This article first appeared in the Wicklow and Bray People on 2 October 2019. 
 
Purchasing a new house is both an exciting and daunting time, and if it’s a new house that you are purchasing, there are added considerations. Here is what you need to know about the process of buying a new build. 
 
1. If you have decided on a new build, check out new developments in the area and ask the agents lots of questions on what is included e.g. appliances, energy supply, BER ratings, allowances towards tiling, kitchens etc. This can differ greatly from development to development so it is worth comparing if there are a few new developments in the same area. 
 
2. If you have agreed a purchase on a property, the first stage will be paying a booking deposit to an estate agent. This will generally amount to 3-5% of the purchase price and is refundable if you don’t proceed, prior to signing a contract. 
 
3. The contract, building agreement and title documents and usually specifications of the new build are then sent to your solicitor, who will go through it all in detail. A provisional BER Certificate, which rates the building’s energy consumption and lasts for 10 years, is usually available at this stage. As solicitor for the purchaser, it is our task to check the terms of the proposed contract and review the title documents. This involves examining any issue which may affect your ownership e.g. planning issues, rights of way and mapping issues. 
 
4. You should now obtain your letter of loan offer from your bank. Contracts should only be signed when this is issued. In recent years, the Help-to-Buy scheme has helped some first-time buyers of new builds, if the house is purchased for €500,000 or less. This scheme is being phased out so look at the time periods left if you want to avail of this.
 
5. If you are happy to sign and proceed with the purchase, we then request a cheque for the deposit from you, amounting to 10% of the contract price, or as otherwise agreed, (minus the booking deposit). The contracts are then signed by you and returned to the vendor’s solicitor. It is only when the contract is counter-signed by the vendor and returned to us, that the contract is binding. 
 
6. Several months or even longer than a year can then pass before the house is completed. When it is finished, the builder’s solicitor will write to your solicitor giving you 14 days to complete. You then need to engage the services of an architect or engineer to inspect the property and draw up a snag list. When the snags have been completed, the loan can be drawn down. It is also advisable to keep in touch with your mortgage bank to ensure that your life and fire cover are in place. 
 
7. Completion documentation, the signed deed transferring ownership and keys are exchanged for the balance of the purchase price. The transaction is now complete and you have possession of your home. The title documents are then stamped and registered and returned to you or your bank, if your purchase has been funded by a loan.
 
 
Article by: Barbara Lydon, Associate Solicitor at Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors. 

03 October 2019

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