Selling and Buying Residential Property on the Same Day: Why This Is Not Recommended

Selling and Buying Residential Property on the Same Day: Why This Is Not Recommended

Many people involved in selling their home and purchasing a new property understandably assume that all of this can be achieved in one day. In a perfect world, this would be ideal, not to mention cost-effective, time-saving, and less stressful. Or is it?

In the “old” days, conveyancing was undoubtedly considerably simpler. There were fewer criteria to fulfill, both regarding mortgages and the drawdown of loan funds, and the legal process in general. Unfortunately, in the current climate, with mortgage conditions more difficult to meet and a greater tightening of the reins by both banks and the Law Society, what used to be a matter of course is now extremely difficult to achieve.

Attempting to close a sale and a purchase on the same day puts a great deal of stress on the links of what is likely to be an already very tight chain. One slip by one of many parties, and the whole structure can come apart.

Delays can occur in many aspects of the transaction.  The purchaser buying your property may have last minute issues with drawing down their own loan funds. If this is delayed by even one day then the whole deal collapses; they cannot move into your property and as a result, you cannot move into your new home.  Quite possibly, the vendor selling the property to you then cannot move on themselves and so the chain disintegrates.  Indeed if you too are relying on the timely drawdown of loan funds for your onward purchase then this also adds to the stress and possibility of collapse.

Ideally, therefore, if you can come to terms with the idea of selling your property in advance of signing a contract on your new home, you are in a considerably better position for a number of reasons:

  • you are considered a “cash” purchaser which is of greater appeal to a vendor who may give precedence to your offer rather than another purchaser who has to rely on drawing down a mortgage;
  • you are under less pressure to place an offer on a home that you may not have fully considered – juggling offers on your current home with placing offers on your new home may lead to you to making decisions you may regret in the future;
  • selling and buying your home can be highly emotionally charged. Having a break between the two gives you time to recharge your  batteries and refocus.

Of course, given the current rental market, you will not always have the luxury of being able to do the above.  However, you should be prepared to seek alternative accommodation from a couple of days to up to a number of weeks to allow for any pitfalls which may occur between the sale of your old house and the purchase of your new one.  You should also budget for storage of your property during this period.

Please note whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of the above article it is not to be construed as legal or taxation advice nor does it purport to be so. Specific tailored advice is required for every specific scenario. Amorys Solicitors LLP is a boutique commercial and private client law firm in Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland.
For further information and advice in relation to “Selling and Buying Residential Property on the Same Day“, please contact Wendy Scales, Legal Executive at Amorys Solicitors LLP, telephone 01 213 5940 or your usual contact at Amorys.

Re-Mortgaging a Property in Ireland

Re-Mortgaging a Property in Ireland

The process of re-mortgaging is very often perceived in Ireland as a difficult process that may not be worth the hassle. This perception often arises from the experience of moving homes which people will often find to be a stressful experience. Re-mortgaging however can be a much more straight-forward experience.

With the current significant increase in the cost of living and current lower rates which the pillar banks have been offering, re-mortgaging may lead to significant monthly savings.

The vast majority of the work to be undertaken will be carried out by your solicitor who will take up your title deeds from your current lender, investigate title and arrange for the drawing down of your new mortgage as well as discharging the old mortgage. Typically, clients would be required to attend at our offices for the purpose of a re-mortgage on one occasion only to execute the necessary documentation.

It is also noteworthy, that whilst interest rates in Ireland are currently the second highest in the Eurozone, they have fallen dramatically in recent times. Arising from the decrease in rates and the entrance of new lenders into the market, the savings that can be made on the monthly repayments for a typical Dublin mortgage can be significant. From a financial viewpoint, there has never been a more opportune time to review your mortgage.

At Amorys, we will look after the majority of the process on your behalf. We have a large residential property department and have been providing legal advice in relation to residential property for in excess of thirty years. We offer fixed fee rates in relation to re-mortgaging.

If you would like any further information in relation to re-mortgaging or in relation to our residential property services then please contact Brian Kirwan at, telephone 01 213 5940 or your usual contact at Amorys.

Consequences Of Purchasing A Property Involving A Gift

Is Revenue Looking Your Gift Horse In The Mouth?

Important information for those receiving a gift towards the purchase of their property

If you’re lucky enough to be receiving a gift towards the purchase of your new home or property it is very important that you read the following from start to finish. It contains valuable information in relation to tax implications and other matters which may arise as a result of your windfall.

My parents are giving me €100,000 towards the purchase of my new home which is costing €500,000.  Am I not entitled to receive a straightforward gift from my own family to help us out?

