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Guide to buying a property in Ireland as a non-resident

Whether you’re after breath-taking scenery, incredible city vistas, or affordable property, Ireland is consistently placed near the top of the list for favoured expat countries; and with good reason.

The Emerald Isle is unique for offering both mountainous highlands and gorgeous lowlands, as well as architecturally impressive buildings. With seaside and inland home locations, you’ll have plenty of options available to you if you’re looking at buying a house in Ireland.

And on top of Ireland’s impressive locations, it’s also home to one of the more inexpensive housing markets compared to other popular expat countries. So, whether you’re looking to move to Ireland for work, study, or retirement, the Emerald Isle has plenty to offer.

Naturally, if you’re looking to move to Ireland in the future, then knowing how the Irish property market functions will be useful to minimise the amount of stress that comes with buying a new home; even more so if that new home is in another country.

So, to help you get started with this process, we’ve collected everything you need to know about buying a property in Ireland as a non-resident, including the buying process and other little quirks and niches you should be aware of to make the buying process as simple as possible.

Are there any restrictions for buying a property in Ireland as a non-resident

A common question for anyone looking to move abroad, it’s always wise to check if there are any property buying restrictions for those seeking to buy a new home abroad. Fortunately, for anyone looking at buying property in Ireland, you’ll be pleased to know that there are no residency-based restrictions.

Anyone can buy property in Ireland, however, it’s important to note that owning Irish property does not guarantee you a right to live in Ireland. There may very well be restrictions for those looking to buy who don’t live in the UK, EU, or Switzerland when it comes to receiving a visa.

Those looking to move from the UK may also be concerned about the potential implications of Brexit. Despite the issues Brexit has presented for Brits looking to move overseas, when it comes to Ireland, citizens shouldn’t experience any issues.

Finally, another important thing to note if you’re buying a house in Ireland is that you will need a PPS (Irish Personal Public Service number). A PPS is a tax identification number, similar to a UK national insurance number, and is a necessity for those seeking to live in Ireland.

For more information on how to obtain a PPS, it’s best to speak to an Irish solicitor about the application process.

What is the current Irish housing market like?

As we mentioned previously, the Irish housing market is currently one of the most affordable and fastest growing in the EU, even in light of the recent pandemic. The Irish property market has held up very well in recent years, with price rises being minimal and property demand being high but not excessive.

Right now, Ireland’s property market is ideal for those looking to sell, giving you plenty of options when it comes to housing locations. But, like in most European countries, there can be stiff competition when it comes to securing the property of your dreams, so be prepared to move quickly if you have a chosen property in mind.

In terms of the types of housing you can expect to find in Ireland, there are both modern homes with all the creature comforts as well as older Georgian-era homes that lend a sense of refined elegance. In short, there is a huge selection of choices for those looking to buy a home in Ireland.

Of course, it’s important to be aware of the prices you can expect to see when viewing various Irish properties, as pricing will vary depending on your location. The following are the average prices for a city centre flat per square meter in some of Ireland’s popular locations:

  • Dublin – €145,000 – €370,000
  • Cork – €135,000
  • Galway – €128,000
  • Limerick – €105,000
  • Waterford – €90,000

What are the first steps when buying a house in Ireland?

When it comes to buying property, no matter if you want to buy a home in your native country or abroad, the very first thing you need to do is assess your financial situation. Simply put, you need to have enough money for a reasonable deposit, as well as spare income that can cover the costs not associated with buying property, allowing you to make mortgage payments and cover your bills.

First things first, you should review your financial situation and set yourself a budget. A key part of this will involve getting an Irish mortgage so you can get a mortgage in principle. This will give you a good idea of what priced house you should be looking at initially.

For more information on getting an Irish mortgage, you can read our guide to getting a mortgage in Ireland. Alternatively, you can speak to an international mortgage broker, like the ones we work with here at Blacktower. They’ll be happy to assist you with any international mortgage solutions, as well as property hunting assistance.

Getting an Irish mortgage is very important if you’re set on buying property in Ireland as very few people will be allowed to buy without one. Which makes securing an Irish mortgage a must.

But while beginning your mortgage application, you should also be looking at local estate agents in the areas you’re interested in to see what properties are available. Alternatively, if you’re unsure where you want to move, you can browse expat-friendly websites such as:

  • Daft.ie
  • MyHome.ie
  • Property.ie

When you do find a selection of properties you like, it might even be possible to view them online, but it’s recommended that you view them in person if you’re interested so you can get a proper feel for the property in question.

Once you’ve found a property you want to buy, you then need to make an offer to the seller. If they accept, you’ll then want to organise a booking deposit with your estate agent to take the property off the market and find a Commissioner of Oaths to oversee the contract signing.

