Buying a house for the first time is an exciting if daunting experience. The first time buyer engages for the first time with a process that is complex and bewildering. Below is a short guide to assist the first time buyer.


The auctioneer/ estate agent is probably the first professional the first time buyer will deal with in the process. The auctioneer is employed by the seller and not by the person buying. Their job is to get the best possible price for the seller.

Once you have agreed with the auctioneer to purchase the property you will be asked by the auctioneer to give a booking deposit. A booking deposit should not exceed 5% of the purchase price and in usually negotiable. Make sure that you get a receipt for this. Also confirm with the auctioneer that the sale is subject to contract and title. This means that if for some reason the sale does not go ahead, then you are entitled to the return of your booking deposit.


You may want to approach financial institutions directly yourself or you may prefer to engage a mortgage broker to research the market for you. It is important that you know how much a bank or other lending institution is prepared to lend you before you start house hunting.


You will need to engage an engineer to carry out a survey of the property. The engineer will carry out a structural survey. It may also be necessary for the engineer to carry out a planning search, check the boundaries etc


The bank or lending institution will need a valuation of the property. Usually the bank will have a list of valuers whose valuations they are prepared to accept.


It may be advisable to carry out a planning search to find out what if any proposals there are for development in the area where you are buying.


You will need to engage a solicitor to to the legal work for you. You will have to tell the bank the name of your solicitor so as they can send out the mortgage pack to them. You will also need to tell the auctioneer who your solicitor is. The auctioneer will tell the seller's solicitor and they can then send your solicitor the contracts and copy title deeds.

Legal steps

1. Your solicitor will ask various pre-contract questions before you even get to the point of signing a contract.

2. Once all pre contract questions have been resolved you will then sign the contracts and furnish the balance of the deposit to the seller's solicitor. At this point the purchaser has an insurable interest in the property and ought to take out house insurance. In due course the bank will insist on life insurance being taken out also.

3. A lengthy questionnaire called "Requisitions on Title" is sent by your solicitor to the seller's solicitor. This covers a wide variety of matters including planning, boundaries, notices etc.

4. The sale closes when both sides agrees that they are ready; the purchaser has loan approval and the money is drawn down and the vendor is in a position to vacate the property. The happy day arrives when the keys are handed over.

4. This is not the end of the matter for the solicitor for the purchaser who must ensure that the transfer document is stamped with the revenue commissioners and then registered with the Property Registration Authority.

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