Selling your House? 10 Useful Tips for Vendors

  1. An estate agent is usually your first call. But your house can sell as soon as a board goes up, so it is just as important to inform your solicitor to allow him prepare contracts for sale without delay.
  2. If you built an extension some years back, you would need planning permission or an architect’s certificate that the works are exempt. Talk to your solicitor about any such works as he can then provide for this in the contract. Do not get caught halfway through the whole process with some works or an extension that are undocumented.

  3. Agree as soon as you can about what fittings and contents are included in the sale and what you plan to remove or sell to your purchaser. Fixtures such as fireplaces, stoves, and cookers generally belong to the property. Fittings like curtains, carpets, TV cabinets etc may be removed by the owner or, more usually, offered to the purchaser for a reasonable sum. It is vital at the earliest stage to agree and clarify all this with the purchaser. More rows occur over such matters than anything else so draw up a clear list of what is / is not to be included in the sale.

  4. Contracts for sale, once signed by all parties, are binding but not if the  purchaser has inserted a “subject to loan” clause. Usually, these clauses expire in a few weeks, on receipt of loan approval and only then is there an unconditional contract. So, do not purchase another property until you have an unconditional contract on your own.

  5. Typically, your house is exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT), but your solicitor
    should be briefed if any part of the house, say the garage or a small extension, has been used for business for some time as the Revenue may then reduce the full CGT relief somewhat.

  6. You should leave into your solicitor a small file with all demands/ receipts for service charges, bin charges etc. Try ensuring your payments for Local Property Tax (LPT) are up to date and give your solicitor copies of these receipts. This tax is a charge on your property and your purchaser can be billed for your LPT arrears if you cannot produce evidence they have been paid to date.

  7. Sometimes an owner can buy out his freehold without his solicitor being aware the property is no longer leasehold. Give your solicitor the Vesting Certificate if you have bought out the freehold as he or she will need to mention this in the contract. Your solicitor may also have to lodge the Vesting Certificate in the land Registry to convert your title to freehold.

  8. The buyer’s solicitor will raise a standard set of queries with your solicitor but he or she will need your input or assistance with these. Matters such as service charges, LPT, other household taxes, and refuse collection charges will have to be clarified as no purchaser will proceed until these are paid to date. If it is your family home, you will be asked to provide your solicitor with your marriage certificate or, where applicable, your Divorce Decree as well as he needs these to prepare the statutory declarations you will be signing to confirm the property is indeed your own family home.

  9. As well as signing various completion documents to include the conveyance deed itself, do not forget to leave with your solicitor all keys to the house along with fobs or codes to any gates or other doors. As for the ESB and gas accounts, as owner you are the only party allowed contact your supplier to obtain a final meter reading and get a closing account.

  10. Although there is no CGT on a sale of your home, your solicitor will have to apply for a CGT Clearance Certificate in most cases and this can take some time to issue. If your own income tax or Vat affairs are not up to date, the Revenue are likely to delay issue of this all-important clearance certificate. In a small number of cases, they may demand payment of some tax arrears before they issue the cert or your solicitor’s undertaking to pay the amount from the proceeds of sale.

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