Trust or Estate can be formally challenged during the Probate process – a process also known as Contentious Probate or Probate Litigation. A relative or loved one may choose to challenge the Will or Estate, because there are concerns about it, or because an executor has behaved inappropriately. This can be complex and it’s best done before the Probate process, seek advice from your solicitor in this situation.

If you’d like further help with any of the information discussed above, fill out the Contact Us below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

 The A to Z of buying a house in Ireland

Are you thinking about buying a house in the near future? Not sure how to get started? There are lots of ‘buying a house checklists’ online. Most will mention the various laws, documents and fees you should be aware of. Hiring a solicitor is a reoccurring theme. And this is because spending the time to learn about all of the ins and outs of buying a house can be extremely confusing and time-consuming.

Before you hire a solicitor to help you buy a house, it makes sense to learn the basics of conveyancing. If conveyancing seems like a scary world full of jargon, complex legislation and procedure to you then we’re here to help. Gibson’s & Associates Solicitors have got you covered. We’ve put together a helpful A – Z guide that covers the basics. You’ll learn some of the conveyancing vocab, but we’ve also drawn your attention to some easily forgotten aspects of buying a new house.

A – Advised Market Value (AMV)

If an estate agent is helping to sell your home, the Advised Market Value (AMV) is the estimate valuation that they think you should sell your property for.

A – Auction

You can buy property at an auction in Ireland. This can be a good way to find cheaper, unusual property. We’ve written a complete guide about how you can buy property at auction in Ireland, so check that out for more information.

B – BER Certificate

The BER Certificate stands for “Building Energy Rating”, and rates the overall energy efficiency of a building (residential or commercial). The rating is similar to the energy label on your fridge and is denoted on a scale of A to G.  A1 is the most energy efficient and G being the least energy efficient. The certificate contains the following information:

  • The building name and address,
  • A BER number
  • The date of issue
  • The date until when the BER is valid
  • The BER assessor number
  • The BER assessor company number

B – Builder

When you’re provisionally viewing a house, it can be helpful to bring a builder along with you. They may be able to spot things that are wrong with the building, including potential structural issues. But bear in mind – this is not the same as a professional inspection or survey.

C – Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal work that covers the buying or selling a property. Check out our comprehensive guide on conveyancing.

C – Contract

In almost all residential sales, a contract is known as a contract for sale. The contract for sale binds the parties to the completion of the sale. In other words, once it’s signed you have to go through with it or risk losing your deposit. The completion date will be set out in the contract and the balance of the agreed purchase price will be due on that date.

If you buy at auction you must immediately sign the contract for sale. If you buy through private treaty (private treaty explained under P) your solicitor will check that the contract is in order before you sign it.

D – Deposit

This is a certain proportion of the total value of the property that you need to pay up front. Your mortgage typically covers the remainder of the cost.

E- Electoral Register

Make sure you tell the authorities when you move. Notifying the local council of your change of address quickly is a must. If you want to exercise your right to vote in local and national elections you will need to change your address on the role of electors. You can use to check to see if you are on the Electoral Register.

E – Exchange contracts

This phrase is used to describe the moment when legal contracts are swapped between the seller and the buyer of the property. The contracts are signed by the buyer ( purchaser) in duplicate, then passed over to be countersigned by the seller (vendor). The “exchange” takes place when the seller returns the signed contract to the purchaser, creating a binding agreement between them.

F – First-time buyer

A first-time buyer is someone that is buying their first property. It also means that they are not reliant on the sale of a current property to be able to complete.

Ordinarily, buying a house will coincide with someone else buying another house. This means that you are part of a chain of people all trying to buy and sell. This means that your purchase is often dependent on other deals being done. If there’s a first-time buyer in the chain, it simplifies matters as they won’t have a house to sell.

