Property Law And Conveyancing

Are you buying or selling a property?

We are acutely aware that the decision to buy or sell a property is one of the most important decisions many of us will make in our lifetime. Research has shown that it is also a very worrying and stressful time for people. It follows that choosing your conveyancing solicitor is a key element in the whole transaction. Lanigan Clarke offer a professional service for buying or sellin g property in Donegal.

Call our property and conveyancing solicitors in Letterkenny on 074 91 29110 or 01 531 3494 in Dublin to get your conveyancing process started.

Legal Services for Property Include

Purchase and sale of residential property
Purchase and sale of commercial property
Advice to remortgaging your home – Read post
Transfer of property
Advice on stamp duty


Are You Buying a Property- A step by step Guide

Buying property is one of the most stressful things that people will do in their lifetime, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the process. This guide provides a summary of what happens when you decide to buy a house.


What Should I Buy?

In looking for a property and assessing its value you should consider:

• Where the property is (Location, amenities, garden aspect to the sun, etc.)
• Has the property had any mica issues in the past. Will you need to have a mica test carried out ?
• What mortgage will I need to buy it? How much will the repayments be.
• Is it a managed estate? Is there a service charge? What is the level of the service charge? What is included (e.g. refuse collection)?
• What is the BER (Building Energy Rating)?

These questions allow you to take a long-term view of property ownership, especially if you are borrowing to buy and don’t have the luxury of time to wait for a difficult market to pick up.


The First Steps to Buying

Once your offer is accepted, you will place a booking deposit with the sales agent. The booking deposit will not bind you to a purchase until you have signed contracts with us and the Vendor has counter-signed. Once the booking deposit has been paid, the property is taken off the market and the solicitors for the Vendor will send out contracts to us.

At the same you should be organising your loan approval. This is the facility letter that the Bank will issue confirming the amount of the mortgage and the terms on which it is given i.e., the length of the mortgage, the interest rate, whether it is variable or fixed etc. The bank will forward the “loan pack” to us.

Often mortgages come with “fixed” rates. This means that the rate and therefore the repayment will stay fixed for whatever that period of time is and often you can specify what you would like e.g. one, two, three, or five year fixed rates. What you need to note is that if you fix for a certain term and then wish for whatever reason to remortgage with another bank or redeem/pay off the mortgage within that period that a penalty is commonly applied by the Lender for redemption within the fixed rate period.


Signing Contracts

The vendors solicitors will send us the contracts. The legal term for the process of transfer of the property is “conveyancing”, and we are pleased to act as your conveyacing solicitors.

When we have received contracts and the Lender’s letter of offer and loan pack, you will make an appointment come in and sign the contract. We will require (under the Money Laundering Regulations):

• ID Verification (copy of your passport, driver’s licence or Immigration Bureau ID card)
• Address verification – typically a utility (ESB, Gas, phone) bill with your name at that address.

We then will:

• Confirm that the title to the property is good and marketable
• Confirm the purchase price, and any extras or variations that you have agreed (e.g. purchase of contents)
• Confirm the location of the property on the title map.
• Pass you the specification, (new builds) if you have not already seen it
• Advise you in relation to the Management Company, service charge and terms/obligations of membership
• Discuss the completion date
• Go through and advise you on the mortgage loan offer and its terms and ensure that it is the correct offer letter (terms haven’t changed).

Once everything is in order, you will sign the contracts and the loan documents and pay over the balance deposit. The contracts are then countersigned by the Vendor and exchanged. At this point the contract is binding on you for a purchase at the price in the contract, for completion on the closing date agreed and inserted in the contract document.


After You Sign Contracts

Once the contracts in the purchase have been exchanged, we will work with your bank to ensure that the loan funds will be available for the agreed closing date.

During this time you should start organising the final items required for you to organise with your lender, usually as follows:

• Mortgage Protection. This is an insurance policy designed to cover the repayment in full of your mortgage in event of your death.
• Property Structural Insurance/ Fire Cover. If you are purchasing a house, you must insure the property for the re-build cost (not the open market value) so that if the property is destroyed by fire or one of the insured risks, a policy exists to cover the costs of reconstruction.

The Usual obligations under a mortgage are that you must maintain both the property insurance and mortgage protection for the duration of the mortgage.

You will be advised by us of the amount needed to complete the purchase, including the mortgage funds you are borrowing from the bank and costs including stamp duty and registration fees. You must have these funds lodged with us in advance of the closing date.


Buying Your New Property and Getting Your Keys

When the closing dates arrive. The balance of the purchase money is paid over, final checks are carried out by us and if everything is in order, money and keys are released.
Congratulations you now own the property.