If you are buying your property as sole owner and the gift is from parent to child, then, assuming you have received no prior gifts or inheritances from your parents, €100,000 falls well under the current tax-free threshold amount for gifts/inheritances between parents and children (otherwise known as capital acquisitions tax – CAT) and there will be no CAT payable by you. However, you are obliged to inform Revenue, as any gift to you during your parents’ lifetime will be deducted from your inheritance tax-free allowance on their death. There are exceptions to this however, for example when a certain amount of time has elapsed since the gift was made. Please see HERE for tax thresholds and other information in relation to CAT.

My spouse is purchasing this property jointly with me. Isn’t it up to me whether or not my spouse will benefit from the gift?

Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as a free lunch! As potential joint owners, your spouse will own 50% of the property you are purchasing. Consequently, in the case described above, your spouse would be considered to be receiving the benefit of 50% of the gift from your parents (i.e. €50,000).

Despite being their daughter or son-in-law, your spouse is considered to be a “stranger in blood” to your parents. This status falls under the Group C threshold – currently only €16,250.

Therefore, subject to the small gift exemption which may apply to the gift, your spouse will be liable for tax (currently at the rate of 33%) on the balance, i.e:

€50,000, less threshold of €16,250 = €33,750.

This figure equates to a whopping tax bill of €11,137.50 for your spouse which no doubt would be far better spent on your new home.

If, however, your spouse can prove that he or she contributed an equal amount to the gift out of their own money directly towards the purchase, then this could be used to offset your gift and the property can be owned on a 50/50 joint tenancy basis. Your spouse would however have to demonstrate this by corresponding banking transactions.

But we are a married couple – isn’t any gift between us tax-free?

In the normal course of events, a married couple can “gift” any amount of money or assets from one to another without any liability to tax. In this case, however, Revenue will view the gift as being a direct benefit from parent to daughter or son-in-law.  It is only after a period of three years following the gift that a spouse may benefit under a husband to wife scenario. This is called the rule against gift splitting.

Therefore, if the gift was given to you say two years ago and you were to wait a further year before purchasing a house together, in that case, there would be no tax liability for your spouse.

We want to buy our house now – is there anything we can do to avoid a large tax bill?

Yes.  You can opt to purchase your property as “tenants-in-common” (as opposed to a joint tenancy) in proportionate shares which take into account the percentage of the purchase price constituted by the gift. As tenants in common, this does however mean that, in theory, either party is entitled to dispose of their share of the property either by selling it or bequeathing it to a third party under their Will without your consent. This means that if you do acquire the property as tenants in common it would be extremely important for each of you to make a Will specifically stating how your share in the property should pass to the surviving owner on your death.

After the three year period has elapsed, as you are married, you will then be entitled to transfer the property into your joint names as joint tenants with no liability to capital acquisitions tax or capital gains tax, assuming you are both living together. Once registered as such in the Land Registry, on the death of either spouse the other will automatically inherit the deceased’s share with no tax consequences and sale of the property cannot take place without the other’s consent under any circumstances.

How is the tenancy in common calculated?

Using the figures referred to above, your spouse’s €50,000 share equates to 10% of the purchase price. Therefore, ownership of the property as tenants-in-common would be on a 45%/55% basis in favour of the spouse who received the gift.

Read more about this topic HERE.

We are co-habitants and may or may not marry in the future – what about us?

As co-habitants you are unfortunately currently still considered to be “strangers in blood” in the eyes of the Revenue. When purchasing your property, you can however avail of the “tenants-in-common” scenario described above.

I have received the gift from somebody other than a parent – what then?

This will undoubtedly result in significant tax liability for you as the direct beneficiary. Please refer to the Revenue’s website for further information. As regards your spouse, however, the situation as outlined above will remain the same.

Can we not just accept the gift as a “loan” and avoid all of this?

If you decide to treat it as a personal loan and repay the money to your parents/ benefactor over a period of time, then yes, it can be considered a loan. However, if you are availing of a mortgage to purchase your property, your lender will require evidence of how you received the money and how you intend paying it back without jeopardising your ability to discharge the monthly mortgage payments. Sometimes, a lender will require a commitment from you that the loan from your parents will not be paid back until after the mortgage loan has been repaid in full.

How do we go about transferring the property into joint names after the three year period is up?

This is a fairly simple and inexpensive matter which can be done by your solicitor. A deed will be drawn up, transferring the property between you both as joint tenants by way of “natural love and affection” and registering the document in the Land Registry. As you are spouses, there is no stamp duty and no registration fees are payable to the Land Registry. Furthermore, as set out above, there will be no capital gains tax on the transfer of the property provided you and your spouse are living together under the same roof at the time of the transfer.

My parents are selling their house to me/us at a reduced price – does this also constitute a gift?