If you’re a first-time buyer yourself,  there are advantages and disadvantages. You may have access to help-to-buy-incentive (TTB) and better mortgage-rates but you may not have the experience and knowledge to help you make well-informed decisions. But don’t worry, we’ve already created a first-time buyers guide to help you.

G – Gazumping

Gazumping is when the seller of a property accepts an offer from someone that wants to buy the house but then changes their mind and accepts a higher offer from someone else.

G – Gazundering

This is the opposite of gazumping. A buyer might decide to lower their offer just before the contracts are signed. Sometimes the buyer doesn’t choose to do this but is reacting to an event in the chain, or findings in the survey. 

H – House Insurance

As a homeowner, it’s important to ensure your property against damage such as flooding, storm damage or even a fire. Contents insurance is also a great idea. You must have an insurance policy in place before a mortgage is agreed upon.

H – House Price Index

A house price index (HPI) is a tool that measures the price change for residential housing. In the Republic of Ireland, the central statistics of Ireland has published a monthly house price index since 2005.

I – Interest rate

You will have to pay interest on your mortgage. The interest rate is the amount you have to pay to borrow money. It is usually seen as a percentage per year. Interest rates can be either fixed or variable. Fixed means that the interest rate and the monthly payment stays the same for a set period of time. This means that for every month during this period your mortgage repayments will remain the same. A variable-rate mortgage will go up or down in relation to the Bank of Ireland’s base rate or your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR).

J – Joint Tenants

This means the whole property is owned by two or more people with the intention that, when one dies, the other person will automatically own all of the property.

K – Keys

When you buy your new house, it may-be a good idea to change the locks. This means you’ll know for certain how many keys there are and who has them.

L – Loan to Value Rate

The loan to value (LTV) is essentially the size of a mortgage that a lender is prepared to offer you in relation to the value of the property you are buying or re-mortgaging. For example, if the property value is €200,000 and the loan is for €150,000, then the LTV is 75%.

M – Mortgage

This is a loan that is provided to you by a lender (usually a bank or building society) so that you can purchase a property.

M – Mortgage Valuation Fee

This is often a fee charged by your mortgage lender for commissioning a mortgage valuation. A mortgage valuation is quite a basic inspection of your property. This is not a professional survey. The mortgage provider will value your property and make sure it’s worth the amount you wish to borrow. Some lenders might waive this fee on certain mortgage deals.

N – New Build

This term refers to a house that has recently been built or is yet to be built.

O – Off-plan

Off-plan refers to buying a house when it has not been built yet. This might sound risky, but in a market where property prices are on the up and more homes are needed, it can have its rewards. Buying off plan means that you’ll need to find a suitable development and, in some cases, pay a reservation fee.

P – Private Treaty Sales

A private treaty sale is the opposite of buying a house at auction. You’ll negotiate with the seller, usually via intermediaries such as an agent and solicitor, until you reach an agreement for the property. This is the most common way of buying property.

Q – Questions

If you are viewing a house it’s a good idea to have lots of questions prepared beforehand. These should include both broad and specific questions so that you leave the viewing with all the information you might need to make a decision.

R – Requisitions on Title

Requisitions on a Title are a set of conveyancing questions raised by the buyer’s conveyancing lawyers to the seller’s conveyancing lawyers. This is normally a questionnaire designed to get certain key information on the property. Questions can include:

  • A planning search, with the local planning office, to reveal whether there are plans to construct anything which would adversely affect the value, enjoyment or use of the property such as roads, railway lines, airports, shops or factories, and whether applications for planning permission in respect of the property have been lodged or refused;
  • A compulsory purchase order search with the local authority to find out whether the land is subject to compulsory purchase by the state or local authority, e.g. for road building or widening;
  • A licensing search (in the case of a hotel or pub).

S – Stamp Duty

A fee in the form of a government tax that’s added to the purchase price of a residential house or property. Stamp duty is normally 1% of the selling price of any residential property up to €1m.

