When you sell a property, the title or ownership will be transferred from you to the purchaser. If there is a mortgage on the property, this must be paid off so that it will not be on the purchaser’s title. Proceeds of the sale will be used to do this, together with other funds, as necessary.

The first things to source when selling your property are your title documents, these are the documents of title associated with your property. If you have a mortgage over your property, the title documents are normally held by your Bank or lending institution as security for your mortgage. They may also be still held by your solicitor.

There are two ways to sell a house, by private treaty or by auction. It is important to be guided by an auctioneer or other professionals in the area as to the best way to sell your particular house. Which method is the better will depend on a number of factors including the type of house, the state of the property market, the area etc.

Any house built since the 1st October 1964 requires planning permission. The solicitor will need to make sure that the planning documentation is in order. This will usually entail an architect’s certificate stating that the conditions of the planning regulations have been complied with. If there has been any development on the property a similar approval will be required.

Once all the terms and conditions of the contracts for sale have been agreed then the contracts are signed by the purchaser and a contract deposit is paid (normally 10% of the purchase price minus any booking deposit paid to the auctioneer). You, the seller, must then sign the contracts and retain one part of the contract while the second part is exchanged with the purchaser.

If you are buying a new home at the same time you are most likely trying to juggle both purchase and sale to happen at the same time. It is very important to consult your solicitor in this area, as they 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, as things can go wrong at the last moment.

The completion of the sale occurs when the balance purchase monies (the purchase price minus the contract and the booking deposit already paid) are exchanged for the documents of title and the keys of the property. The documents of title include the deed of transfer from you the seller to the new purchaser. The deed of transfer and deed of mortgage (if applicable) is then registered by your solicitor with the property registration authority and the new purchaser(s) will be registered as the new owner(s) of the property.

If you are selling a house, which is not your main residence, then you must pay Capital Gains Tax. If the property is your main residence, then you are not liable for Capital Gain Tax. Your solicitor 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.

You should first contact an auctioneer and your solicitor so that the title deeds can be obtained and examined by your solicitor early. This will avoid potential delays in issuing the contract when the sale is agreed with the new purchaser.

NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website www.nfg.ie, or email info@nfg.ie.