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Home Buyers Guide

Buying a new home is exciting but it can also prove a daunting process. Let us help to break it down for you in to 10 steps to help make the process a little easier.

1. Arrange Your Finance

The first step is to find out how much you can borrow and set your budget while also researching the best type of loan or mortgage for your particular situation. Once you have done your research and selected a lender then you should get a Loan Approval in Principle so that when you do find the perfect property you can secure it as quickly and stress free as possible.

2. Start your Property Search

View as many properties as you can and note features that you like. Find out what exactly is included in the sale. Familiarise yourself with areas that appeal. Maybe stroll there in the evenings and at weekends. Check out local transport links, schools and amenities.

3. Make an Offer

Once you’ve found a property that ticks all the boxes and that is within your price range, make an offer to the selling agent. The Agent will put this offer to the seller. There are no legal obligations at this stage and you may withdraw your offer if you wish. However, in the case of new homes and apartments the price is not usually open to offers.

4. Make sure all the paperwork is in place

Bring in the experts and appoint a solicitor to process the sale (also known as conveyancing). Don’t forget that their fee may be calculated as a percentage of the asking price, or as a flat fee, so allow funds for this.

5. Secure the Property with a Deposit

Once your offer has been accepted you proceed to purchase the property and you will need to pay a booking deposit (usually up to 5% of the purchase price). This is refundable if you decide not to proceed with the purchase prior to contract signing. The remaining balance of the deposit (usually to make up 10%) will be payable at a later stage when signing contracts.

Once you place deposit on the property, please inform your mortgage broker or bank so that your loan approval can be applied for. Also inform your solicitor so that they know to expect to receive contracts.

6. Sale Agreed!

Once your offer is accepted on a second-hand home, you will receive written confirmation of your intention to buy from the sale agent. This information is also sent to your solicitor and the vendor. The document will outline the agreed purchase price, any conditions of sale, the estimated closing date and contact details of all parties.

In the case of new homes and apartments when the booking deposit is paid, the builder’s solicitor forwards copies of the contract and the title document to your appointed solicitor.

7. Iron out the Snags!

Before your mortgage can be drawn down, your lender or bank will need to know that the property is in good order and that it is worth the money you are borrowing for it. So you will need to have a valuation survey done. The lender or bank may appoint their own surveyor.

In the case of new homes and apartments you should arrange for an architect or surveyor to carry out a snag list on the property (an inspection of minor defaults) so that they can be rectified. This is usually about 14 days before you are due to complete the sale.

8. Finalise the Finances

A ‘Letter of Loan’ offer needs to be obtained from the lending institution before final contracts are signed. A direct debit mandate must also be completed before the loan is released. Your Sherry FitzGerald Financial Services advisor can help you with all of these final financial hurdles.

If all parties are happy with the survey and conditions of sale, you will be asked to pay the remainder of the deposit (usually to make up the balance of 10% of the purchase price).

9. Sign It and Seal It!

Your solicitor will now invite you to sign unconditional contracts – no going back now! Don’t worry, your solicitor will have examined the contract and title document to make sure that everything is in order before you sign.

For second-hand homes, the signed contract is sent back to the vendor’s solicitor for signing by the vendor. A copy is then returned to your solicitor creating a binding contract. A completion date and the handing over of keys will be agreed at this stage.

In the case of new homes and new apartments, once the contracts are signed (usually at the office of the builder’s solicitor) the title documents are presented to your solicitor on receipt of the balance of the purchase price. The property is then transferred into your name. Your solicitor will also send a copy of the title documentation to your lending institution for safekeeping.

The exchange of contracts is legally binding and neither party may changer their mind that time on, without incurring further costs. You should note that in the case of new homes and apartments that failure to sign contracts within the prescribed time period can lead to the property being resold without further notice.

10. The Final Hurdles

This can take anywhere from a few days to a few months – depending on the personal requirements of the seller and/or buyer or legal formalities. The remainder of the purchase price (usually 90%) is now transferred from your solicitors account, into the seller’s solicitors account.

In the case of new homes and apartments after contracts are signed/exchanged there may be a period of no contact with your agent or solicitor while your new home is being constructed and completed. When you place your booking deposit on a property you will be given an indicative date of when your new home will be ready, but please be aware that the date you are given can change. You should allow for delays in the build process and completion dates can never be guaranteed.

When your new home is complete your builder’s solicitor will issue your solicitor with a Completion Notice. At this stage you must inform your mortgage broker/lending institution that your new home is ready for “Final Inspection”. Your lending institution will then forward your loan cheque to your solicitor.

Once the sale has completed you will receive the key to your home.