S – Survey

This is a property health check carried out by professional property surveyors. The level of detail they will go into depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you are concerned about the structural health of a property, it is a good idea to get a comprehensive structural survey carried out. Being forewarned is being forearmed. A detailed house survey should be a priority because it will give you the peace of mind to move in worry-free.

The survey will, at the very least, produce a helpful ‘snag list’ on the property (an inspection of minor faults) allowing you to budget for repairs or renovations beforehand.

T – Transfer Deed

When a property is sold, a Deed of Transfer is submitted to the land registry, and the Registrar replaces the vendor’s name with the new buyer’s.

U – Unregistered Title

This is the term used to describe property which has not been registered in the Land Registry. The essential difference is that with a registered property the seller’s name is recorded in a Land Certificate and a purchaser does not have to trace back the previous owners as the persons whose name appears as the owner is regarded as being conclusive proof of his ownership.

V – Vendor

This is a conveyancing term used to describe the seller of the property.

W – Wayleave Agreement

A Wayleave Agreement is a formal agreement made between the landowner and the energy company to allow them to use the land to run cables or to place equipment on the site. In return for granting the right to use this land, the energy company will usually pay a fee, similar to a tenant paying rent to a landlord. A solicitor can check if there are any such agreements for the property you want to buy in place.

Y – Yield

Yield is a term often used in relation to how much a property can make through rent compared to its overall value. This term is commonly heard when discussing buy-to-let ventures. If a house has a high yield rate, it means that you have paid a fairly low price for the property but are able to rent it out for a higher price.

Z – Zoning

Zoning is the process for when local authorities decide what land can be used for. This happens when local authorities create development plans for areas of land. Land may be designated for residential use, for industrial, commercial, agricultural or recreational use; as open space; or a mixture of these uses. Home buyers should check that the property they want to buy has been build in a zone of land designated for residential use.

Property Conveyancing With Gibson & Associates

At Gibson & Associates, we offer a high-quality conveyancing service. It’s our job to make sure your property transaction goes through smoothly and efficiently.

While our solicitors will handle all the details of a property exchange, they’ll also ensure you’re kept in the loop, explaining the process in an approachable and jargon-free manner.

We also offer fixed fees on all our conveyancing services, so you’ll never pay more than what’s first agreed.

Get in touch with our dedicated team today. We’d be delighted to answer any queries or questions you may have. You can call us on 1890 989 289 or fill out the form below:

We’re In The Final: The Irish Law Awards 2018

Exciting news…Gibson & Associates Solicitors are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the final of the Irish Law Awards 2018. We’re the only County Donegal law firm that was selected for the final this year.

We have made into the final top eight from entries all over Ireland, in the excellence in the Marketing & Communications category.  The Excellence in Marketing and Communication Award 2018 honours a firm of solicitors who have deployed a marketing programme with clients which was perceived to reflect positively on the legal profession in Ireland and to have a positive effect on the solicitors’ firm involved. Gibson and Associates Solicitors is the only law firm in Ulster to be shortlisted in this category.

This is the second year that the firm has reached the prestigious finals after being nominated for Ulster Law Firm of the Year Award 2014.

Who We Are

We are a law firm with a mission – to change the face of law though empathy, outstanding client care, professionalism in a fun and approachable way. The firm is growing rapidly, in January we made our fifth acquisition taking over Dublin based law firm Barron Morris, and we still manage to retain the personality and individual dedication of a smaller firm.

We are in a whole range of areas: Personal Injury*, Conveyance (residential & commercial), Data Protection, Wills & Probate, Insolvency Law and Immigration. We deliver high quality advice and achieve the best outcomes for our clients all over Ireland.

The Awards

The awards aim to identify, honour, and publicise outstanding achievements, while also recognising those who have dedicated their lives to serving in the legal profession. This annual event is designed to recognise excellence in the legal profession of Ireland, commending the achievements of lawyers. Similar events have been hosted across Europe for many years, and this prestigious ceremony allows Irish legal professionals to be recognised alongside their international peers. This year has 39 categories.

