Property Transactions: What Happens on the Closing Date?

handing over the keys in a property transaction for Mullins & Treacy LLP Solicitors Waterford

The closing date is the most exciting point of a property transaction, as it the day the transaction is completed. Read on to find out what to expect.

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What does closing date mean Ireland?

In conveyancing, the closing date is the day on which a property transaction is officially finalised. The buyer transfers the funds to the seller. The seller vacates the property and hands over the keys. Afterwards, the buyer can register their ownership with the Property Registration Authority.
The closing date is also known as ‘completion’.

When is a closing date set?

The closing date is set out in the contract for sale. This is the contract that binds both parties to the transaction.

Who decides the closing date?

If the property has been sold by private treaty, then the date is usually agreed between the buyer and seller. If the property has been sold at auction, then the date is usually set by the seller and is typically 28 days from the date of the auction.

Can the closing date change?

You can ask to change the closing date once the contract for sale has been signed, but there is no guarantee that the other party will agree.
The seller may have more flexibility if the contract includes conditions attached to the closing date. Commonly, there is a clause stating that the closing date is dependent on the seller having purchased another property. If so, the completion date may come and go, and there is little the buyer can do about it. However, if contracts have been exchanged and there are no conditions attached to the contract, then the buyer may serve a completion notice on the sellers.

What happens on closing day for seller Ireland?

The seller’s main duties on the date of closing are to vacate the property and hand over the keys. The property must be left in a reasonable condition and all the contents/fixtures/fittings that were agreed in the sale must be left in situ. The seller will also need to take meter readings and report the change of ownership to their utility providers.

The final bits of paperwork and admin are completed by the seller’s solicitor, who must:

  • Respond to any closing day queries that are raised by the buyer’s solicitor
  • Transfer the title deeds to the buyer’s solicitor
  • Receive the outstanding balance of the sale price from the buyer’s solicitor

Once all this has been done, the seller’s solicitor will advise that the keys can be released. The buyer can collect the keys from the solicitor’s office or the estate agent. The property must be vacant at this time.

What happens on closing day for buyer Ireland?

The buyer’s main duties on the date of closing are to pay the balance of the sale price and wait to collect the keys. However, their solicitor has a number of tasks to complete before the buyer can actually take possession of the property.
Firstly, the buyer’s solicitor will carry out closing day searches. These include:

  1. A land registry or registry of deeds search – to make sure there are no restrictions or burdens on the title
  2. A judgement search – to make sure the seller doesn’t have any litigation or debts that could affect the property
  3. A bankruptcy search – to make sure the seller isn’t bankrupt

If the buyer’s solicitor finds any issues, queries must be raised with the seller’s solicitor. If there are potential problems, the buyer’s solicitor will advise their client as to the best way forward. It may be preferable to delay the transaction until the matter is resolved.
If no issues are identified, or satisfactory responses are provided, then the buyer’s solicitor pays the remaining balance to the seller’s solicitor. If the buyer is using a mortgage, this involves liaising with the lender to draw down or ‘requisition’ the mortgage.

Once the money has been paid, it is a case of waiting for the seller’s solicitor to confirm receipt of payment. After this, the keys can be released. The title documents will also be transferred from the seller’s solicitor to the buyer’s solicitor. The buyer is then the new owner of the property and is allowed to take possession of the property.

That is not the end of the matter for the buyer, as they may still need to pay Stamp Duty. The deeds must also be registered. These are all things the buyer’s solicitor organises on their client’s behalf.

How soon after closing can you move in Ireland?

As the buyer, you can move in to your new property on the closing date. This is the date on which the sellers must vacate the property and hand possession over to the buyer. If the seller refuses to move out then it is vital to get legal advice. The seller is effectively trespassing, as they are no longer the legal owner of the property.

Property solicitors Ireland

If you are looking to buy and/or sell a property in Ireland, contact us Mullins & Treacy LLP Solicitors. We are client focused and results driven. Our conveyancing solicitors can help you through the process, working hard to make the transaction as swift and as stress-free as possible.

Call us on 051 391 488 or email reception@mullinstreacy.ie for a no obligation enquiry.

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