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What are the advantages of hiring a conveyancing solicitor?

Conveyancing Solicitors Dublin

The first time you will probably ever need to consider hiring a conveyancing solicitor is buying your first home. Then, there maybe other occasions such as selling your home, switching a mortgage, or changing ownership. Conveyance involves the processing of documents involved, and the legal transfer of home and/or land ownership deeds.

You could attempt doing conveyancing yourself but it’s not recommended the process is very complicated; property is expensive; and you don’t need the extra costs of errors over minor things like where to park your car; or major disputes over land boundaries. It’s best to use a licenced property/conveyancing solicitor to do the conveyancing work for you. If you’re taking out a mortgage, you MUST use a licenced property/conveyancing solicitor.

A conveyancing solicitor is a licenced conveyancer working in a legal firm or sole practice, generally used for buying and/or selling property.

So you have made an offer on a property? You need to hire your conveyancing solicitor once the offer has been accepted. And, the same goes if you’re selling a property. You will find a list of reputable solicitors on The Law Society website (www.lawsociety.ie), or contact our property solicitors here look for a property solicitor that has a few years experience, and remember that the cheapest conveyancer is not always the best!

What will your conveyance solicitor do?

Here is a brief summary of a few typical tasks that you can expect your solicitor to take care of for you:

Handle contracts

One of the most important tasks a solicitor will complete for you, is the drawing up of documents, this includes transferring the Title of Ownership. For selling a property a Contract of Sale will be prepared. They will also deal with the formal mortgage offer and all the conditions on your behalf and the deposit will be handed over to the seller’s solicitor.

Give legal advice

The solicitor will do the legal leg work for you; and give you advice to inform any decisions you make. For example, this could include any special conditions you want to stipulate on the contract of sale, or, maybe you want to stipulate a special condition that resulted from the property searches, to help protect your rights.

Carry out local council searches

When buying a property there is an obligation for the seller to inform you of certain things such as defects on the property, before the contract is signed. However, they don’t legally have to tell you everything, this is why searches are important. You will find out the answers to questions such as does that adjacent shed have planning permission? Etc.

Deal with the Land Registry or Registry of Deeds

There are two systems of dealing with the documents transferred in a property transaction: the Land Registry or the Registry of Deeds. Your solicitor will know which one is appropriate in your case, and carry out the necessary checks.

Transfer the funds to pay for your property

Once your offer on a property is accepted, known as ‘sale agreed’, a booking deposit is paid to the estate agent, then the sale details can be sent to your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor. Your solicitor will then arrange to have the deposit on the property paid. Your solicitor will agree a ‘closing date’ the date that you get your keys, the remainder of the money must be paid and associated paperwork completed.

RISKS OF NOT USING A CONVEYANCER

By not using a good solicitor to carry out your conveyancing work, you are potentially opening up yourself to several risks and disadvantages:

Costly Mistakes

Conveyancing can be a complicated process, mistakes can be hugely expensive. Look for a solicitor with several years experience, they will also have insurance if something does go wrong. If you’re doing a DIY conveyancing, and something goes wrong, you will have to hire a solicitor anyway to amend any errors.

Could save you money

A good conveyancing solicitor has the experience to advise on any potential pitfalls, when purchasing a property, this specialist advice could save you money. They will advise on any issues that come out of property searches, and advise you in court if a dispute arises.

Top Tip

When getting a conveyancing quote, ask if your fee estimate covers all costs. Sometimes there are additional charges such as stamp duty, so ask for your quote to include all charges when buying a property. Shop around online when looking for a conveyancer, rather than taking the estate agents recommended solicitor — this could save you money.

Knowledge

Maybe you’ve moved to a new city such as Dublin, here you don’t know the areas very well. Try to hire a conveyance solicitor based in Dublin, they will have knowledge of the estate agents and locality.

They also will know the local development plans, so you can find out if a nightclub is going to open up at the end of the road sometime soon. Or, maybe the neighbour has a right of way to your property. This will beneficial especially when thinking about resale value of the property.