Miriam O’Callaghan with last year’s winner of the Law Firm of the Year Award – Ronan Daly Jermyn. Photo credit: The Irish Examiner.

Miriam O’Callaghan will host the event to be held in the Clayton Burlington Hotel on Friday the 11th of May. The full list of finalists can be viewed at The Irish Law Awards

Now, do you want to find out more about us? Follow us on your favourite social media site!

Facebook: GibsonAssociatesSolicitors

Instagram: gibsonandassociates_solicitors

Twitter: GibsonSolicitor

LinkedIn: Companies – Gibson & Associates Solicitors Ireland   

How to Get an Entrepreneur Visa for Ireland

Are you looking to emigrate to another country and set up your business? Look no further than Ireland – a hotbed of talent and attractive incentives, making it ideal for an ambitious entrepreneur. The Irish Government offers a special visa for entrepreneurs hoping to start new business enterprises in Ireland.

Read our detailed explanation of the Irish Entrepreneur Visa below. It contains everything you need to know about what the visa is, who is eligible and how to get one. 

What is an Irish Entrepreneur Visa?

The Irish Entrepreneur Visa helps business owners to set up their businesses in Ireland. It’s part of the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (or STEP). The purpose of STEP is to help non-EEA (European Economic Area) nationals and their families to get secure residency status in Ireland when they commit to a high potential start-up business in Ireland.

The aim of the programme is to support High Potential Start-Ups. These are defined in the following ways:

  • Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets
  • Involved in manufacturing or internationally traded services
  • Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up
  • Led by an experienced management team
  • Headquartered and controlled in Ireland
  • Less than 5 years old

The Programme was created by the Irish Government in 2012 to encourage productive investment in Ireland. In return it offers residency in Ireland to dynamic business professionals with a proven record of success.

Why is Ireland a great choice for businesses, investors and start-ups?

Ireland is an attractive place to run a business for many reasons including its tax regime. Globally, Ireland ticks many of the boxes for companies looking to invest. This is one of the reasons why many Multinational Companies use Ireland for their headquarters.

Ireland’s continuing success stems from its ability to attract cutting-edge Foreign Direct Investment from European and Asia-Pacific countries, and the USA. With more and more companies locating their overseas business here, it demonstrates a growing confidence. Almost 1,000 companies – including many of the best-known world brands – have placed Ireland at the hub of their European networks because of the opportunities the country offers.

A young, highly educated workforce, Low Corporation Tax Rate, a generous 25% Research and Development Tax Credit scheme and easy access to other European markets are just some of the reasons why many people are choosing to start businesses in Ireland. If you’re looking for inspiration, we recently identified the most inspiring Irish start-ups to watch in 2017/18.

How do I get the Irish Entrepreneur Visa?

To apply for the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme, you’ll need to complete the entrepreneur application form (pdf). Applicants will also have to pay a non-refundable application fee of €350.

You’ll need the following documentation to complete the application:

  • Your passport and those of your spouse/partner and dependents (if applicable)
  • Evidence of family relationships (if applicable)
  • Evidence of funds
  • Evidence of investment or details of start-up
  • Police report or character report from risk management consultancy for yourself and for your spouse or partner (if applicable)

Who should apply for the Irish Entrepreneur Visa?

The Irish Start-up Entrepreneur Visa Programme is perfect for non-EEA residents that are experienced business people with an innovative business plan. If you’re trying to set up your business in Ireland and gain residence in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, STEP is for you.

What are the benefits of the Irish Entrepreneur Visa? – What citizenship rights do I get if accepted?

If your application is successful, you and your nominated family members will be granted residence in Ireland for two years, which will be renewable for a further three years. After five years residence, you’ll have the option to apply for long-term residence.

If it’s required you’ll be given a multiple entry visa for Ireland for the same duration. This will allow you to both live In and travel freely to Ireland while you have the Visa.

