FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The process of buying or selling a property, choosing an estate agent or navigating moving home are full of questions and important decisions for you and your family. Here we try to give you an easy guide to the most Frequently Asked Questions and our expert answers.

For more in depth responses, case studies and special features, follow the links below.

Questions About Estate Agents

How much does it cost to sell with an estate agent?

Short Answer:

The cost of selling with an estate agent generally comes down to two parts: Fees & Expenses.

Fees are the majority of the cost, the agreed fee to be paid for the successful sale of the property. In Ireland estate agent fees typically range from between 1% to 2% + VAT depending on the agent, the house, it’s value etc.

Expenses are the extras an agent charges to engage in the sale of your house. This is also called Marketing Expenses and can include the costs of: professional photography, printed brochures, floorplans, signboards, online listings and newspaper advertising. These can range from €300 up to €2,000 and are usually payable upfront and even due if the house never sells.

READ MORE: Why Churches don’t charge Marketing Expenses?

Longer Answers:

FAQ: How much does selling your property with an estate agent cost?
FAQ: How much do Churches charge in sales fees and expenses?
FAQ: How must does it cost to sell my house? A Complete Guide

What other costs should I consider when selling?

BER Certificate:

Before your house can even be put on the market, you will need a Building Energy Rating certificate which will cost between €150 – €300 depending on the size of the house.

Solicitors:

Your next major expense will be your solicitors. Many are now charging a flat rate conveyance fee – you should expect this to be between €1,200 to €2,500 depending on the size and complexity of the sale. If you are buying too you will have to pay for both conveyances but you will generally get a decent discount for the double.

Taxes & Bills:

If you are buying a house you will have to pay Stamp Duty but there are no fees on selling your family home (but there is CGT on investment properties). Otherwise you should be prepared to close out all your utility bills and make sure your property tax is paid.

Removals:

Don’t forget to budget for removals – whether that is hiring a van or employing a professional removals team. You also might need temporary storage or to sell some unnecessary furniture if it doesn’t fit or suit your new home.

Longer Answers:

FAQ: How must does it cost to sell my house? A Complete Guide
FAQ: What is a Building Energy Rating (BER)?
FAQ: How much does selling your property with an estate agent cost?
FAQ: How much do Churches charge in sales fees and expenses?

When should I contact an agent?

Right Now!

If you are looking to sell immediately, you shouldcontact us today to start discussing your property. Our first step is to meet with you to inspect and value your property. Then we can discuss pricing and marketing, but more importantly what your plans and goals are.

Click here to contact us and arrange a valuation…

Before You Buy

We always advise anyone thinking about moving house to consider their sale before they consider buying. Don’t spot your next dream home and then be disappointed that you can’t afford it. Find out what your home is worth first – with a free valuation from us – and then go looking within your budget.

Far In Advance

We have typically two types of clients – (1) one who calls us when they are ready to sell; and (2) two who we may speak to and advice for weeks, months or years in advance before they actually decide to sell. The majority of our business is probably the latter. Moving is a long decision and we want to be there for you for whenever you finally decide to sell. So chat to us today, let us tell you what your property is worth now and then we can keep you updated to help you choose the right moment to move.


Longer Answers:

When should I contact an Estate Agent?
Why you should sell before you buy?

How to choose the right estate agent?

Choosing the Best Estate Agent:

Choosing the right estate agent is a very important part in selling your property. This is your home and possibly your largest financial asset, it’s crucial you get the right agent who will ensure the successful sale for the best price.

7 Steps To Choosing Your Agent

We have developed a guide to choosing the best estate agent for your sale. In summary, here is what we recommend:

  1. Know your reason for selling – what you want to achieve?
  2. Do your research – find the most active local agents.
  3. Value your own home  – be prepared before you meet any agents.
  4. Think about marketing – what does your house need to sell?
  5. Invite the agents in – decide who to call.
  6. What questions should you ask prospective agents.
  7. How to choose the best estate agent for your sale.

Know, Like and Trust

Property is personal. When you are selling your home it is one of the most important personal and financial transactions in your life. Your advisor is crucial to your successful sale, a beneficial move and a happy life.

Your agent therefore should be someone you KNOW, LIKE and TRUST.

  • Someone your KNOW completely understands what they are doing. Someone who knows the local area, the buyers and the sellers, the movers and the market. 
  • Someone you LIKE, because there may be ups and downs in the sales process and you need someone who you are able to work well with for the duration.
  • Someone you TRUST, because you are putting your most valuable asset and your family’s wellbeing in their hands. You have to trust them to have your best interests at heart.

Don’t always go for the highest valuation or the lowest fees.

READ MORE: Find out more about Churches Estate Agents

Longer Answers:

 Our Guide To Choosing The Best Estate Agent
The 2 big mistakes people make when choosing an estate agent
Why you shouldn’t pick the cheapest estate agent.