Important things to consider when property hunting in Ireland

If, during your property search, you’re at all concerned about the legitimacy of any Irish estate agents, you can visit the Property Services Regulatory Authority website to check their authenticity. This site maintains a list of all registered estate agents, so picking one that is registered here guarantees you’ll be working with a reputable firm.

Besides this, you should also start considering hiring an Irish solicitor to handle the various legal steps that surround buying Irish property. Again, like with Irish estate agents, you can use the Irish Law Society’s website to find a reputable solicitor in the area you’re looking in.

Lastly, if you’re unsure as to what a Commissioner of Oaths is, they’re simply the Irish equivalent of a notary and must be present for the signing of all legal documents during the buying process.

What costs are associated with buying property in Ireland?

Before moving onto the final stages of buying property in Ireland, it’s important to be aware of the relevant costs associated with buying Irish property; besides mortgage repayments.

First and foremost, you will be expected to cover the cost of any associated legal fees for your solicitor and the Commissioner of Oaths, as well as home insurance, and stamp duty relating to house deeds. You will also have to pay a booking deposit if you’re buying through an estate agent in order to start the buying process.

On top of these, you’ll need to pay for any survey work done to the property in question. This is not a requirement, but the money you pay now can help save you money in the future if any defects are found.

The following is a breakdown of potential fees:

  • Solicitor fees – these fees might be set at a flat fee or a percentage of the sale price of the property you choose. On average, they can cost around €900 or 1% of the property price, plus VAT.
  • Mortgage valuation fees – if applicable, these fees can cost between €150-€200.
  • Stamp duty – 1% of the total property value.
  • Search fees – these will vary depending on the estate agent in question. On average, they can cost around €150
  • Land registry fees – these will depend on your chosen property’s location.
  • Notary fees – these will depend on the prices set by your chosen Commissioner of Oaths.
  • Survey fees – these will depend on the surveyor you choose, and the extent of the survey conducted.

Completing the buying process

With your selected property taken off the market and ready to be sold, the first thing you should do next is carry out a property survey. While a property survey isn’t necessary by law, sellers don’t legally have to inform you of any property defects either, meaning you could wind up paying more for your property down the line if repairs are needed.

It’s highly recommended you pay for a property survey to be carried out before final payment is made in order to find any potential defects that could be hidden from view, while also allowing you to potentially reduce the price further.

Once this survey has been carried out, you then need to pay your deposit and finalise the remaining steps associated with receiving your mortgage, as well as signing up for home insurance. Home insurance is required by law in Ireland before a mortgage can be granted, so you should look to organise this in tandem with your mortgage solution.

After completing these steps, you should have your solicitor check over the contract of sale to ensure it’s up to legal standards, at which point, you and the seller may sign it in the presence of your chosen Commissioner of Oaths.

Within this contract will be the completion date for any remaining payments and for the property handover. The balance of the agreed purchase price will be due on this date, giving you time for your solicitor to carry out the remaining legal necessities to ensure you receive what was agreed to in the contract.

The first step is known as the Requisitions on Title, which covers a check on property contents, followed by a Deed of Conveyance, which covers legality surrounding the property.

They’ll also check to make sure there are no judgements against the seller, such as bankruptcy, and that the seller has the right seller the property in question to begin with.

After all this, your solicitor will then talk to your mortgage provider and request the loan be approved. The remaining balance of the purchase price will be paid to the seller’s solicitor, and you’ll be given the keys to your brand-new property!

Other things to consider when buying property in Ireland

While the above process is relatively simple, there are, of course, a few nuances you should be aware of during and after the buying process so you can avoid any unnecessary pitfalls.

Firstly, once a sale is completed, you must register your property with the Registry of Deeds or Land Registry. Fortunately, this is not complex, and you can ask your solicitor for help.

Secondly, if at any point you’re unable to sign the necessary documents in person, you may grant your solicitor power of attorney, allowing them to sign the documents in your name.

Lastly, if you back out of a sales contract once it is signed, you will likely lose your deposit, so you must be sure you want the property you’ve chosen before you commit to signing a contract of sale.

With all that information to hand, you should now be able to begin the process of buying a house in Ireland with minimal issues. Buying property is never a straightforward process, but with the right assistance from your solicitor and international mortgage provider, you should be able to overcome any hurdles during the buying process.

Of course, here at Blacktower, we don’t just help expats move to Ireland. For those interested in moving abroad to another popular expat country, be sure to check out our locations page where we have plenty of information on countries across Europe and beyond.

We also provide plenty of information on all the nuances relating to moving abroad as an expat. For more information on this, you can browse our range of free guides or visit the Blacktower blog for further insights.

This communication is for informational purposes only, based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which is subject to change and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.


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