IMPORTANT: This Programme does not give you or your family Irish citizenship. If you’re granted residence under STEP you can apply for Irish citizenship under the terms of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts near the end of your Entrepreneur Visa duration.

Do I qualify for the Irish Entrepreneur Visa?

When applying, there are a few things that are key to your STEP application success:

  1. You need to clearly demonstrate that you have the minimum funds that the programme requires. If you are the first founder of the start-up, this is €50k. For any subsequent founder, this is €30k.
  2. You need to include a detailed and robust business plan.

If these two criteria can be met, an independent committee will then examine your application on its unique merits.

Remember, this Visa is for non-EEA residents. Countries that belong to the EEA are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.

Countries that are EEA member countries but NOT part of the European Union are: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein.

Keep in mind: Switzerland, while a member of EFTA, is neither in the EU nor in the EEA.

Who does not qualify for residency under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme

  • EEA residents
  • The STEP is not intended for retail, personal services, catering or other businesses of that nature. The “Business Permission Scheme”, offered by the Government of Ireland is better suited for enterprises such as the above.

Alternatives to the Entrepreneur Visa

If you are looking to move to Ireland but don’t qualify for the Irish Entrepreneur Visa, we can advise you. The Immigrant Investor Programme offers the same resident benefits as the Entrepreneur Visa. Find out more about this type of Irish Immigration Visa here.

How Can Gibson & Associates help you get the Irish Entrepreneur Visa?

Ireland is the perfect place to set up business and put down roots. Our experts can do the hard work for you. We’ll take complete ownership of the STEP application, keeping you informed along the way. This leaves you to get on with building your business.

At Gibson & Associates, we’re dedicated to making the application process easy and stress-free for you. In our hands, your application stands a better chance of being approved first time, saving you money on not having to apply more than once. We’ll make sure your application is organised and accurate, giving you the best chance at success.

Why Choose Gibson & Associates?

Our specialised team have the experience and skill to make sure your application is both compelling and persuasive. You and your circumstances are unique – your solicitor should be too.  Get in touch with our experienced immigration team today, and we’ll get back to you within three hours or less.

What is Property Conveyancing? Conveyancing Explained

shaking hands over computer

If you’re in the process of buying or selling a property, you’ll need a solicitor to do your conveyancing. Although you may already know this, you may not be 100% sure what conveyancing actually is.

If this is the case, don’t worry – you’re not alone! We’re here to demystify everything. In this guide, we’ll talk you through exactly what conveyancing is, who does it, why you need it, and what you should expect from the process.

What is conveyancing?

In a nutshell, conveyancing is the “legal” transfer of a property from one owner to another. Any admin work needed to make sure a house purchase is legally valid falls under this term. The conveyancing process is considered completed once signed contracts are exchanged between the buyer and seller. The process starts when an offer is accepted on a house and ends when the buyer has the keys.

Who needs conveyancing?

If you’re buying or selling property, you’ll need to go through the conveyancing process.

Who carries out the conveyancing?

While it’s possible to do conveyancing yourself, (as long as you’re not using a mortgage) it’s a complex process, with huge consequences if not done correctly. That’s why it’s generally advised that you arrange for a conveyancing professional to help you. By handing it over to a property solicitor or a licensed conveyancer, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’ll be 100% legally protected when you sell or buy your house.

What does a conveyancing solicitor do?

Depending on whether you’re selling or buying a property, your conveyancer will play slightly different roles. However, their key job is to make sure your property’s title deeds, along with the land it sits on, get transferred correctly from the old owner to the new one. If you’re the buyer, your conveyancer will collaborate with the seller’s conveyancer, and vice versa.

By the end of this process, if you’re buying the property you’ll become the legal owner of the property, and if you’re selling, you’ll be removed as the legal owner.

