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?
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.
What other costs should I consider when selling?
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.
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.
When should I contact an agent?
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.
Before You Buy
Far In Advance
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:
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:
- Know your reason for selling – what you want to achieve?
- Do your research – find the most active local agents.
- Value your own home – be prepared before you meet any agents.
- Think about marketing – what does your house need to sell?
- Invite the agents in – decide who to call.
- What questions should you ask prospective agents.
- 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.
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?
“For Sale” Signboard
Photographs and Brochures
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.
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 Fair Policies
Our Innovative Marketing
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.
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
Why smart people move in a down turn?
How do I prepare to sell my property?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!