Legislation

Property law often changes, a solicitor will be up to date on all new and pending legislation, as well as new legal processes. For example, the process normally used in Ireland to buy and sell houses will change next year. Starting Jan 2019, solicitors will move to a pre-contract investigation of title (PCIT) system. It means that property title queries will be dealt with pre-contract, this method is already the modus operandi by Gibson & Associates Conveyancing Solicitors.

Your conveyance solicitor will know all the legal terms and advise on any contract terms that could be hidden in fine print. If there are any issues in the sellers contact, they will be able to negotiate extensions and qualifications on the conditions.

Complex Transactions

Sometimes property transactions can be drawn out very complicated, especially where additional land is involved. This is where an experienced conveyancing solicitor will really shine. For example, in cases where the title deeds are lost or contested, could be tricky for an amateur conveyancer.

When it comes to the contacts involved in these transactions, solicitors will carefully examine any contracts, it can be easy for the untrained eye to overlook a detail until it’s too late, and end up with residential disputes into the bargain.

Other situations include commercial property transactions, this type of conveyancing is very different from buying a house.

Odds & ends

A Solicitor can speed up the conveyancing process for you, Gibson & Associates Solicitors offer a 21 day closing service, this means you could have the keys to your house in three weeks! This is done by liaising with your bank or mortgage provider to ensure that all contract conditions are met by due dates.

You will receive an organised list of all paperwork and ensure that you receive a clear title of property. Your solicitor will also tie up any loose ends, taking the stress out of property for you!

If you would like a no obligation conveyancing quote, fill out the contact us form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible 🙂

 

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Mortgage Solicitors: 1 in 5 people could save thousands on their mortgage…

mortgage solicitors

We all want to enjoy our new home without the stress and burden of struggling with mortgage repayments (if you do find yourself struggling to pay your mortgage, you should act quickly to stop yourself from falling into debt). A mortgage is, after all, one of the biggest financial undertakings you are likely to take in your lifetime and you want the best deal that is available to you, or at least, have a loan repayment option that is manageable.

There are three options to help reduce repayment costs (options should be discussed with your mortgage provider).

  1. Switch lender:

The number of people that switch lenders in Ireland is quite low, despite the good incentives currently on the market. It really is worth comparing deals, as it can be a very rewarding option.

  1. Get a better rate related to the equity in your home:

If you are on a variable mortgage, ask your lender if your repayments could be lowered by opting for a Loan-to-Value (LTV) loan rate: LTV rates are based on the value of the home relative to what is owed on it.

  1. Break out of your fixed rate and get a cheaper interest rate:

Many mortgage holders can now break out of fixed uncompetitive mortgage rates without being hit with an exit penalty — check with your lender as high exit rates still might apply to one or two banks in the market.

Remortgaging

You may have heard the term re-mortgaging but were unsure of what it really means: it is basically switching your mortgage to a different deal, either with the same or another lender and using the new deal to repay the existing mortgage, or to borrow money against your property. Remember, you’re not tied into your mortgage deal for the rest of your life!

Why you should remortgage

1 in 5 people could save money on their mortgages by switching (according to research findings released by the Central Bank of Ireland on mortgage switching).  Surprisingly, only one in ten of mortgage holders switch! The people that do switch it’s usually because:

  • Their current fixed deal is up for renewal:

Most fixed deals last 2-5 years, after that you are put on the lender’s standard variable rate; there’s likely to be better rates on the market. Start shopping around 2-3 months before your rate ends.

  • They want to move from interest-only to repayment:

Interest only, as the title suggests is only paying back the interest on the money borrowed, with a repayment mortgage you pay back both interest and the capital amount borrowed over the term. Your lender generally will do this transaction for you without the need for a remortgage.

  • They want to be able to make overpayments:

Maybe you recently found yourself in favourable financial circumstances, for example, a pay rise or lucky enough to win some lotto money! And now you want to pay off some extra on your mortgage but your current lender won’t accept a large overpayment; it might be time to shop around (remember to check for the exit penalties).