Buying a Property: What a Conveyancing Solicitor will do

Your conveyancing solicitor will carry out a number of other important tasks. If you’re buying property, it’s your property solicitor’s job to:

  1. Carry out local authority searches in relation to the property to check for any issues with the property.

This will include checking any forthcoming planning issues, such as transport or building plans that are likely to affect the home you want to buy. It will also include an environmental report which will check that the house was built on good land, whether or not it’s liable to flooding etc.

  1. Request and obtain a copy of your mortgage offer

This will contain your mortgage lenders’ instructions for the conveyancer to act on their behalf.

  1. Liaise with your property’s seller’s solicitor to receive a contract pack

This will include the draft contract which specifies the terms of the purchase/sale

  1. Organise the potential completion dates with the seller’s solicitor

They’ll liaise between the buyer and seller and organise a completion date – this date will depend on the property chain involved in the sale.

  1. Draft a deed transferring title in the property to the buyer

The buyer’s solicitor will draft a deed transferring title in the property to the buyer and give the lending institution a certificate of title. This is a legally binding document and will determine that the property belongs to the new buyer.

  1. Transfer the signed transfer deeds to the seller’s conveyancer
  2. Forward the title deeds to your mortgage lender
  3. Transfer the property’s deposit to the seller’s conveyancer
  4. Swap the signed contracts with the seller’s conveyancer on the agreed date
  5. Request payment of the mortgage advance from your lender
  6. Transfer the balance of the purchase price (less the deposit already paid) to the seller’s conveyancer.
  7. Forward documentation regarding the transfer of ownership to the Land Registry
  8. Check whether the capital gains tax (CGT) has been paid by the seller

Selling Your Property: What a Conveyancing Solicitor will do

If you’re selling your property, it’s your conveyancing solicitor’s job to carry out the following tasks:

  1. Draw up the draft contract

This will detail what you intend to include within the price of the property, along with a suggested date of completion. This will then be sent to the buyer for approval.

  1. Negotiate on your behalf the terms of the draft contract depending on what the buyer requests

Any issues between the two parties about the draft contract will need to be resolved at this point

  1. Liaise with the buyers’ solicitor to organise a potential completion date
  2. Receive the signed transfer deeds from the buyers’ conveyancer
  3. Exchange finalised contracts
  4. Receive the property’s deposit from the buyer on the sellers’ behalf
  5. Hand over documents to the buyer that proves ownership of the property
  6. Pay off any outstanding mortgage from the proceeds of the sale

How much does conveyancing cost?

Prices for conveyancing services can depend on which solicitor/conveyancer you choose, where you’re buying or selling a property and the value of the home. However, you should never expect to pay more than around €1500 + VAT.

It’s important to check exactly what a conveyancer is offering within their quote. While the above tasks should all be included, check that your chosen solicitor’s processes are included in a fixed fee – this way you’ll avoid any nasty billing surprises later.

How should I choose a solicitor?

Buying and selling a property can be a stressful process, so it’s important that the conveyancer you choose makes you feel as at ease as possible. At the end of the day, you’re trusting someone with organising the legal ownership your home – so feeling like you’re being looked after and prioritised is really important.

By opting for a solicitor that shows a human side and empathises with the stress and financial implications of buying/selling property, it can make the process far less challenging.

Reviews are also really useful. Check what previous clients have to say about a firm – this will say a lot about how a company treats their clients in general.

Gibson & Associates’ Conveyancing Package

At Gibson & Associates, we’re proud to offer an extremely valuable and competitive conveyancing service, with added extras designed to make the process as seamless and as stress-free as possible. These include:

  • Competitive, fixed fees
  • A 21-day closing service, saving many of our clients up to a month’s rent if buying from a rented property
  • A dedicated point of contact with an assigned member of our team
  • Appointments via video call, so you don’t have to travel to our offices
  • General advice and guidance on buying and selling property throughout Ireland

We understand how stressful buying or selling a property is, which is why we go out of our way to provide you with a service that provides the peace of mind you need. Our team has a depth of experience in successfully closing property deals quickly, cleanly and efficiently across the country – from Dublin to Galway; from Cork to Donegal.

