Buying a Secondhand Property

Buying a secondhand house is a different process to purchasing a new house. 

The principal ofcaveat emptoror buyer beware still very much applies to house purchases and to ensure that you know exactly what you are purchasing.

There is no substitute for a thorough survey report of the property to avoid any future unforeseen problems arising that you may have been unaware of such as heating problems, poor insulation or ventilation, illegal extensions or additions to the property which could lead to planning complications.

It is advisable for you to retain your own architect or surveyor to carry out a structural survey of the house, and you should deal directly with your Architect or Surveyor in this regard.


1. Booking Deposit

Once you have paid your booking deposit you will need to give your solicitor’s name to the auctioneer in order that they may instruct the solicitors for the vendor (Seller) to forward us the Contracts for Sale and vouching documentation.

2. Loan Approval

In the meantime you should be attending to the matter of Loan Approval and you will need to instruct your Mortgage Broker / Lender of the full purchase price, the property address and your Solicitor details in order that they issue the complete letter of offer of loan approval (i.e. not loan approval in principle). The Bank will generally conduct now a valuation of the property before the loan offer issues.

3. Planning Issues

It is important at this time that you make enquiries as to the planning in the area and the likely future development of the locality.

The best way to find out this information is to enquire personally with the Planning Department of the Local Authority offices to inspect the planning file and ascertain the development plan, the zoning of the area and any planning application in the local area which may affect the property.

At the relevant Planning Department, you can inspect and ascertain the following:

  • The Planning File
  • The Development Plan
  • The zoning of the area
  • Road development
  • Planning Applications in the local area

You should attend to any planning queries you may have before execution of contracts.

Once you execute contracts you will be bound to purchase the property and as you are intending on making the locality your home for many years to come it is important that you are satisfied with any proposed development for the locality.

In April 2012 the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Heritage launchedmyplan.ieproviding free access to zoning in some developments and local area plans.

You may wish also to visit this information service to view what information is available there regarding matters such as flooding, census and other information which may be of assistance if it covers the area where you intend to purchase.

4. Property Survey

We strongly advise at this stage that you engage an Architect, Engineer or Surveyor to conduct a full and thorough survey of the property and its maps. This will help avoid any future unforeseen problems arising that you may have been unaware of such as heating problems, poor insulation or ventilation, illegal extensions or additions to the property which could lead to planning complications.

We also strongly advise you to consult an architect to deal with any issues relating to planning permissions for any development that has taken place OR may take place, during or following the sale.

You also need to check the planning issues for the surrounding areas, as these may affect the property being sold.

Likewise, if there are issues relating to engineering matters such as mapping or the laying of pipes arise, these should be dealt with by an engineer.

5. Examination of the Title

Once we receive contracts, we read the title and raise any queries regarding it with the solicitors acting for the vendor. When all queries are addressed and when your written loan approval is to hand, we will contact you we will make an appointment for you to attend at our Tyrrelstown office for the purpose of executing Contracts for Sale and payment of the balance deposit.

6. Signing of Contract

When the contracts and balance deposit are returned to the vendor’s solicitors, the agreement to purchase is binding. The contracts are then countersigned by the Vendor with their Solicitor and one part returned to our office whereupon the contract is binding upon all parties to the transaction.

7. Transfer of Title

Further legal work then takes place between the Vendor’s Solicitor and the Purchaser’s Solicitor to prepare for the transfer of the title and legal ownership to you.

8. Lodging Title with your bank

If you are borrowing, your solicitors submit further legal documentation in connection with the loan to your bank. This includes a report on the title to the bank and undertaking to deposit the title deeds and Certificate of Title with the bank on drawdown of the loan as well as registration of the change of ownership.

9. Getting your mortgage cheque

You must attend directly with your bank / building society to ensure that all items necessary are in place to have your loan cheque issued in time for closing. Also ensure that your direct debit mandate, mortgage protection, house insurance etc are in place. The balance of the monies towards the purchase of the property should also be organised in anticipation of the closing date.

10. Getting your keys!

We will then arrange to draw down your loan cheque and make arrangements with the vendors’ solicitors for the completion of this transaction at which time our fees will be payable and you will get the keys to your new home!


Your Expert Team

At Carmody Moran Solicitors our experienced family law lawyers are on hand to advise and skilled in handling all nature of divorce.

The two partners of Carmody Moran solicitors have a combined total of in excess of twenty five years professional legal experience. Together with their associates they aim to make the Court process as straight forward and navigable as possible while being on hand to alleviate their clients concerns and worries about going through the Court process.

Anthony Carmody is one of the founding Partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors.

He has significant experience in personal injury cases and general litigation having handled literally thousands of cases on behalf of clients based in Ireland and abroad.

Read Anthony Carmody’s full profile here

Niamh Moran is one of the founding partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors and is a solicitor with wide ranging experience across all areas of general practice.

Niamh manages the family lawconveyancing and probate divisions of the practice. Niamh’s practice of law is extremely varied and she is regularly sought out for her expertise by clients and colleagues alike.

Read Niamh Moran’s full profile here