As Seller or Vendor you will first have to decide on how you wish to market your property. You may decide to engage an auctioneer or you may decide to advertise yourself through the local or national press or on-line. Almost everybody employs an auctioneer. Self-sales are very uncommon in Ireland. Your auctioneer will advise on how the property should be advertised.
Once you have taken the decision to sell you should consult your Solicitors and instruct them to obtain your title deeds and have them ready for the sale . You should seek advice on any Planning, Family Law, Taxation or other issues that may arise. Your Solicitor can put suitable conditions in the contract to deal with your particular circumstances. If there are buildings on the property you must provide a Building Energy Rating Certificate to the Purchaser. If you have a septic tank you will have to be able to show that it has been registered with the Local Authority. For the sale your Solicitor will require your PPS number, a copy of your State Marriage Certificate (if applicable) and if you are a new client, photographic identification and utility bills showing your address to comply with money laundering legislation.
Of particular importance are taxation considerations. If the property you are selling is your principal private residence you will not have a Capital Gains Tax liability but you must now be able to furnish a receipt to prove you have paid the Household Charge. If you are selling house which is not your principal private residence you must also produce a receipt to show that you have been paying the NPPR charge to the County Council. Capital Gains Tax is a tax paid on the “profit” which you make as a result of the sale. For example if you bought a property for €200,000.00 in 2003 and you are now selling it for €250,000.00 you will have made a profit of €50,000.00 and you will be taxable on the €50,000.00 profit. All the expenses incurred in the purchase, such as solicitor’s fees and stamp duty, and all costs incurred in the sale, such as solicitor’s fee and auctioneer’s fees, are deductible for tax purposes and the tax is payable at 30% of the net profit. If you inherited the property then your acquisition cost is taken to be the value of the property as of the date you inherited it.
The principal relief for Capital Gains Tax is Principal Private Dwelling Relief. You do not pay tax on the sale of your principal private dwelling. You may also be eligible for Retirement Relief if you are selling your business or farm property and you are over 55 years of age and have used the property for the purposes of the business for the previous ten years. Your solicitor will discuss the matter with you and may also need to consult your accountant.
When a sale is agreed a booking deposit should be paid by the proposed Purchaser to your Auctioneer who will then send a Sale Advice letter giving the relevant details to your Solicitor. The contracts and copy title documents will then be sent by your solicitor to the Purchaser’s Solicitor .
Frequently at this stage the Purchaser may want to insert some conditions into the contract. For example, the Purchaser may want to make the contract conditional on getting loan approval or obtaining planning permission for some proposed development. You will have to decide on whether or not you will accept these conditions. The completion date, i.e. the date upon which the Purchase must hand over the purchase price and take possession on the property, must also be agreed. Only when these matters are agreed will the purchaser sign the contract and pay the deposit, i.e. 10% of the purchase price. . Once the contract is signed by the Purchaser, it and the deposit are sent to your Solicitor. You will then be contacted by your Solicitor to call to sign the contract.
When the contract is signed by you it becomes legally binding and you and the Purchaser must complete the sale in accordance with its terms on the agreed date. Should you fail to do so the Purchaser can bring Court proceedings for breach of contract against you. On the other hand should the Purchaser fail to complete on time you will be able to charge interest and serve a Completion Notice which gives the Purchaser four weeks to complete or lose the deposit. You can also sue for breach of contract
Between the signing of the contracts and the completion date your Solicitor will reply to a series of questions about the property raised by the Purchaser’s Solicitor which are known as Requisitions on Title. Your Solicitor will reply to those queries with your assistance. These replies must be correct and accurate otherwise you could be sued later by the Purchaser for misrepresentation. In addition, your Solicitor will prepare the necessary closing documents and, if the property is mortgaged, obtain up to date redemption figures from the Mortgagee.
Once all matters are in order the sale will be completed. The balance of the purchase monies are paid to your Solicitor who will forward the closing documents to the Purchaser’s Solicitor. At the same time you must give vacant possession and the keys of the property to the Purchaser. Vacant possession means that the property must be in a clean and clear condition. Most Vendors leave the keys with their auctioneer for the Purchaser to collect when the balance purchase monies have been paid. Your Solicitor will redeem any mortgage and pay over the sale proceeds to you. On average the process takes between 4 to 6 weeks from the date contracts are signed but, be warned, delays are unfortunately all too frequent!