Find out more about our conveyancing service today and how we can help you.

GDPR (Data Protection) Event 2018

Were you there? Our GDPR (Data Breach & Data Protection) event was hosted in Letterkenny last night – 14th March. And well! … What a great night it turned out to be. The venue was jam-packed with professionals in industries ranging from IT, hospitality, B2B services, youth workers, financial services, and many others.

GDPR event 2GDPR event

We certainly could see that GDPR is a hot topic in the business world; the level of engagement at the talk was highly captivating, and questions from the audience were thought-provoking on this – at times – complex subject.

The Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce introduced the first speaker Conor McLaughlin, Solicitor at Gibson & Associates Solicitors. Conor is a Data Protection Law expert, and it was evident at the event that he is passionate about GDPR law (and, not to mention, highly knowledgeable!). Conor began by introducing us to the foundations and definitions of GDPR, highlighting WHY this law is being implemented and WHO will be primarily affected. He went on to provide detailed, informative (and at times, humorous) examples of situations that would be in breach of the new regulation.

Next, we heard from tec support IT security experts that provided several fascinating but somewhat frightening facts and stats for us in the realm of cyber-security. Roy and Donal from tec support provided us with a road-map to GDPR, then valuable tips on Malware, and do you know how to spot a phishing attack?

GDPR – Time Is Running Out!

There were lots of valuable insights and learnings to take home from the event! The Q&A session was fervorous, but unfortunately, time ran out quickly. Now time is running out for everyone to become GDPR compliant.

GDPR event 3

This was a unique opportunity to get the legal and tech perspectives on GDPR, if you made it to the seminar, we hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did!

If you need help with Data Protection Law, get in touch below.

International Women’s Day – Celebrating Women In The Legal Profession

Today is known globally as International Women’s day – a day that’s a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is #PressforProgress –  join together in pushing global attention towards achieving the ultimate goal of gender equality. A cause in which the Irish legal profession is leading a global change.

It’s appropriate that we acknowledge the achievement of women in the legal industry. In a world’s first, the number of female solicitors practicing in Ireland has overtaken the number of male solicitors; this is a monumental moment for the profession. Female solicitors are now outranking men with 52% of practicing solicitors now women. In Donegal, solicitor numbers are 129 practicing, composed of 61 men, and 68 women. The milestone is particularly striking in the context of the profession’s historical background; the first woman solicitor, Mary Dorothea Heron, was only admitted as a solicitor 92 years ago, in 1923.

The Law Society Director general Ken Murphy mentions that being a solicitor takes intelligence, determination and hard work – gender doesn’t come into it, nor should it. However, I do think this current balance is something we can be proud of – that within 90-odd years, women have moved from being excluded from our profession to a point of perfect equality”……” It is something of a global phenomenon, but Ireland has led it.

One of our trainee solicitors Sorcha Duffy gives her view on becoming a solicitor. Sorcha joined the firm in November 2013 having completed a Bachelor of Corporate Law degree in 2009.

female solicitorWhat area of law are you interested in?

I’ve been mostly working in the areas of conveyance and probate at the current time. My goal after I qualify is to move into litigation law.

What are you looking forward to most in 2018?  

“I’m taking my final exams this year so it’s been a challenging studying and working but I hope to be qualified as a solicitor before the end of the year. I’ve recently got engaged so it’s also been an exciting year for making plans.

What attracted you to the legal profession?

“I’ve had an interest in law from an early age; I knew this was what I wanted to do. I do like a challenge and working in law, I knew that I would be pushed.  I like working with and helping people too, that was another aspect that drew me to the profession.”

Who is your inspirational lady?

“There are so many, that I don’t know where to start. Mary Robinson for one, first female President of Ireland, I find her inspirational in many facets of her life from her legal, then political career to her work for the UN as a commissioner of human rights.