  • They want to borrow more money, maybe for renovations or an extension.
  • They want to be at a better rate than you are currently on.

Photo credit: Central bank of Ireland

You could save thousands

Tens of thousands of euro could be saved: switching from a 4.5% rate to a 3.5% rate on a 20-year €300,000 mortgage could save you nearly €160 a month. Over the lifetime of a loan, which can add up to tens of thousands of euro in savings! On a €250,000 mortgage, over a 20-year period, the potential lifetime savings are €22,800.

Some lenders have special offers to help cover legal fees when switching.

Reasons for not switching

Research shows 44% of mortgage holders said that they “had not switched mortgages as they thought the process would be too complex”. Other reasons are not knowing how much money they could save, finding it difficult to compare mortgages or thinking that switching takes too long. The Central Bank of Ireland is now tackling this perception through new transparency rules for lenders.

But, the majority of people who do switch have a positive experience. If your current mortgage rate is over 3.4% it’s worth switching if you can.

What are the new measures that will make switching easier?

The Central Bank of Ireland is introducing changes to the 2012 Consumer Protection Code, to help consumers make savings on their mortgage repayments, provide additional protections to those eligible to switch, and facilitate mortgage switching through enhancing the transparency of the mortgage framework. The new measures will be effective from the first of January 2019.

But wait, a few things to consider first

Your loan to value ratio (LTV) how much mortgage you have in relation to how much your property is worth. The percentage you own is your equity — this is a key consideration before remortgaging.

Let’s say you bought your home for €200,000 and took out a repayment mortgage of €170,000. At the time of purchase, this would give you an LTV of around 85%. The best deals on remortgages tend to be available to people with an LTV of 60% or less.

Negative equity (an unfortunate consequence of the credit crunch) is when you owe more on your mortgage than your property is worth. Generally, lenders won’t approve your application if you are in negative equity.

When it may NOT be a good idea to remortgage

  • If you’re lucky enough to have a debt of less than €50,000, any savings made are not likely to be worth making the move.
  • Sometimes the cost of freeing yourself from your current deal exceeds the value of the savings, due to a large early repayment charge (exit fee).
  • Your home value has dropped.

A quick explainer of the two most common types of mortgages rates

Fixed Mortgage

Fixed rates are a lot less complicated than variable rates but in turn are a lot more restricted.  A fixed rate means that your interest and monthly repayments are fixed for a predetermined time, usually, over 1-3 years but they can go up to a maximum of 10 years. A fixed rate offers peace of mind to the customer because it means that your rate definitely won’t go up in that time. Unfortunately, your rate also definitely won’t go down which means you might miss out on lower interest rates and lower repayments.

It’s also important to note that there are a lot of fee penalties associated with fixed rate mortgages. You might be subject to penalties if you decide to move to a variable rate, if you want to switch lenders, re-mortgage or pay off all or part of your mortgage.

Variable Mortgage

Variable rates are subject to change, meaning that the interest rate can go up or down subject to a variety of factors. Unpredictability might not be the most attractive option for those looking for stability but it’s important to know that variable rates offer the most flexibility. Variable rates allow you to top up, extend or pay extra off your mortgage without having to pay any penalties.

I’m eligible to switch, now what?   

If you’re eligible to switch:

  • Compare all mortgage providers, you can get a good summary of current mortgage rates on sites such as Money Guide Ireland. Or ask a mortgage broker to do this for you, the fee could be up to several hundred euro but it will save you time and they will offer you impartial advice.
  • Bring the following information with you to the broker or bank: ID e.g. passport, Bank statement (usually 6 month), Proof of address, Salary certs, usually 3 months, P60.

Current Mortgage Incentives

Here are a few of the offers currently on the market — some of these offers include ‘controversial’ cashback offers, with the new rules enforceable in 2019 mortgage lenders will have to explain the pros and cons of these offers.

