What Searches Do I Need When Buying a Property?

When you buy a property in Ireland, there are various searches that must be carried out. If you instruct a solicitor, these searches will be carried out for you.

Why do you need property searches?

Property searches ensure that any potential issues are identified and resolved, before you proceed with the purchase. This protects both you and your lender (if you have a mortgage). Otherwise, you could buy a property that does not adhere to planning regulations, or does not actually belong to the vendor. This could put you in a difficult financial position, as you may not be able to recover the money you have spent.

What property searches are carried out?

Some searches are performed before the contract is signed, and some searches are carried out on the day of completion – known as closing day searches.

When buying a residential property, pre-contract searches include –

A planning search, which confirms the zoning of the property. In other words, whether it is intended for residential or commercial use. It also reveals what planning applications have previously been accepted or rejected in the area, and any developments that are in the pipeline. It is important to know this before proceeding, as you may not want to buy that rural country cottage if a housing estate is going to be built next door.

A Compulsory Purchase Order search, which establishes whether the property or land is subject to a compulsory purchase order. If so, it means the local authority has obtained part of the property or land without the owner’s consent, usually for road infrastructure. It also means that the seller is not the only one with title deeds to the property.

Closing day searches

Closing day searches are needed to ensure that nothing has changed since the contract was signed. That is why they are carried out just before the transaction is finalised.

When buying a residential property, closing day searches include –

A Land Registry search, which confirms that the property belongs to the seller and he/she/they have the authority to sell it.

A judgment search, which shows whether there is a judgment mortgage against the vendor. This is when a lender seeks judgment in court against a homeowner for the non-payment of debt. It also shows whether there is any litigation pending against the property/vendor.

A bankruptcy search, which shows whether the vendor has been declared bankrupt. If so, the property is not theirs to sell.

Sheriff and Revenue Sheriff searches, which used to be required for leasehold properties to show whether the vendor owed any debts. This is no longer needed for the purchase of wholly residential leasehold properties.

A Registry of Deeds search, which checks the title of the property if it is unregistered.

If any of these searches uncover a potential problem, the matter can be raised with the vendor and their solicitor. There may be simple explanation. If not, you may not want (or you may not be able) to proceed with the transaction.

Property solicitors Ireland

If you are buying a property in Ireland, please contact us at Mullins & Treacy Solicitors. We are client focused and results driven. We can help you with your property purchase, working to achieve a smooth and stress-free transaction.

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

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