Posted by Oliver Meredew on September 19th, 2018.
If you own property in Ireland and want to move abroad or sell up and settle down elsewhere, parting ways with a home or business might seem easier said than done.
But selling your home in Ireland doesn’t need to be a daunting task, as TorFX is here to help you get your property on the market with some top tips.
We’ll be going from working out a property’s worth to handing over the keys, so keep reading to learn the ins and outs of selling your Irish property.
The first step in selling your property in Ireland is to find out what it’s actually worth.
Back in the day, it was the norm to bring in an estate agent to value a property, but the advent of the internet and online databases means that you are no longer at the mercy of one person’s (albeit professional) opinion.
Free valuations are available from some estate agents, but you can take matters into your own hands and easily work out what your property should sell for. At the end of the day, even though an agent might handle the sale you are the one who decides the asking price.
You can check online to see what other properties in your area or street have sold for, and some sites offer a more precise guide by allowing you to specify how many bedrooms there are, the state of the kitchen, the type of heating etc.
Negotiation is a given in any property purchase, so the rule of thumb when setting the selling price is to ask for 5% or 10% above what you are willing to accept.
Once you’ve arrived at a reasonable selling price the next step is to make sure that you have the right documents to hand.
The most important of these is the deed to the property, which could be in your possession, held by a solicitor, or by a bank if you have an active mortgage.
If the deed is in a bank’s possession, it might take weeks between a request being made and you obtaining the paperwork, so ask for the documentation as soon as possible once you have made up your mind to sell.
Other key documents include a Building Energy Rating Certificate (BER) and Advisory Report, which allow potential buyers to see the energy efficiency rating of your property and how they might improve it.
It is not possible to sell your place in Ireland without a BER, although some properties are exempt from having to obtain it.
If the property was built after October 1964 and has had any alterations or additions since it was first built, you’ll need to provide evidence of the original planning permission. Incidents of planning problems can delay the property selling process and in the worst cases drive potential buyers away.
Those of Irish birth should already have a Personal Public Service number (PPS), but if you are non-native or non-resident you will need to obtain one. Like the property deeds, it can take several weeks to acquire this document so it is best to apply as early as possible.
For rural or detached properties, a Declaration of Identity letter might be necessary to ensure a smooth sale – this effectively confirms what lies within the boundaries of the property and is aimed at preventing border disputes.
Other than the above, you’ll also need to make sure that any Local Property Tax (LPT) returns are paid before selling your property to prevent any difficulties.
It’s entirely possible to make it part-way through the property-selling process without the aid of an estate agent or solicitor, but hiring an estate agent makes selling a property much easier while a solicitor is ultimately required for conveyance (transferring ownership of the property).
Estate agents will market your property by putting the details online and in their shop window (if they have one), contacting prospective buyers and handling viewings.
While hiring an agent will entail paying a commission, they can be especially useful if you are busy and want to hand admin duties over to the professionals.
Not all estate agents operate equally, however, so it is important to find the best one for your needs.
A recommendation from a trusted source is an excellent way to start your search. To narrow down the list you can check if an agency has past experience selling properties like yours.
On hiring an estate agent, some will recommend a solicitor but as with the agent, this is ultimately your decision.
A good solicitor will coordinate your home-selling efforts by evaluating offers, arranging surveys and, most importantly, handling the contracts and transfer of ownership.
When picking an estate agent or a solicitor, it’s key to make sure that you know what their fees are and what commission they’ll ask for before hiring in order to prevent any surprise costs after you hand over the keys.
A house that’s well-lived in and full of your prized possessions might seem like a welcoming sight to you, but what’s ‘homely’ for one person may seem ‘cluttered’ to another.
This doesn’t mean that you need to throw everything out, but the general rule of ‘staging’ a property is that less is more; among other things, this lets potential buyers imagine how they could fill empty spaces, which increases the chances of a sale.
Tidying up should extend to the outside as well as the inside, as weeding and enhancing garden areas can also help to reel in prospective purchasers.
Everyone has their own taste, but the basic principles of gussying up the property are to let lots of light in and make the property up as if it were a holiday let.
Made beds with a tasteful number of cushions are appreciated, as are kitchens devoid of unclean plates, half-empty wine bottles and plates of pet food.
It might be considered a hassle to dress your home up for a day of viewings, but it can really pay off in the long-term when it comes to a faster sale and maybe even for more than the asking price.
In the digital age, it is highly advisable to take pictures of the staged house for online listings to maintain continuity if online viewers decide to make a physical visit.
Beyond the valuation given by real estate agents and BER reading for a property, another way to boost a home’s appeal is to get a property inspection.
This can cost you a few hundred euros, but it could be the tipping point that turns a potential buyer into someone who falls in love with the property you’re selling.
Irish property surveys are graded from Type 1 to Type 3 depending on their thoroughness and level of detail – a Type 2 is generally considered the minimum acceptable survey level.
If your property is in good order and there isn’t any major work that needs doing, it can be a great incentive to have a survey done as testament to this fact.
Being able to produce a clean bill of health for your property can be an ace up your sleeve to draw in viewers, or it could even sway a wavering would-be buyer into making the purchase.
Selling a property is a give and take process, as while you’ll come away with an overall profit, there are certain fees and duties that need to be accounted for.
It’s important to know how much you’ll be taking away once everything has been settled, so be aware of all the fees and costs.
The most obvious of these will be your solicitor’s services, estate agents’ commissions and any extra fees they levy.
Beyond these, the other main costs relate to tax. Sellers of Irish property don’t have to pay stamp duty, but you may still face Capital Gains Tax (CGT) if the property has risen in value since you bought it.
One notable exemption to CGT is if the property you’re selling was your Principal Private Residence (PPR) while you owned it.
If you have only lived in the property occasionally or let it out, CGT exemption may be unobtainable but CGT relief could still be an option.
Successfully completing your property sale will likely mean you have a sum of money at your disposal; if you were thinking of moving to the UK (or anywhere else) after selling up then you can use a currency broker such as TorFX to handle the transfer of funds.
Banks can apply sizable transfer fees to large foreign transfers, but currency brokers can make sure that you have as much post-exchange money as possible through the use of competitive exchange rates and fee-free transactions.
Selling your Irish property prior to a move overseas shouldn’t be a chore and if you take these tips to heart, you should be meeting the new owners and handing over the keys in no time!
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