BOI offer 2% cashback to all new customers and 3% to those with current accounts with them (no maximum cashback).
PTSB offer 2% cashback lump sum for new customers and 2% of the monthly repayments back until 2027.
EBS give 2% cashback to all new mortgage customers.
Ulster Bank offer €1500 towards legal fees for all new customers.
KBC will give €3000 to mortgage switchers only.
AIB give €2000 cashback for mortgage switchers.

Do you need a property solicitor to remortgage?

Generally, yes. The process is called conveyancing.  By using a conveyancing solicitor for this process, you have the peace of mind that all the details have been accounted for, protecting you legally and financially, while ensuring the remortgage goes ahead quickly and smoothly.

  • Your solicitor will obtain the deeds from your old mortgage provider.
  • He/she will examine the title to the property to make sure that it is in order and can provide sufficient security to your new lender.
  • He/she will guide you through the details of your new offer.

Remember it is well worth the expense to have it done properly, and if it is done by a professional you’re a lot more likely to have the mortgage accepted by the lender. Changing your mortgage could change your life!

If you have decided to switch mortgage providers in order to save money, Gibson & Associates  Solicitors can carry out the legal work on your behalf.

How to Buy Auction Property in Ireland

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, moving up the ladder or looking to invest your savings in a buy-to-let, purchasing property at auction can be a great option.

Auctions offer so many opportunities and benefits for property buyers. However, there is also an air of mystery surrounding the finer legal details, bidder etiquette and potentially tricky financial implications that can cause worry and stress. A reluctance to see auctions as anything but a safe and viable way to buy is only to be expected.

Auctions are just one of many ways to buy property. In this guide, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about buying a property at auction in Ireland with some helpful do’s and don’ts around the process.

Remember, it’s always wise to do the research and understand your options before diving in. At Gibson & Associates, we’ve got you covered with all the information you might need.

You can use the below quick links to go directly to the different sections of the guide:

Why should I buy property at auction?

In short, auctions can be a simple, speedy and stress-free way to buy property. They are also a fantastic way to get a property at a lower price.

Auctions are great for people looking for unusual properties that estate agents wouldn’t know how to sell. If no one else has noticed its potential, you could find a bargain. Property at auction can be up to 30% cheaper than those bought through a regular sale.

If you win the bidding you have bought the property. It’s as simple as that. Often, purchasing through an estate agent is a nerve-wracking process fraught with potential pit-falls. The possibility of being pipped at the post by a more attractive last-minute offer is an ever-present threat. At an auction, you can see the people you are bidding against in real time; a bidder is able to nimbly react to counter bids.

Unlike other buying methods, the race to get your bid in first does not apply to an auction. All bidders operate from a level playing field making the process more transparent and fair.

Another benefit of buying at auction is that deals don’t fall through due to protracted delays from other parties or breakdowns in communication. All negotiations play out in the bidding.

Auctions offer flexible methods of bidding (by proxy, by phone or online). Attending an auction event in person is still the most popular way to buy property under the hammer but technology is increasingly providing other options.

INTERESTING: Used by some estate agents the modern method of auction allows buyers to bid on a property online. The buyer will pay a non-refundable reservation fee, but will have a longer completion timescale, giving the buyer time to sort mortgage finance.

Finding auction properties in Ireland

DO: your homework.

Decide on the area you’re interested in and contact the auction houses that cater to that area, then ask for a catalogue and subscribe to their mailing list. For a list of upcoming property auctions In Ireland, visit Myhome.ie.

Alternatively, you can find out when there are going to be auctions by reading specialist property magazines and newspapers, as well as asking local estate agents – or looking on the websites of some of the big auction houses.

Auction houses in Ireland:

Before every auction, a catalogue of the properties up for sale will be published. You will usually have between two and four weeks between the publication of an auction catalogue and the sale.

Study the catalogue and make a shortlist of properties you’re interested in. Then contact the auctioneers and arrange an appointment to view the properties. Arrange viewings and, if possible, take a builder or architect with you as this will be a great chance to view and superficially survey the property.