Judge Judy…haha… because she is straight, and to the point. She gets what she wants. And of course, my Mum.”

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the profession?

“The biggest challenge now I think for solicitors is the way technology is changing the industry at such a fast pace. It’s not enough now to be good at law, you must have the ability to change and learn new technology skills now to succeed”.

Finally, what advice would you give a young inspiring solicitor? Or advice tips for anyone thinking of studying law?

“Be prepared to work hard. Nothing comes easy. If you like a challenge, this is the right career for you. Focus on the goals you want to achieve, and you will be highly rewarded”.

We’re Hiring – Legal Executive

Legal Secretary

An exciting opportunity for an experienced Legal Executive to become part of our amazing team has now become available.  The ideal candidate will be able to start immediately and preferably have a background in Personal Injury & Litigation Law. This is a permanent role in our expanding Letterkenny office.

Skills and Requirements:


  • Excellent people skills, phone skills and organisational skills.
  • Excellent administration skills.
  • Previous experience working in a busy office is essential.
  • Knowledge of the personal injury processes (PIAB).
  • Willingness to learn and perform to a high standard.


  • 2+ years previous experience in a medium sized busy firm.

You will be able to show us that you’re hard working, enthusiastic and motivated.  You can clearly demonstrate your passion and approach for getting the best from those around you.  Alongside outstanding communication and time management skills, you have great attention to detail.

If you can demonstrate you’re the right person for the role, with the right mix of experience, skills, and ability – and if you’re ready to take on a new challenge and help us continually improve what we do and how we do it then send your CV & Cover Letter to by 16th of March 2018.

Free GDPR Event for Donegal Businesses | 14th March 2018

There are only three months left to make sure your business is ready for the GDPR. If you’re feeling confused, worried or just plain overwhelmed by what needs to be done – don’t worry. At Gibson & Associates Solicitors, we’ve got both your and your business’s backs.

To help you and your business with the transition, we’re running a unique and completely free GDPR event for Donegal-based businesses at 5 pm on Wednesday 14th March in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny.

Our event will explain everything you need to know about GDPR. This will include myth-busting, clarifications and provide you with clear action points that will help you become compliant and protect your business.

Who will the GDPR Affect?

The GDPR comes into force across Europe on the 25th May 2018. By this date, every business holding data in the EU will need to comply with the new guidelines in order to avoid eye-watering fines.

The law change will affect anyone who handles the personal data of EU citizens. It’s a significant legislation change for any organisation, business or charity that handles the personal data of individuals that are either employed or related to that organisation in any way. It’s really important that you understand how GDPR will affect your business. (You can find more information on the new guidelines here.)

The GDPR Repercussions for Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with the GDPR could cost your business up to €20 million or 4% of your company’s total annual revenue – whichever is greater – so it’s crucial that your business is prepared as soon as possible.

There’s currently a lot of confusing and contradictory GDPR advice being thrown around in the run-up to the deadline. Many companies find themselves confused about what changes they need to make. That’s why we want to clear the air and make sure you understand exactly what legal and technological implications the GDPR will have on your business.

Free Legal & Technological Advice on the GDPR

In partnership with Irish IT security experts tec support, our seminar will tackle GDPR from a legal and technological standpoint.

As the legal experts, we’ll focus on how you can improve your internal processes to ensure legal compliance with the GDPR while the seminar will also touch on how to optimise your general IT security. We’ll also clarify any confusion surrounding the new data protection, making sure you leave with clear action points to take away and apply to your business.

Book your Place Today

For businesses who haven’t yet prepared for the GDPR, this is an unmissable event. Places are limited, so book your free ticket today.

You can either email or register on Eventbrite. Details of the event time and location are below:

  • Location: The Mount Errigal Hotel | Ballyraine | Letterkenny | Ireland
  • Scheduled: Wednesday, 14 March 2018 from 17:00 to 19:00 (GMT)