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Selling Your House? 10 Useful tips for vendors

  1. An estate agent is usually your first call. But your house can sell as soon as a board goes up, so it is just as important to inform your solicitor to allow them to take up the title deeds from the bank and prepare the contracts for sale without delay.

  2. If you built an extension or carried out any structural alterations, you will need planning permission or an architect’s certificate confirming the works are exempt. Talk to your solicitor about any such works as s/he can then provide for this in the contract.

  3. Agree as soon as you can what fittings and contents are included in the sale and what you plan to remove or sell to your purchaser. Fixtures such as fireplaces, stoves, and cookers generally belong to the property. Fittings like curtains, carpets, TV cabinets etc may be removed by the owner or, more usually, offered to the purchaser for a reasonable sum. It is vital at the earliest stage to agree and clarify all this with the purchaser. More rows occur over such matters than anything else so draw up a clear list of what is / is not to be included in the sale.

  4. Contracts for sale, once signed by all parties, are binding but not if the purchaser has inserted a “subject to loan” clause. The purchaser will include this if they are relying on third party funding from a lending institution. Usually, these clauses expire in a few weeks, on receipt of loan approval and only then is there an unconditional contract. So, do not purchase another property until you have an unconditional contract of your own.

  5. Typically, your house is exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) provided it has been used as your principle residence, but your solicitor should be briefed if any part of the house, say the garage or a small extension, has been used for business for some time as the Revenue may then reduce the full CGT relief somewhat.

  6. You should leave into your solicitor a small file with all demands/ receipts for service charges etc. Try ensuring your payments for Local Property Tax (LPT) are up to date and give your solicitor copies of these receipts. This tax is a charge on your property and your purchaser will become liable for all arrears so they will insist that the payments are up to date before signing a contract.

  7. Sometimes an owner can buy out the freehold without their solicitor being aware the property is no longer leasehold. Give your solicitor the Vesting Certificate if you have bought out the freehold as he or she will need to mention this in the contract.

  8. The buyer’s solicitor will raise a standard set of queries with your solicitor but he or she will need your input or assistance with these. Matters such as service charges, LPT, other household taxes will have to be clarified as no purchaser will proceed until these are paid to date. If it is your family home, you will be asked to provide your solicitor with your marriage certificate or, where applicable, your Divorce Decree as well as these are needed to prepare the statutory declarations for closing.

  9. Although there is no CGT on a sale of your home, your solicitor will have to apply for a CGT Clearance Certificate if the value is over €1m. If your own income tax or Vat affairs are not up to date, the Revenue are likely to delay issue of this all-important clearance certificate. In a small number of cases, they may demand payment of some tax arrears before they issue the cert or your solicitor’s undertaking to pay the amount from the proceeds of sale.

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