A property auction timeline

  1. Contact auction houses and read auctioneer magazines or websites, ask for property brochures
  2. Work out how much you can afford – use online tools, pull together deposits, research mortgages
  3. Find a property that is within budget and meets your requirements.
  4. Organise viewing appointments for the properties that you are interested in
  5. Contact a chartered surveyor
  6. Find and instruct a solicitor to do the potential legal work
  7. Attend a property auction and make a bid
  8. If you win, pay the deposit on the day with the remainder to be paid up to a month afterwards

Can I get a survey for auction properties?

Chartered surveyors can undertake surveys of the property for sale as long as the auction house allows access prior to the auction. Sometimes they will post a key to the surveyor, in other cases access is limited to a prearranged viewing appointment. External assessments can be made independently of both of the above situations.

INFORMATION: What’s a building survey?

A building survey is an inspection carried out to get an idea of the general condition of a property. A building survey can take different forms and be carried out by various professionals, but it is very important that the professional you do hire is experienced and competent. A building survey will identify any obvious defects that would ordinarily be missed by the untrained eye, and report on these to the client whilst also outlining recommendations.

Chartered Surveyors typically offer two types of survey. The choice of survey will depend on the age, type and condition of the subject property.

Homebuyer reports can be undertaken in two parts; the inspection and an email summary in advance of the auction with a full written report to follow if the bidder is successful. The summary would typically include the key points including structural movement, dampness and timber defects.

Make sure you know what you’re buying – a homebuyer’s report cost will depend on the conveyance solicitor you hire. A structural survey will also be an added cost, too. You’ll lose any money you have spent if you decide not to buy the property or if your bid is unsuccessful

In addition, a Solicitors Pre-Auction Report (SPAR) will:

  • provide insight into the legal state, mortgagability and registrability of the property
  • offer practical and cost-effective legal and indemnity insurance-based solutions

SPAR is a thorough report carried out by an auction specialist solicitor that gives buyers:

  • awareness of legal issues that could impact the value of the property and pre-auction advice about the options and costs of remedying these issues
  • an understanding of the quality of the legal title
  • reassurance that the property will be registrable at the Land Registry in the buyer’s name
  • reassurance that the property meets the mortgage lender’s criteria (where relevant)
  • an understanding of the contract that the buyer will enter into

Try to treat buying a property at auction the same as any other property purchase – make sure you do all the same checks and preparations. Arrange viewings and consider the level of help you might need.

Financial aspects to consider

How much does buying property at auction cost?

A bidder may have to pay an administration fee to the auction house in order to take part. This is normally a registration or subscription fee. Contact your nearest property auction house for specific costings.

  • Solicitor or conveyancer fees will apply if you want to use these services
  • Stamp duty (consult your auction conveyancing solicitor for guidance on costs)
  • On signing the contract you’ll be responsible for insuring the property
  • VAT might be payable depending on the type of property you are bidding on (consult your auction conveyancing solicitor for guidance on costs)

Property auction guide prices

DON’T: rely on the guide price (the advertised price) Instead, ask local estate agents and neighbours for their opinions and compare it with other properties on sale locally. This will give you a realistic “ball-park” price to consider when you go to auction.

To attract potential buyers the guide price is usually set at a lower cost than what the property is likely to be sold for.

DO: monitor the guide price on the run-up to the auction because if it goes up this might mean there is a lot of interest in the property.

How can I finance buying property at auction?

Much like buying properties through more traditional methods you can arrange mortgages or loans to help you pay for the rest of the property. It is very important to be as organised as possible prior to the auction as proceedings can develop very quickly.

DO: have a mortgage agreement in principle arranged first if this applies to you.

If you’re worried about getting the finance in time, it may be worth thinking about taking out a bridging loan to tide you over until you get the mortgage. A bridging loan helps to cover a gap between payments due and money becoming available.

