Top Tips when buying a House/ Apartment
Buying a family home is one of the most momentous decisions that a lot of people will ever make. So, naturally you want it to be an enjoyable experience and that means understanding the what’s involved, and knowing what’s required of you and your professional team including your solicitor, your mortgage broker/bank and your surveyor at all stages. Understanding the steps will ensure that you will be opening the door of your home hassle-free and stress-free in no time.
Here are some of the top tips to ensure that buying a house is a memorable and enjoyable event
DO YOUR SUMS/FINANCES
Talk to a mortgage broker / your bank to find out what are your borrowing limits. In recent years the central bank has imposed strict conditions on the amount of money that individuals can borrow for their family home. Don’t make assumptions! Being mortgage approved before putting an offer on a property can very often be the difference between a seller accepting an offer or not. In a rising market knowing your purchasing limit is crucial. Do a budget including Legal fees, stamp duty, land registry fees, surveyors, house insurance and moving costs.
INSPECT THE PROPERTY THROUGHLY
When viewing a property don’t be afraid to be nosey.  Check the boiler system, flush toilets turn on taps, and open or close windows. If the property has a septic tank ask where it is and where the soak pit is. Negotiate in relation to the contents. Look for specifics with regards to what is included in the sale and what is not included.
TALK TO YOUR SOLICITOR
It is never too early to talk to your solicitor let them know what your plans are, the type of property that you are looking for. Ask them if they have any advice to give you. Their experience and expertise in dealing with property transactions is one of the greatest strengths that you have on your side. Ultimately the contract for sale will be the singularly most important document governing the entire transaction. It is of great importance that this is scrutinised by your solicitor and that any special conditions put into the contract by the vendor are limited to only those that are strictly necessary and that equally any special conditions required by you, the purchaser are properly set out and inserted. Any contents included in sale should be clearly set out. A purchase is only binding when the contracts have been signed by both parties and a full deposit paid. It is therefore crucial that your solicitor act fast deals with all of the queries and has a full consultation with you to go through all issues. Delays in the process can be expensive and can result in you having additional accommodation costs.
GET YOUR STRUCTURAL SURVEY 
A structural survey is recommended as the vendor is under no duty to disclose any physical defects with the property! Therefore the principle of caveat emptor or “buyer beware” applies and a survey will identify any issues such as dampness, loose roof tiles, poor insulation or a flood prone area. Also ask your Engineer to comment on the quality of any extensions or home improvements and if they required planning permission. A detailed house survey is well worth the price because it will give you, the home buyer, peace of mind. If the building survey turns up little wrong with the home, you will be able to move in to your new home worry free. However, if the building survey finds serious problems, then the few hundred euros invested in your building survey could end up saving you many thousands of euros.
PLANNING SEARCH
It is worthwhile to have a planning search carried out by your solicitor or you can visit the Local Authority to see what plans are there for the area you are proposing to buy in? Is there a new road being planned or a large housing development nearby? You might decide that the proposed developments will impact on your enjoyment of the property or decrease the value of your property. Look at the local development plan. Be informed before signing Contracts.
POST COMPLETION 
Once the sale is completed it is advisable that you update or make your Will. You have purchased a new Asset and it is important that you make adequate provision in your Will. Talk to your solicitor about making a Will or updating your Will.
The steps of the home buying process are summarised as follows
1. Once your offer is accepted you pay a booking deposit to the auctioneer (this is refundable if the transaction does not proceed)
2. Contracts issue to your solicitor who will meet with you go through them and raise pre-contract enquiries. A survey should be carried out.
3. Contracts are signed and a 10% deposit (less the booking deposit is payable)
4. You should insure the house from the date that contracts are exchanged. Once contracts are exchanged you then have a legal interest in the property and what happens from that date to the property is very much of your concern.
5. A further series of enquiries about the property known as requisitions on title that with your solicitor
6. Your mortgage pack is completed and an undertaking given by your solicitor to your bank to secure a mortgage on the property.
7. Transfer documents are drafted by your solicitor and a closing schedule prepared.
8. Closing of the sale takes place where the closing documents are exchanged in return for the purchase monies.
9. Your solicitor then pays the stamp duty and submits the deeds and the mortgage documents for registration in the land registry. Depending on the title of the house registration can take a number of months.
I have set out a full and detailed explanation of all of these steps at www.cahirsolicitors.com/typical-stages-of-a-conveyancing-transaction

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