Selling a house/apartment takes longer than you might think. There are various stages to the process. The first stage of the process is to engage an estate agent and take his/her advice in terms of preparing the property for sale.

Getting to ‘Sale Agreed’ takes time with some types of properties selling quicker than others. Traditionally there were two main selling seasons, Spring and Autumn, but this is more fluid now. Once the property goes sale agreed and the purchaser has paid a deposit the legal process commences and this involves the sellers solicitor sending a draft contract and a copy of the title documents to the buyers solicitor who then raises pre-contract queries. When the buyers solicitor is satisfied that the title is in order he/she will sit down with the buyer and sign the contract and send it back to the sellers solicitor with the balance of the 10% deposit.

The sellers solicitor will then sit down with seller, witness his/her signature and return one part of the contract to the buyers solicitor. It is only when one part of the contract has been returned to the buyers solicitor that a contract comes into place. Often the buyer will insist that the contract is made conditional on his/her obtaining a mortgage. The contract will contain a closing date which is typically 4/12 weeks after contracts are exchanged and on that date the sellers solicitor exchanges the keys of the house for the purchase price.  Flexibility and patience are important as not all house sales go to plan but what can help is getting documents to your solicitor as early in the process as possible and regular communication with your solicitor. If there are delays then the party causing the delay may be charged penalty interest or face legal proceedings. It is important to take meter readings and check the requirements of utility providers prior to closing. At the outset your solicitor will require the following from you: your title deeds or details of your mortgage if your lender holds them; your PPS Number; BER Certificate and Report; Local Property Tax details; NPPR Certificate of Exemption/Receipt; details of any extensions/alterations that you have carried out to the property; details of any legal notices served.

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