Yes, it does and it is treated the same as if it were a cash advance. A valuation of the property must be carried out by a registered professional at the time of the sale stating the full market value at that date. You are entitled to obtain a number of valuations and select the lowest value applied to the property, assuming it is not inordinately low. The difference between the sale price and the valuation constitutes the gift amount. It should be also be noted that stamp duty is payable on the full market value.

So now that we have got over that bombshell, is there anything else we need to know about when receiving a gift towards purchasing our property?

Yes!  There is one further matter which relates to the title to your property which must be addressed.

If you are availing of a mortgage, your benefactor (the person or persons giving the gift) is obliged to sign a Deed of Confirmation. This document confirms that they will have absolutely no right over or interest in the property, either real or financial on foot of their gift to you. In other words, they cannot at some point in the future say “hey, wait a minute, I gave you €100,000 towards buying that house – I own one-fifth of it” (or something along those lines!).

As part of our undertaking to your lender, we must be able to give them comfort that when it comes to the title to your property, you and your spouse as mortgagors are the only persons entitled to ownership and, in the unlikely event that the lender were to re-possess the property there will be nothing (or nobody) impeding this.

A Deed of Confirmation is not the same as a gift letter (which will likely already have been signed by your parents). It will require attendance by your parent/s at the office of an independent solicitor who will witness the signing of the Deed and provide us with a letter confirming that independent legal advice was given. If the gift is coming from one parent only then their spouse will be required to sign a consent to the giving of the gift.

This will attract fees for you/your parents which will need to be borne in mind. You should advise your benefactor of this requirement and satisfy yourself that they are agreeable to do so before you sign contracts to purchase your property.

Please note whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of the above article it is not to be construed as legal or taxation advice nor does it purport to be so. Specific tailored advice is required for every specific scenario. Amorys Solicitors is a boutique commercial and private client law firm in Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland.
For further information and advice in relation to “Consequences Of Purchasing A Property Involving A Gift”, please contact Wendy Scales, Legal Executive at Amorys Solicitors, telephone 01 213 5940 or your usual contact at Amorys.

Conveyancing Clients’ Competition

Conveyancing Clients’ Competition

Become one of our next 50 conveyancing clients starting today (1st day of November 2020) (“entry date”) and have a chance to win a super cash prize of€750! Good luck to all participating clients!

Question: What do you have to do to enter the competition?

Answer: Comply with the entry criteria as follows:-

  1. Instruct Amorys to act on your behalf in the sale or purchase of a house, duplex or apartment.
  2. Complete the sale or purchase in the normal way.
  3. Discharge Amorys’ fees and outlay as agreed.
  4. Provide the correct answers to 3 questions which we will send to you by email after your sale/purchase has been completed. All entrants will be asked the same questions.
  5. Await the result of the competition.

Conditions and Additional Information

  • If your sale or purchase does not proceed for any reason, you will not be eligible to participate in the competition.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, there is only one prize of €750. Joint sellers/purchasers will have to share the spoils!
  • The draw amongst successful participants (i.e. everyone who satisfies the entry criteria) will take place 14 days subsequent to completion of the 50th new sale and purchase agreed with clients subsequent to the Entry Date. Your Entry Date will be the date you sign and return your Letter of Engagement to Amorys. For obvious reasons, we cannot give any commitment as to when the draw will take place.
  • The draw will be conducted by one of our solicitors who will randomly pick the name/s of the lucky winner from a box containing the name/s and contact details of all eligible participants. An independent observer will supervise the draw.
  • We will notify the winner by phone and email immediately subsequent to the draw.
  • The prize will be paid immediately by EFT to your bank account or by cheque as the winner may direct.
  • Our Letter of Engagement will contain an opt-out option for any client who does not wish to participate in the competition. All other clients will automatically be entered in the competition in the absence of ticking the opt-out option. By accepting the prize the winner/s grants Amorys the right to use and publish his/her name in such media as Amorys may choose (including but not limited to the internet) for advertising and promotional purposes without additional consideration.
  • A copy of our Data Protection Policy can be found here.
Amorys Solicitors is a boutique commercial and private client law firm in Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland.
For further information and advice in relation to “Conveyancing Clients’ Competition”, please contact Deirdre Farrell, partner, Amorys Solicitors, telephone 01 213 5940 or your usual contact at Amorys.

Urban Development & Building Heights in Strategic Development Zones

Since the issue of the Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in December 2018 (the “Guidelines”), land owners and developers are understandably anxious to know how these guidelines will apply to proposed developments of land, the subject of planning applications. The below case note sets out when a planning authority is required to apply the Guidelines and offers a solution for developers of sites for residential use in SDZs where the Guidelines have not yet been implemented.