After Completion

We will pay the Stamp Duty and the registration of the property in your name in the Property Registry Authority. The rates of stamp duty on purchases for residential property are 1% of the purchase price of the property (up to €1,000,000.00) and 2% of the portion of the purchase price above €1m.

On completion of registration or conveyancing process, the Deeds are sent to your Lender where they will be held for the duration of the mortgage. If you are a cash purchaser, we can hold your deeds or you can keep them at home.

We have decades of experience in the purchase, sale and remortgage of residential property in Donegal. The office has a long-standing tradition of property transactions which is reflected in our considerable expertise in this area. Our service is reflected in the Google reviews our clients give us, and our focus at all times is to ensure the maximum benefit to our clients with the minimum of stress.

Craig Lewis
Craig Lewis
Garry and the whole team have provided a fantastic service. We used Garry for Conveyancing on a property we were purchasing, he was very efficient, was able to push things along at a pace that suited us, and he managed any negotiations in a very professional manner, always with our best interests at heart. Fiona was also a great source of knowledge and always on hand to answer our questions. Ultimately, I was very happy with the service received and would highly recommend this business
Caitriona O brien
Caitriona O brien
I highly recommend Lanigan Clarke solicitors. I talked with Garry Clarke he assisted all my queries an he was very helpful. I'm very happy with the advice I got much appreciated.
Ian Jinks
Ian Jinks
Lanigan Clarke Solicitors Letterkenny completed the conveyancing on my new holiday home in Portsalon Fanad. They were very professional and there were able to cope with the cross boarder issues perfectly well. I would recommend them. Ian
Claire Curran
Claire Curran
Amanda and Sinead could not have provided a more professional and efficient service. Our purchasing house sale was not as straightforward as hoped but they helped us overcome every obstacle and hurdle put infront of us. Could not recommend high enough.
Megan Baxter
Megan Baxter
Great experience from start to finish, made our journey easier as first time buyers. No question was ever silly and Sinead always responded with all updates keeping us in the loop, highly recommend
Kevin O'Donnell
Kevin O'Donnell
Very satisfied with my dealings with Lanigan Clarke during a recent house purchase. Will definitely use again
Graciela Quinn
Graciela Quinn
Quick and professional service! Staff very friendly and supportive. Will use services when needed and will recommend services to friends. Thank you for your generous 'welcome into Ireland' discount. Much appreciated.
Stuart Elborn
Stuart Elborn
This was quite a tricky transaction and the team went above and beyond including helping the vendors solicitor with some difficult issues. The whole team stayed in touch and executed the contract in a very professional way. Very pleased to recommend them to others.

Helping you through all stages of conveyancing – We have specific expertise as Conveyancing Solicitors

Our property solicitors act in transfers of sites from parent to children, acting for homeowners buying or selling their family homes, investors and commercial purchasers. We encourage early instructions from our clients to minimise delay. The earlier in the transaction we receive your instructions to act the more we can assist you in the transaction. We use the latest technology to take as much of the worry and stress out of the transaction for our clients. Clients are kept abreast of developments at all stages during the conveyancing process.

Clients are advised in writing of all the legal costs involved in their transaction. We provide written quotations for property transactions on request.

We also provide practical tips and advice to assist in the transaction and will help and guide you through your mortgage application, insurance, life cover and property survey.

In short we provide an efficient and friendly service to our clients in line with the quality standards that we have set for ourselves.

Letting and Leasing Property

We advise Landlords & Tenants in relation to drafting and negotiating leases, rent reviews, rights to renewal, obligations and entitlements under the lease, statutory entitlements and obligations and registration with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

Contact our conveyancing solicitors for information

If you are thinking of buying, selling, letting or leasing property, refinancing or re-mortgaging get in touch with our property solicitors today,  Call 074 912 9110 or our Dublin office on 01 531 3494.


Frequent Asked Questions For Property Legal Services


Do I need a solicitor for a mortgage?

If you are getting a mortgage the bank will want to register the mortgage on your deeds. The bank will rely on a solicitor to investigate the title to your property and certify to the bank that the title is “good and marketable” before they will release the loan cheque. Where there is a defect with the title such as the property not being built in compliance with planning permission, or for example the management company being struck off the register of companies this has to be approved in advance by the bank before they will agree to lend money on the property.


Do I get a solicitor or mortgage first?

Once you apply for your mortgage you should instruct a solicitor. Where you are refinancing an existing mortgage your solicitor will need to take up your title deeds from your existing bank. This can take 6-8 weeks depending on your current lender. The title needs to be checked and in some cases updated to take account of for example any extensions you have built or changes in the Law such as in relation to rights of way and access. An early instruction can mean that you will be able to draw down your mortgage quickly once the letter of loan offer issues from the bank.


