Buying a second hand property

Madden Law – The legal experts in buying property 

Why choose Madden Law when buying your home?

We have over ten years experience in buying houses and apartments. We provide transparent costs. We  give straight forwards forms, to ensure  that the process is as stress free and  straight forward as possible.  We take care of the drawdown of the mortgage. We offer a range of flexible appointment options. We offer video consultations to discuss your contracts and mortgage documents. These can be booked online at a time that suits you.  There is ample free parking outside our office at the Bryanstown Centre, Drogheda.

How long does the legal process take to buy a house or apartment?

If you are getting a mortgage to buy a property, you can expect to get keys approximately 8 weeks after your booking deposit is paid to the estate agent. If there is no mortgage involved, then the process can be done usually in 6 weeks. These time frames are based on the property being vacant or ready to be vacated on the agreed completion date. If the seller is buying on, this will have a big impact on when the purchase can be completed. 

I take the stress out of the legal process. I provide clear advice and information at the start of the purchase, so you know what to expect.

Shona Madden

Buying a new build house or apartment, click here

Watch the recent FB live with Shona Madden and first time buyers

We have 10 years experience in property law and we can answer all your property law questions.

Before you complete your house purchase

After the booking deposit is paid, what happens next?

We have 10 years experience in property law and we can answer all your property law questions.

The booking deposit and name of solicitors acting for the purchasers is given to the estate agent. Then the estate agent prepares a sales advice note, detailing the agreement reached. That is then given to all parties, the sellers and their solicitor and the buyers and their solicitor.  When the seller’s solicitor receive it, they will then prepare the Contracts for Sale. It will then be sent to the purchaser’s solicitor. It usually take 2-3 weeks for the contracts to be sent to the purchaser’s solicitor This is because often the title deeds are with the seller’s bank.

It usually takes 2-3 weeks for the full loan offer to arrive also. It is not advisable to sign the purchase contracts, before the loan offer arrives. The loan offer needs to be reviewed, to ensure that all conditions can be complied with. The bank will send the full loan legal pack to the solicitor. It is advisable to book a surveyor to conduct a full structural report, boundary check and planning search. It is often advisable to  have the survey done after the contracts are received, as planning documents and  a map will be given with the contracts. These can then be given to the surveyor to review also.

What's in the Contract for Sale?

This document has the details of the agreement, the price, buyer and seller’s details, the property address, the completion date, special conditions about this transaction and general conditions that apply to all property transactions. 

The general conditions are a mix of rights and obligations of both the seller and the buyer. For example, in the general conditions, there is a right for the buyer to have reasonable inspection of the property before completion. This means the buyer can go in to take measurements and do further inspection, before completion. There is also a right for the buyer to have vacant possession of the property on completion. This means that all rubbish and contents should be removed unless there is an agreement to include contents. 

What's not in the Contract for Sale?

Often there is not a completion date in the Contract. This may occur if the sellers are in a chain and are buying another property . In this case, there will be a special condition in the Contract saying that the closing date (completion date) shall coincide with the seller’s purchase. Then the solicitors will liaise with each other and communicate the completion date, as there will be no actual date in the Contract itself. 

The seller does warrant that the original construction and any subsequent development were  in compliance with planning permission and Building Regulations, in force at the time of construction. One general conditions states  that the  buyers buy the property with knowledge of the condition that it is in. That is why it is important for the survey to be done before the signed contract is sent to the seller’s solicitor. The seller does not give any warranty about the condition of the property in the Contract. 

What happens after Contracts arrive?

The following documents are reviewed and discussed with the purchaser: Contract, map, Folio, Planning documents for the original construction and any extension, Local Property tax history of the property, BER certificate and advisory report, management company documents. 

The balance of the 10% deposit is given to the buyer’s solicitor. It will be transferred to the seller’s solicitor and two signed Contracts will be posted also. The seller will sign both Contracts, keep one and return one signed Contract to the buyer’s solicitor. At this point there is a binding Contract in place. 

What happens before you get keys?

The mortgage funds will be drawn down from the bank a few working days before the completion date. In order for mortgage funds to be released, the life policy/ Mortgage property policy, update to date valuation, direct debit mandate and home insurance must be submitted to the bank. 

Buyers are advised to do a final inspection of the property, to ensure only contents that have been agreed are left. It is advisable to liaise with estate agent to confirm what keys will be given on the completion date. Download our pre completion checklist here

What happens on the completion date?

the date you get your keys

The buyer’s solicitor transfer 90% of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor by EFT. The buyer’s solicitor order judgment and property searches. The seller’s solicitor sends the original title documents and closing documents to the buyer’s solicitor. These are reviewed by the buyer’s solicitor.

When the seller’s solicitor receives the funds and the documents and searches are checked by the buyer’s solicitor, both parties confirm they are happy complete the transaction. The seller’s solicitor will call the estate agent and confirm the sale has closed. The estate agent will then be authorised to release the keys to the buyers. The buyer’s solicitor will content them to tell them the keys are available to be collected from the office of the estate agent. 

What happens after the completion date?

The stamp duty will be paid by the solicitor. The current rate for residential property  is 1% of the purchase price. Purchasers have to give their PPS numbers to their solicitor, in order for the stamp duty return to be done through ROS. 

The change of ownership and mortgage documents are then sent to the Property Registration Authority. This usually takes 6 weeks to complete. Then a new folio (deed) will be available showing the new registered owners of the property. If the buyers got a mortgage, then the bank’s charge will be registered on the deed also. All original title documents are then given to the bank as security for the mortgage. 

I’ve been buying houses for over ten years. I’ve put together a simple guide that sets out the legal process in buying a second hand property.

Drogheda Solicitors
Shona Madden
drogheda solicitors

Tips about buying a second hand property

probate Solicitor Drogheda


Make sure you know the stamp duty and Land Registry fees. These fees will be paid to your solicitor in advance of completion.

conveyancing costs


Get a full structural survey of  second hand house, by a suitable professional. Get this done before contracts are signed. 

enduring power of attorney


A refundable booking deposit will be paid to the selling agent. Then the balance of the 10% deposit will be paid when contracts are being signed. 

conveyancing costs

Before completion

Carry out a visual inspection of the property, before the balance of the purchase price is exchanged. 

wills solicitor drogheda


You must sign the purchase deed after completion. Your solicitor will then submit the change of ownership application to the Property Registration Authority. 

Book a video appointment

with Shona Madden €65

probate Solicitor Drogheda

Request a quote

Fixed fees provided

enduring power of attorney

What our clients say about us

  • Practical and very professional experience buying a house with Shona’s calm approach. Would highly recommend.

    Recent client
  • Outstanding service all round and a complete joy to deal with- would recommend in a heartbeat and hope to deal again soon!

    Client January 2019
  • Shona goes over and above, extremely efficient, friendly, informative and excellent communication throughout the buying/selling process. A calming influence during a very stressful time.

    Client December 2018

Buying at an auction? Get the legal documents checked

  • Contact me with the lot number and I’ll provide you with a fixed cost for report on the legal documents in advance of the auction.

    Shona Madden, Solicitor Drogheda
    Shona Madden
Get a full breakdown of the legal costs involved in buying a second hand property with Madden Law.

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