How will my property be marketed?

Online:

About 90% of buyers find their next home online in Ireland today. If you’re property is not on the major portals – Daft.ie and MyHome.ie – it will not be found by the largest selection of potential buyers. Your agent should also have their own attractive and easy to navigate website – all our properties are here at Churches.ie. Make sure your agent has all three of these things and doesn’t charge you for this – it doesn’t cost them anything extra per property and should be provided as standard.

“For Sale” Signboard

Next is an attractive signboard outside your property – important for attracting local buyers but not strictly essential if you must have a private sale.

Photographs and Brochures

Make sure your agent is not taking photos of your home on their iPhone. Proper photography is important, especially for the internet. Some agents will do professional photography and printed brochures for a fee – but we’ve included them for free!

Newspaper Advertising

Finally, many agents will charge you for advertising in a national newspaper – we believe this is unnecessary for all but the most expensive homes, otherwise it only serves to advertise your agent not your property.

READ MORE: Churches Marketing

Longer Answers:

How will you market my property?
How much does marketing cost?
Do I really need a newspaper ad to sell my property?

Why should I sell with Churches?

Our People:

We have a team of expert agents who know everything there is to know about the business. All our agents are licenced by the PSRA and havedecades of experience in the industry. Most importantly all our agents are nice guys, actual homeowners and people you would trust to look after your most important asset.

Sales Specialist:

We are experts in property sales. We have specialised in this area and work on our skills every day. Each of our agents is an expert negotiator and smart at solving problems or coming up with solutions.

Our Fair Policies

We believe to be fair in all we do. Our valuations are always free (even for Probate and Fair Deal scheme) and they are always honest and accurate. We also don’t charge for marketing or any other upfront costs because we believe you shouldn’t pay until you get a result and this part of our service should be included as standard. Therefore we only charge you when we successfully sell your home, not before.

Our Innovative Marketing

Despite not charging our clients for any marketing, we are providing some of the best marketing servicesaround. This includes free professional photography,free printed brochures, online listings at all the major sites and now exclusive magazine advertising in the new Irish Home Magazine and online at IrishHome.ie.
READ MORE: About Churches Estate Agents

Longer Answers:

Preparing For Sale

When is the best time to sell my house?

What it is best for you!

There really isn’t a definitive answer for when is the best time to sell your house. It really comes down to what you want to achieve. If you are trading up or downsizing it will probably depend on the availability and affordability of your next home. If you are moving somewhere else or because of financial or family reasons it really comes down to when your life suits a move. Don’t worry about trying to time it with the market.

Seasonal Swings

There is an argument that it may be better at certain times of the year to sell your house. Spring is often cited, and September when the schools go back. However people are looking for homes all year round and that doesn’t stop for holidays or seasons. In fact this way of thinking means there is often a glut of sales hitting the market at those times, drowning out your property and giving buyers lots of choice. It may be better to sell your home outside of theses traditional periods. See our article: Why Christmas is the most popular time of the year for property portals? Again it’s about when it’s right for you and your family.

Don’t be afraid of a falling market

Sometimes people put off selling because they hear that the market is falling. They think they will get less for their home and that is a bad idea. However, if the whole market is quiet or indeed falling, the home you want to buy next is also falling. It’s at these times people can make smart moves if they get a good price for their sale and successful negotiate a favourable price for their new home. See our article: Why smart people move in a down turn?

Longer Answers:

How do I prepare to sell my property?

Legals

Before you begin the process of selling your property, it’s a good idea to make sure everything is in place to make sure the sale can go ahead successfully and smoothly. The key documents are your title deeds. If you have a mortgage these will be held by your mortgage bank. Your solicitor can request them when preparing your contract for the sale.

If you inherited the house or at any stage had a joint ownership that no longer stands (divorce, separation, partnership etc) make sure the deeds are in the correct name and you have the consent of all parties to sell the property.

Planning Permission

If you have done any work to the property since you bought it, make sure you have all the proper planning documents up to date. If you did any works that require planning or even if they are within the permitted planning guidelines, you can get a Certificate of Permitted Planning from a surveyor to ensure there are no problems during the sale.

Taxes

Before you sell you will have to have fully paid the Property Tax on your home. Also if you have any other outstanding taxes (for tenancies or second homes) then these will also have to be paid prior to the sale. Be careful with your Property Tax. If you property sells for considerably more than it was taxed for then you might have to pay the increased tax level.


Longer Answers:

How do I prepare my property for sale?
Checking your property has planning permission.

Should I do anything to my property before sale?

Clean & Tidy

The easiest thing you can do is make sure your house is clean and tidy before going on the market. This will be important for taking photography for marketing and also for when first viewings come around. Decluttering allows potential buyers to see the house, behind all your belongings. Cleaning drastically improves the feel of the house when prospective buyers come in – no one feels comfortable in a grimy or dirty house – and it will improve their likelihood of making an offer and potentially paying more for the house.

