House Buyers Checklist: The 5 Top Pitfalls To Avoid

House Buyers Checklist: The 5 Top Pitfalls To Avoid
  • Opening Intro -

    You're buying a home, but you're not too sure how to proceed.

    You know that there are hundreds of thousands of Irish homeowners, but how satisfied are they?

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You’ve heard a few horror stories but the truth is that the vast majority of people are happy with their purchases. Ireland has the highest percentage of home-ownership in the EU.

Get Legal Advice

Before you sign anything – before you even set foot on a property – get some legal advice. Ask a lawyer what you should expect throughout the process, and don’t sign any legal paperwork that commits you to a property without handing it over to a lawyer first.

It’s a simple protection measure, but it’s one that many people still don’t do. It’s surprising, because so many people are happy with their home purchase – you might think you don’t need a lawyer. While many people are happy, you’re taking an unnecessary risk by not vetting everything through legal counsel.

Hire A Professional

Don’t rely on the advice of just anybody. It’s tempting to get a good deal by doing business with someone who sells property "on the side." This is a big mistake, and a major reason why people who do get scammed get scammed.

Don’t rely on your fellow countrymen either. You might think an Irishman is better to deal with than a foreigner. That’s not necessarily true. The only thing that counts is the person’s skill and ability in the real estate market. Do a background check on the person you’re doing business with. How long have they been in business? What are their credentials?

Don’t Make Stupid Mistakes

A lot of people are taken advantage of because of silly mistakes they make. Unbelievable as it sounds, some people will just hand over a pile of cash and do business on a handshake. This is a huge mistake – never do business on a handshake and never do cash sales unless it’s cleared through your lawyer.

Other common mistakes include buying a home in the wrong area, buying a property for renovation but underestimating the restoration costs, and buying a property that’s unsaleable. Sometimes, people are in a rush to get into a home and don’t have a full survey done on an old property. All of these things can be easily avoided by slowing down the sales process, speaking with legal counsel, and making sure you’re paying for professional service and advice.

Check For Subrogation

In Ireland, all debts stay with the property. So, if there’s a mortgage on the home, you might unintentionally assume it if you rush into a sale. Service and management charges also remain with the home. Of course, your solicitor can check for any outstanding debts on a property – it should be standard procedure but you should ask just to make sure it’s being done.

Buy A Finished Property

Don’t buy "off plan" unless you’re certain that the builder can complete the job. Unbuilt or unfinished properties can come with a lot of hidden costs that are difficult or impossible to plan for. For example, the builder could go broke before the job is finished. What then?

Make sure that your builder is insured and has a banker’s termination guarantee. This will protect you against solvency issues with the builder and will ensure that the infrastructure, parking areas, external lighting, landscaping, and all other aspects of the home are finished properly. Of course, you can avoid all of this by just buying a finished property – which is what most people do.

Josh Hayward has extensive experience in real estate and home sales. In his spare time, he enjoys writing for a number of property and homeowner websites. Visit the website for information on home insurance.

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