Karen Walsh: 10 tips for selling your home

Be it your family home or an investment property, selling a house is a transaction many of us will do in our lifetime.
Karen Walsh: 10 tips for selling your home

Make it as stress free as possible, by following these simple tips to ensure that the transaction runs as smoothly as possible.

1. Check where your title deeds are located, in advance of securing a purchaser, to avoid delays. They may be with your solicitor or, if your property is mortgaged, they are usually retained by your financial institution.

Even if your mortgage has been repaid, they could still be held by your bank, so it is important to establish the position as early as possible.

2. If you are in negative equity, you will need written consent from your bank to the sale. This usually takes a few months, so it is prudent to apply for this immediately, as such a letter will be required to accompany the Contract for Sale, and to close the transaction.

Your solicitor will look after this for you, but it is important to telephone your solicitor when you decide to sell.

3. Providing clean title is extremely important. If issues are identified early on, for example, an unregistered right of way, a mapping error, a planning permission problem, etc, it is easier to explore potential solutions and solve the issue.

Instruct your solicitor to review your title deeds as soon as possible, to ensure that there are no defects with the title.

4. Ensure that you furnish your solicitor with all planning documentation for the house. It will be necessary to furnish the purchaser with Certificates of Compliance and Planning Permission and Building Regulations, if applicable, as evidence that all the buildings are in compliance with same.

Furnish all planning permission documentation in your possession to your solicitor, and he or she will review the paperwork and advise you accordingly.

It is very important that the planning documents are in order before the proposed sale. Otherwise the potential purchaser may, on discovery of a discrepancy, pull out of the transaction.

5. Ensure that the map is correct and accurately reflects the property being sold. This is critical.

6. Consult with your accountant or tax consultant in advance of selling, to ensure that you are aware of any potential Capital Gains Tax liability. This helps to avoid an unfortunate, last minute surprise.

Again, your solicitor/ accountant will advise you as to the amount that you will have to pay to the Revenue Commissioners. It will depend on the value of the house when you sell, and the value for which you acquired the house at the outset.

7. If you are leaving contents pass with the house, make a list of the contents and give them to your auctioneer and/or solicitor to avoid ambiguities or disputes at a later date.

8. If you have a tenant on your property, ensure that you serve him/her with a valid notice of termination of tenancy, and afford them sufficient time, as per their legal entitlements, to vacate the property.

In some cases, the tenant will be staying, and it is important to hand over the tenant’s deposit, confirmation that the tenancy has been registered with the PRTB, any apportionment of rent agreed , etc, to the purchaser.

9. Gather all your Property Tax paperwork and give your solicitor receipts for the Property Tax, Household Charge and Non-Principal Private Residence Charge, if applicable. If there is a septic tank on your property, this will also need to be registered, if not already done.

10. Buying and selling at the one time can be quite a tricky area, if you are trying to juggle both to happen at the same time. It is very important to consult your solicitor in this area, as he/she will have experience in such matters.

It is usually best to first get a binding contract for the purchase of the new house. You may want to sign the contract for the purchase of the new house contingent on the sale of your old house going through.

It is not essential that both closings be on the same day, and in some ways, it can add to the stress trying to do so in the one day, as things can be delayed at the last moment.

Finally, best of luck on your new move!

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