This includes inside and outside. Improving the garden and particularly the front garden and exteriors of your house is important for kerb appeal. When buyers first see your house, whether online or at first viewing, it’s important to make the right first impression.

Home Improvements

We generally advise home owners not to spend major money on their home before sale. The reason why is it is unpredictable whether they will see a return on their money and whether it will be worth their while. Many people don’t have money to spare to put into their property and even if they do we suggest it is better to save that money to invest into your next home.

However, if you are aiming to add value to your home to achieve a better result, our friend Clodagh Doyle at Placelift House Doctors recommends some of the best home improvements for your property here.


Longer Answers:

Should I do anything to my property before putting it up for sale?
How to clean and declutter before selling your property
10 easy tips to improve your home before going for sale
Top 10 home improvements to add value to your property

Building Energy Ratings (BERs)

What is a BER Certificate?

Since 2011 every property in Ireland now needs a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate prior to going on the market for sale or to let. A BER certificate is an assessment and rating of your property’s energy efficiency. Each house is assessed and comes out with a score on a range of A1 to F. Here is a rough guide to what houses have which rating:

  • A1 – brand new, highly efficient purpose built house (such as Passive House).
  • A2 – as above, still a very high standard to attain.
  • A3 – most new urban homes, usually includes solar panels.
  • B1 – a modern 10-20 year old property, with additional efficiency improvements.
  • B2 – a modern or retrofitted property, depending on the age of the house and extent of improvements.
  • B3 – as above, depending on the age of the house and extent of improvements.
  • C1 – A common 15-20 year old property with double glazing and attic insulation but no other measures.
  • C2 – A well-built rural property with oil-fired heating, insulation and efficient heating.
  • C3 – A typical apartment score in an 10-15 year old development.
  • D1 – A 20-40 year old house with double glazing, gas boiler and some insulation.
  • D2 – As above but with just double glazing, older boiler.
  • E – A 30-40+ year old house with no improvements or double glazing.
  • F – An older property, barely a shell with single glazed windows and no insulation.
  • Exempt – Listed historic buildings or derelict properties are exempt.

Longer Answers:

FAQ: What is a BER Certificate?
FAQ: What do the different BER ratings mean?
Does the BER rating effect the value of my house?

How is it calculated and what is the cost?

A BER requires an inspection and survey by a registered BER assessor. They take about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the house. During their inspection they measure the property and take not of several features of your property. The assessment takes into account several different factors such as:

  • Heating system – gas, oil, electric.
  • Insulation – internal, external, attic.
  • Windows – quality and rating of your windows.
  • Size of house and volume of space – to assess how easy it would be to heat.
  • Radiators – individual controls, thermostats, smart systems.
  • Energy Saving Measures – lightbulbs, solar panels, heat pumps etc.

The cost of a BER certificate depends on the size of the house and the time it takes for the assessor to complete their survey. A typical apartment or house of up to 1,200 sq ft should be around €150 incl. VAT and a large house, duplex or penthouse might be up to €250 incl. VAT. Anything larger or perhaps more complicated might be more. Listed historic buildings or derelict properties are exempt.


Longer Answers:

How is a BER calculated?

How much does a BER cost?

Recommended BER assessors

How can I improve my BER rating?

Although we generally don’t recommend worrying about your BER rating when selling a property, you might be looking to improve your home for your own use or planning to improve the energy efficiency of your next home. Here are a few ways to improve your property’s BER:

  • Heating system – a new gas boiler can make the biggest improvement to your BER. Switching to a combination boiler and reducing the size of the hot tank will help you waste less hot water. If you can’t get gas where you are, a modern oil-fired boiler is much more efficient these days.
  • Insulation – Making sure your attic and roof space is insulated is one of the easiest and cheapest improvements. After that there are clever internal and external cladding systems that will help save waste heat.
  • Windows – Replacing single glazing with double glazing is a must. After that there is now highly efficient triple and even quadruple glazing but that is getting expensive. Secondary glazing is an alternative if you can’t remove existing windows. Skylights and conservatories are also something to be weary of.
  • Size of house and volume of space – Little you can do about this but note that large houses will always struggle to keep up with a smaller property in terms of its BER.
  • Radiators – Central heating (preferably with gas) is better than electric or storage heaters. There are more modern efficient radiators these days and each should be controlled with an individual valve or more advanced thermostat systems are available.
  • Energy Saving Measures – Replacing old tungsten and even newer halogen bulbs with LED lights will save you electricity and is simple to do. Other energy saving measures include a smart heating system that is more controllable and timed to your family’s needs. Solar panels are now popular and can save huge hot water heating bills in the summer months – even in Ireland!

Longer Answers:

How can I improve my BER Rating?
10 tips to make your home more energy efficient