Home Survey and Exchanging Contracts

If your offer has been accepted, the final stage in buying a house in Ireland includes surveys and contracts. You’ll need a solicitor too.

Home Survey and Exchanging Contracts

You’ve found a property you want to buy, secured the funds to purchase it, and you’ve had your offer accepted. Now it’s time to take care of the legal work, and to do that, you are going to need the help of a solicitor.

Structural Survey

The first thing your solicitor will do is arrange an independent structural survey of the house you want to buy. This is required by all lenders in Ireland, and you will not be able to draw down your mortgage until it has been completed. The survey will not only highlight structural issues with the property, but it can also help identify things that you may not have noticed when viewing the house, such as roof damage, and so it is a vital part of any home-buying process.

If unexpected issues are found during the survey, you can still pull out of the purchase at this stage. If everything is in order, you can confidently proceed with the next step in becoming a homeowner.


In simple terms, conveyancing is the legal work involved in transferring property ownership from one person to another. While all solicitors are licensed to complete this type of work, some have more experience than others, and so it is recommended that you hire the services of a highly qualified conveyancing solicitor who will have the property law skills needed to speed up the process. Duties of a conveyancing solicitor typically include:

  • Acting as an intermediary between the buyer, seller and mortgage lender
  • Approving contracts
  • Land Registry
  • Stamp duty
  • Organising the transfer of funds from buyer to seller

Home Buying Costs

In addition to the purchase price, there are many costs involved with buying a new home, and these will all need to be settled before you get the keys. There’s stamp duty, which is calculated on the value of the house, there are search fees, surveyor’s fees, land registry fees, and of course, solicitors fees, so make sure you take these into consideration when securing funding so that you do not fall short at the final hurdle.

Exchanging Contracts

With the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, you can finally proceed to exchange contracts and securing your new home. There are three stages to this process, the first includes signing and exchanging contracts, the second is paying a deposit, which is typically 10 per cent of the purchase price, and the third includes the transferring of deeds.

Once the Deed of Transfer documents have been drafted, approved, and signed by both parties, which typically takes four weeks from contract exchange, the buyer and seller are contractually bound to the agreement and a completion date will be set.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to take out a home insurance policy to protect your investment. Buildings insurance is obligatory in Ireland and most lenders will require proof of this before allowing you access to your approved mortgage. You should also consider taking out home contents insurance to cover theft or damage of your personal belongings.

Sale Closed

A house sale is completed when your solicitor hands over the balance payment in exchange for the title deeds of the property. This is taken care of by the solicitors of both parties, who will close the sale at your solicitor’s office, or in some cases, by postal closing. With the title deeds in your hand, you are officially the new owner of the property, so you can pop the champagne and start planning your move into your dream home.

It’s a long old process, but with the help of a mortgage broker, a real estate agent, and a conveyancing solicitor, buying your first house should be relatively stress-free. The only thing left to do now is move in – and congratulate yourself on becoming an Irish Home Owner.