This type of short-term loan normally only takes about 10 days to arrange, quicker than a typical residential mortgage.

Do I need legal help when purchasing properties at auction?

Auction Property Conveyancing

Although conveyancing is much more straightforward with auction properties, it’s still important to have professional legal help. An experienced solicitor in conveyancing, in particular around properties won at auction, is highly recommended.

In lay-man’s terms, conveyancing is the transfer of property from one person to another. This includes dealing with the relevant business arrangements in the exchanging of legal documents and fees incurred. An auction conveyancing solicitor will help you negotiate any of those fees in order to get you the best deal possible.

Gibson & Associates are an Irish law firm with extensive conveyancing experience. Our property auction solicitors provide the peace of mind you need when buying or selling a property. Find out more here.

The legal pack

Auctioneers can give you a legal pack (on request) for properties you’re interested in before the auction. This includes the title deeds, local authority and environmental searches, fixtures-and-fittings list and a seller’s information form, plus any relevant leasehold information.

However – consider asking a solicitor to look over this for any hidden covenants or loopholes that could end up costing you more than you bargained for.

What do I need to bring to a property auction?

Let’s look at what you’ll need on the day and what actually happens when you attend a property auction.

  1. Most importantly, if you intend to bid, you will need to be able to pay a 10% deposit of the total fee. The remainder is then payable 20 to 30 days later. You can use cash, a debit card or a banker’s draft.

IMPORTANT: if you can’t pay the remainder you will lose the 10% as well as the chance of buying the house. You may also have to cover the costs of re-selling the property, as well as any shortfall between the price you agreed and the final selling price

  1. Two forms of valid photo ID with proof of your current address (passport, utility bill or driving license)
  2. Details of your solicitor
  3. Proof that you can afford the 10% deposit.

Bidding at a property auction

How to Bid at a Property Auction

Contrary to the way that auctions are portrayed in Hollywood films or daytime television, auctions are a much more relaxed affair than some people imagine. Scratching your ear or repositioning your glasses won’t land you in hot water with an astronomical bid on a property way above your budget.

When the auctioneer suggests a bidding price, clearly raise your hand to signal that you are making a bid. Respond accordingly as the auction progresses.

DO: know your budget and how far you are willing to exceed that to secure the property you want.

DON’T: get carried away and spend all of your budget on a ‘do’er upper’.

The auctioneer may then clarify who made the bid by referring to some identifier such as “the lady with spectacles” or “the gentleman in the blue jacket.”

If you’ve made a mistake simply shake your head, or approach one of the auctioneer’s assistants. Immediately after the auction, the bidder will be asked to sign contracts and pay a non-refundable deposit.

Auctions can be very exciting, some might find them frightening. In both cases, it’s best to make sure you can play it cool on the day.  

Property Auction Etiquette

A property auction is a very civilised affair. Basic good behaviour rules apply. Auction events are run in an orderly manner. Bidders and auction staff are expected to interact with each other in a respectful way. Auction assistants are there to help if you have a question or a problem.

To recap: here are our top tips for purchasing property at an Irish auction:

  • Be prepared. Have your finances in order before the big day.
  • Go and watch a few auctions and get to know how they work.
  • Try to do as much research on the properties up for sale in the auction beforehand.
  • Know your maximum bid limit. Once the hammer falls you are legally obligated to make the purchase…
  • On the day of the auction, arrive early and make sure you have a good place in the auction room so that the auctioneer can see you and your involvement in the bidding process.
  • Do not be pressurised into making bids that you are not comfortable with or cannot afford.
  • Seek professional advice from a surveyor, auctioneer or/and a solicitor about buying property at auction in Ireland.

About Gibson & Associates

We’re an Irish law firm serving the whole country from our offices based in Dublin & Letterkenny. Our property solicitors have a depth of experience in successfully closing property deals quickly, cleanly and efficiently across the country – from Dublin to Galway and from Cork to Donegal.

To find out about or conveyancing package get in touch with our experienced legal team today by sending us an email here.