Buying a Second Hand Property

Madden Law – a modern solicitor's office

Shona Madden:

  • adopts a modern approach to providing legal services. 
  • gives access to clients to book a time that suits them online to have a call and catch up and ask questions. 
  • will text clients with regular updates on their purchase
  • uses plain English
  • gives a full breakdown of all costs at the start of the matter.  
  • has a fixed-price buying fee.
  • offers a wide range of flexible appointment options.
  • provides efficient service, getting you your keys as soon possible.
  • has over ten years experience as a qualified solicitor with the Law Society of Ireland

 There will be no surprises when it comes to costs.

Buying a house can be stressful. One less thing to worry about is unknown costs. 


We have set out all of the price structure below.

Download our fixed cost service for buying a property under €400,000

Download our fixed cost service for buying a property over €400,000

What legal work is included in our fixed cost service?

"I’ was delighted to chat to Gerry Kelly on LMFM recently and answer questions about the house buying process."
Shona Madden - Practicing Solicitor
Shona Madden
Madden Law

Tips about buying a second-hand property



Make sure you know the stamp duty and Land Registry fees. These fees will be paid to your solicitor in advance of completion.


Get a full structural survey of  second hand house, by a suitable professional. Get this done before contracts are signed.



A refundable booking deposit will be paid to the selling agent. Then the balance of the 10% deposit will be paid when contracts are being signed.

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Before Completion

Carry out a visual inspection of the property, before the balance of the purchase price is exchanged.

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You must sign the purchase deed after completion. Your solicitor will then submit the change of ownership application to the Property Registration Authority.

Download our guide to property buying (with FAQs)

Watch the recent Facebook Live webinar where Shona discusses the process for First Time Buyers.


We have 10 years experience in property law and we can answer all your property law questions

Book a Video Appointment with Shona Madden

Frequently Asked Questions about Buying a Second-Hand Property:

The booking deposit and name of solicitors acting for the purchasers is given to the estate agent. Then the estate agent prepares a sales advice note, detailing the agreement reached. That is then given to all parties, the sellers and their solicitor and the buyers and their solicitor.  When the seller’s solicitor receive it, they will then prepare the Contracts for Sale. It will then be sent to the purchaser’s solicitor. It usually take 2-3 weeks for the contracts to be sent to the purchaser’s solicitor This is because often the title deeds are with the seller’s bank.

It usually takes 2-3 weeks for the full loan offer to arrive also. It is not advisable to sign the purchase contracts, before the loan offer arrives. The loan offer needs to be reviewed, to ensure that all conditions can be complied with. The bank will send the full loan legal pack to the solicitor. It is advisable to book a surveyor to conduct a full structural report, boundary check and planning search. It is often advisable to  have the survey done after the contracts are received, as planning documents and  a map will be given with the contracts. These can then be given to the surveyor to review also.

This document has the details of the agreement, the price, buyer and seller’s details, the property address, the completion date, special conditions about this transaction and general conditions that apply to all property transactions. 

The general conditions are a mix of rights and obligations of both the seller and the buyer. For example, in the general conditions, there is a right for the buyer to have reasonable inspection of the property before completion. This means the buyer can go in to take measurements and do further inspection, before completion. There is also a right for the buyer to have vacant possession of the property on completion. This means that all rubbish and contents should be removed unless there is an agreement to include contents. 

Often there is not a completion date in the Contract. This may occur if the sellers are in a chain and are buying another property . In this case, there will be a special condition in the Contract saying that the closing date (completion date) shall coincide with the seller’s purchase. Then the solicitors will liaise with each other and communicate the completion date, as there will be no actual date in the Contract itself. 

The seller does warrant that the original construction and any subsequent development were  in compliance with planning permission and Building Regulations, in force at the time of construction. One general conditions states  that the  buyers buy the property with knowledge of the condition that it is in. That is why it is important for the survey to be done before the signed contract is sent to the seller’s solicitor. The seller does not give any warranty about the condition of the property in the Contract. 

The following documents are reviewed and discussed with the purchaser: Contract, map, Folio, Planning documents for the original construction and any extension, Local Property tax history of the property, BER certificate and advisory report, management company documents. 

The balance of the 10% deposit is given to the buyer’s solicitor. It will be transferred to the seller’s solicitor and two signed Contracts will be posted also. The seller will sign both Contracts, keep one and return one signed Contract to the buyer’s solicitor. At this point there is a binding Contract in place. 

The mortgage funds will be drawn down from the bank a few working days before the completion date. In order for mortgage funds to be released, the life policy/ Mortgage property policy, update to date valuation, direct debit mandate and home insurance must be submitted to the bank. 

Buyers are advised to do a final inspection of the property, to ensure only contents that have been agreed are left. It is advisable to liaise with estate agent to confirm what keys will be given on the completion date. Download our pre completion checklist here

The buyer’s solicitor transfer 90% of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor by EFT. The buyer’s solicitor order judgment and property searches. The seller’s solicitor sends the original title documents and closing documents to the buyer’s solicitor. These are reviewed by the buyer’s solicitor.

When the seller’s solicitor receives the funds and the documents and searches are checked by the buyer’s solicitor, both parties confirm they are happy complete the transaction. The seller’s solicitor will call the estate agent and confirm the sale has closed. The estate agent will then be authorised to release the keys to the buyers. The buyer’s solicitor will content them to tell them the keys are available to be collected from the office of the estate agent. 

The stamp duty will be paid by the solicitor. The current rate for residential property  is 1% of the purchase price. Purchasers have to give their PPS numbers to their solicitor, in order for the stamp duty return to be done through ROS. 

The change of ownership and mortgage documents are then sent to the Property Registration Authority. This usually takes 6 weeks to complete. Then a new folio (deed) will be available showing the new registered owners of the property. If the buyers got a mortgage, then the bank’s charge will be registered on the deed also. All original title documents are then given to the bank as security for the mortgage. 

Download our pre- completion checklist

"I’ve been buying houses for over ten years. I’ve put together a simple guide that sets out the legal process in buying a second hand property."
Shona Madden - Practicing Solicitor
Shona Madden
Madden Law

Book a Video Appointment with Shona Madden

Shona Madden

Clear, concise advice.

“I’ve been buying houses for over ten years. I’ve put together some videos with some of the most common issues. My aim is always to provide clear, concise advice. “

what our recent client said

Madden Law – Clear, concise advice


How long does the legal process take to buy a house or apartment?

If you are getting a mortgage to buy a property, you can expect to get keys approximately 8 weeks after your booking deposit is paid to the estate agent.

If there is no mortgage involved, then the process can be done usually in 6 weeks.

These time frames are based on the property being vacant or ready to be vacated on the agreed completion date. If the seller is buying on, this will have a big impact on when the purchase can be completed. 

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Outstanding service all round and a complete joy to deal with - would recommend in a heartbeat and hope to deal again soon!