Property purchase - 6 mistakes to avoid

October 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM

The following advice from O’Shea Legal is for the benefit of Clients who have agreed or are about to agree to purchase a property either through an Auctioneer or privately.  See also attached our complimentary step by step “Guide and Timeframe” on how a typical property purchase transaction should proceed.

Important advice for house purchasers


STEP 1             As soon as the purchase price is agreed the Auctioneer/Agent will request you to pay ‘Booking Deposit’ usually representing a figure sufficient to cover their fees in the transaction.  They are obliged to hold this as Stakeholders pending completion.  Before handing over a deposit you should confirm that the Auctioneer is adequately bonded so that your money is fully protected in the event that the Auctioneer goes out of business before the transaction completes. Under no circumstances should a booking deposit be paid directly to a Vendor.


STEP 2             Having paid the booking deposit you should obtain a receipt with the words ‘Subject to Contract’ marked on the receipt by the Auctioneer.  This means that the transaction is not binding on you and you are entitled to withdraw from the proposed purchase and have your booking deposit refunded to you in full.     This option to withdraw will apply up to the time you sign the legal Contract to Purchase after which you are committed to proceed to close the purchase.


STEP 3             Always obtain from the Auctioneer/Agent a copy of the ‘Building Energy Rating Certificate’ before signing the  Contract to Purchase  so that the Energy Rating of the building is known to you. There is a legal obligation on the seller to procure such a Report for your benefit.


STEP 4             Having paid the booking deposit you should proceed immediately to engage the services of a fully qualified Architect or Surveyor or suitably qualified person, who is fully insured, to undertake a survey of the Property on your behalf.  Typically the cost will be somewhere between €350.00 and €500.00.   The Survey (to which should be attached a copy of the Architect’s/Surveyors Professional Indemnity Policy) should be available to you prior to signing Contracts.    It will alert to you to any unforeseen structural or other problems with the house and it will also alert your Solicitor to any extensions or alterations that may require Planning Permission. Other issues that should be addressed include:


  • Check for compliance with Planning Permission;
  • Check for compliance with Building Regulations;
  • Check for developments to the property since original construction and alert solicitor;
  • Check if the property is located in a flood plane- check OPW Website;
  • Check for dry rot, rising damp, woodworm, solid roof structure etc;
  • Check for radon gas emissions and adequate vents- check RPII Website;
  • Check for possible road widening proposals;
  • Check for Pyrite use in construction;
  • Check for proposed local developments such as mobile phone mast, traveller settlement, industrial development etc
  • Check for boundary disputes with neighbours.


STEP 5           While your Solicitor will undertake a Planning Search in the Local Authority Planning Office prior to you signing the Contract, this Search is conducted through a ‘Law Agent’ and is confined to the Property itself.   It will alert the Solicitor to any Planning Applications affecting the Property. It would however, be in your own interest to attend yourself at the Planning Office to view the Planning Applications in the immediate vicinity of the Property.   For example, if there was a proposal to locate a Mobile Phone Transmission Mast, Industrial Development, Traveller Halting Site, Road Widening Proposal or some other such Scheme in the locality then it would be in your best interest to know this prior to signing the Contract as it will affect the future re-sale value of your Property.


STEP 6           If you are liable to pay Stamp Duty and if there are contents included in the sale, you should agree with the Auctioneer the value of those contents.   The reason being that you are only obliged to pay stamp duty on the house value and, depending on the value of the contents, you could save several hundred or even thousand euro in stamp duty by doing this.



  • At O’Shea Legal we have been acting for Purchasers and Sellers of houses for in excess of 25 years and can deal with your transaction quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.  
  • This means that you are assured of the transaction proceeding smoothly to completion with minimum stress and worry on your part.   
  • As we are a Member of the Law Society of Ireland and carry full Professional Indemnity you also get a guarantee of good marketable title to your Property so that if you decide to sell in future the sale will go smoothly. 

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So why not get a no obligation fixed fee quote now. You could save a lot of money. If you have questions, why not call or email us now without obligation and we will be happy to answer your queries without charge.


No solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature shall exist or be deemed to exist between O’Shea Legal and you until you have received confirmation in writing from us in which we confirm our appointment as your Solicitors.

*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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