How much do solicitors charge for selling a house and legal property services?

Charges vary depending on what you are buying or selling, the purchase price and if you are getting a mortgage. If you contact us with the details of your transaction we will email you an exact quote for your purchase or sale.


When do you pay solicitors fees when buying a house.

Solicitors fees are due prior to the completion of the purchase. We will send out a completion statement prior to completion which will set out the exact balance due and the costs, outlays and local property tax payable.


What are the Hidden costs of buying a house in Ireland?

We always recommend that clients instruct an architect or surveyor to inspect the property prior to purchase. This can cost €500- €700 depending on the depth of the survey but if the survey discloses structural problems such as mica or other issues, it represents very good value for money. If you are going to make the biggest purchase of your life it is worth paying for a survey. If you purchase the house without a survey and discover a structural problem after you buy you have no recourse against the vendor and will have to pay to fix the problems yourself.

The local property tax ( LPT) regime provides that you have to pay the LPT for the following year on the 1st of November. If you purchase the house in the following year you will have to reimburse the vendor for the portion of LPT for the remainder of the year from completion.


How long does a house sale take in Ireland? How long does conveyancing take in Ireland?

There are three elements to the answer. If the vendors have instructed their solicitor to draw up the contracts and the solicitor has all the necessary documents to issue the contract once the sale is agreed. If the vendors are ready to move out and agree an early closing date. If the purchasers are cash buyers or have their loan approved and are ready to draw down. If all three elements are in place we can close in three weeks or sooner if both parties want an early closing. If any of the above elements are not in place this can delay completion until the issues are resolved.


At what point can you pull out of a house sale?

You can pull out of any transaction up until the point where the contract is signed by both parties. If you have paid a booking deposit to the sales agent this is fully refundable until you sign the contracts.
Sometimes to speed up the process and give both parties confidence a buyer will sign the contract subject to for example loan drawdown or planning permission issuing. Both parties are agreeable once this condition is fulfilled to proceed to completion.
If you purchase a property at a property auction site you will as part of the auction conditions authorise the vendors to sign the contract on your behalf. Once you purchase at auction, there is no cooling off period to change your mind. You cannot pull out without losing your deposit and potentially being sues for specific performance of the contract.


How long does it take to buy a house in Ireland with cash?

This is one of the three elements that determine how quickly a purchase can complete. The other two are if the vendors have instructed their solicitor to draw up the contracts and the solicitor has all the necessary documents to issue the contract once the sale is agreed. If the vendors are ready to move out and agree an early closing date. Only once all three elements are in place we can close in three weeks or sooner if both parties want an early closing. If any of the above elements are not in place this can delay completion until the issues are resolved.


What happens after sale agreed?

Once your offer is accepted you will be asked by the sales agent to pay a booking deposit of up to 5% of the purchase property which allows the agent to mark the property as “sale agreed”. He will then instruct the vendors solicitor to issue the contracts and title to your solicitor. Once your solicitor has the contract and loan offer you can sign the contracts pay the balance of the 10% deposit and the contracts and returned to the vendors solicitor for the vendor to sign. It is only when the vendors sign the contracts that you have a binding contract in place. Both sides can withdraw from the sale up until a binding contract is in place. As a result we like to see contracts issued quickly after a sale is agreed.


How much is a deposit for a house Ireland?

The standard contract deposit is 10% of the purchase price payable on the signing of contracts. If the buyer is getting more than 90% loan or availing of the Help to Buy Scheme the vendors will agree to accept a reduced deposit.


What are solicitors fees for building a house?

There are two elements to solicitors fees for building a house. If you do not own the site you will have to purchase the site subject to or with the benefit of planning permission. The stamp duty on a site is 7.5 % but if you construct a house on this within 2 years you may be eligible to a refund of stamp duty paid on the site value. We can make this application to Revenue for you. If you are then getting a mortgage there will be a separate cost and registration fees dealing with the registration of the mortgage on the title deeds and dealing with the stage payments through the build. We can also assist with the Help to Buy application if you are a first time owner. Contact us with your details and we can send you a quote for each part of this process.


Call our property solicitors in Letterkenny on 074 91 29110 or 01 531 3494 in Dublin to get your conveyancing process started.


Lanigan Clarke Solicitors Dublin
1 Landsdowne Gardens,
Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4.

D04 X5C0

Lanigan Clarke Solicitors Donegal
6A Pearse Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
F92 V628

Opening Hours

 Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm


Dublin Office

Dublin Office: 01 531 3494  

Letterkenny Office

Letterkenny Office: 074 91 29110