Legal Advice: What legal fees should we expect for our first rural home?

Buying your first home can be both an exciting and stressful time in your life.
Legal Advice: What legal fees should we expect for our first rural home?

For many, a house in the countryside is the ultimate dream. Picture: iStock/Getty Images

Dear Karen,

Our offer has been accepted to buy our first home — we are very excited. We are buying for €350,000 and have been approved for a mortgage. The auctioneer is looking for details of my solicitor. Naturally, we are trying to keeps our costs as low as possible. What are the costs involved in conveyancing? I find it all a bit overwhelming.

Congratulations on getting your offer accepted! Buying your first home can be both an exciting and stressful time in your life.

Conveyancing is the transfer of legal title. The title to the property must be investigated thoroughly so that a purchaser has no difficulty obtaining a mortgage, or selling the property in the future.

Firstly, you will have to instruct a solicitor to act for you in relation to the purchase.

Professional fees can vary from solicitor to solicitor, and can depend on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the transaction, the urgency of the matter, the value of the property, if there are title issues, and whether or not the purchaser is availing of a mortgage.

While it is tempting to choose the lowest price, it is worth keeping in mind that putting right mistakes later can be more expensive, so it is important to invest in expertise in the first place, to avoid stress and financial loss in the future.

A solicitor should put his or her fee in writing before carrying out any work on your behalf. Vat will be charged on the professional fee at the applicable rate at the time, currently 23%.

There are a number of additional outlays that will have to be discharged also. These are fees payable to third parties.

Normally, the largest outlay payable on a transaction will be the Stamp Duty payable to the Revenue Commissioners. Stamp Duty is tax payable on a deed.

Currently, the stamp duty on the purchase of a residential property is 1% of the purchase price of the property where the consideration is less than €1,000,000. For the property you are purchasing, the Stamp Duty payable will be €3,500.

Land Registry fees are another expense you should be aware of when purchasing a property. In order to register a transfer of ownership of a property with a Land Registry title, a fee is payable.

This fee can vary depending on the purchase price of the property. At the current time, in your particular case, the fee chargeable is €700 for a property with a purchase price of between €200,001 and €400,000.

For registering your mortgage, a Land Registry fee of €175 would apply if your solicitor is not availing of the e-registration feature or if your purchase involves the transfer of part of a folio.

Other possible Land Registry fees would be €75 if the purchase involves the subdivision of a Folio and a €40 fee for obtaining a certified Folio and File Plan upon completion of the transaction.

Legal search fees are another outlay that you will incur. A law searcher carries out searches against the property you are buying and the vendors to ensure that there are no judgements or burdens registered on the property or against the vendors which affect your Title.

Search fees vary depending on a number of factors such as on the company your solicitor uses, the Title to the property and the extent of the enquiries to be made. They would typically cost in the range of €100 to €200.

While we all want value for money, the lowest price is not necessarily the best.

  • Karen Walsh, from a farming background, is a solicitor practicing in Walsh & Partners, Solicitors, 17, South Mall, Cork (021-4270200), and author of ‘Farming and the Law’. Walsh & Partners also specialises in personal injury claims, conveyancing, probate and family law.

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While every care is taken to ensure accuracy of information contained in this article, solicitor Karen Walsh does not accept responsibility for errors or omissions howsoever arising, and you should seek legal advice in relation to your particular circumstances at the earliest possible time.

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