The High Court case of Spencer Place Development Limited –v- Dublin City Council [2019   IEHC 384] concerned the interpretation of the statutory Guidelines. Judgment was handed down by Justice Garrett Simons in May 2019 and dealt with the central issue in the case regarding the interaction between the Guidelines and existing planning schemes adopted in strategic development zones (SDZs).

The main contention in the case concerned Dublin City Council’s interpretation of a particular provision of the Guidelines known as specific planning policy requirement 3 (A) or “SPPR3 (A)” in the context of the consideration of planning applications already submitted to it. The Guidelines were issued by the Minister pursuant to s. 28 of the Planning & Development Act 2000 (“Section 28”). A planning authority is required, under Section 28 to have regard to ministerial guidelines and to comply with specific planning policy requirements. The question was whether SPPR 3(A) applied to plan schemes where it stated it applied to ‘development plans’ only. A Briefing Note on the Guidelines prepared by Dublin City Planning Officer stated that SPPR 3(A) did not apply to the development proposed for a planning scheme area.


The plaintiff developer had two pending planning applications before Dublin City Council where the height of the development would exceed the maximum building height under the applicable planning scheme. The developer argued that the Guidelines permitted the planning authority to legally grant the planning permission despite the height restrictions of the North Lotts planning scheme. The court was asked to make a declaration firstly that the Briefing Note of 21 January 2019 was ultra vires or outside the powers of Dublin City Council Planning Authority and secondly, that the Council was obliged to apply SPPR 3 (A) of the Guidelines from the date of their publication in December 2018 and prior to undertaking any review of the North Lotts and Grand Canal Planning Scheme.

SPPR3 provides as follows:-

“It is a specific planning policy requirement that where;


  1. an applicant for planning permission sets out how a development proposal complies with the criteria above; and
  2. the assessment of the planning authority concurs, taking account of the wider strategic and national policy parameters set out in the National Planning Framework and these guidelines; then the planning authority may approve such development, even where specific objectives of the relevant development plan or local area plan may indicate otherwise.


In the case of an adopted planning scheme, the Development Agency in conjunction with the relevant planning authority (where different) shall,  upon the coming into force of these guidelines, undertake a review of the planning scheme, utilising the relevant mechanisms as set out in the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) to ensure that the criteria above are fully reflected in the planning scheme. In particular, the Government policy that building heights be generally increased in appropriate urban locations shall be articulated in any amendment(s) to the planning scheme


In respect of planning schemes approved after the coming into force of these guidelines, these are not required to be reviewed.”

The defendant Dublin City Council argued that the judicial review proceedings brought by the developer were premature as while both planning application decisions were pending there was, therefore, no ‘decision’ or ‘act’ that could be the subject of judicial review and that the ordinary meaning must be given to the word ‘development plan’ in SPPR3(A) above. Arising from the application of the ‘ordinary meaning’ test for interpretation, and after having considered the full text of SPPR3, DCC argued that all the guidelines required it to do, was undertake a review of the planning scheme in accordance with SPPR3 (B): SPPR3 did not necessarily require a Planning Authority to amend the planning scheme to incorporate increased building heights, DCC argued.  The developer contended that the Briefing Note issued by the City Council Planning Officer regarding his interpretation of the building height guidelines was ‘justiciable’.


Justice Simons refused to grant Spencer Place Development Limited its three declarations and held in favour of DCC.


This judgment is of interest to developers as it highlights the following:-

  1. Where an amendment to a planning scheme is pending, a planning application will be decided upon by reference to the existing planning scheme.
  2. The building height restrictions of an existing planning scheme within an SDZ cannot be circumvented by reference to the Guidelines.
  3. It clarifies that a planning authority is required to apply the Guidelines when assessing planning applications outside an SDZ. This means that one possible solution for a developer, when faced with a refusal of planning permission in an SDZ on grounds of building heights, might be to apply for permission for the same development under the fast-track Strategic Housing Development process. This is because the relevant legislation[1] does not differentiate between property located in a development plan, a local area plan or a planning scheme. However, the proposed development would need to consist of at least 100 residential units or 200 student units or a combination of both.
  4. Developers are also reminded that there is no right to appeal a decision to refuse planning permission in an SDZ on grounds that an extant planning scheme did not incorporate subsequently issued SPPRs.
  5. Whilst the subject of costs formed a separate judgment of Simons J. this case also demonstrates the requirement for a plaintiff developer to await a decision from the planning authority prior to issuing judicial review proceedings. It was held by Simons J. in a further judgment delivered in the costs application that the developer was unable to make the argument that both parties should bear their own costs pursuant to s. 50B of the Planning & Development Act 2000 by reason of the finding (amongst others) that the Briefing Note did not amount to a ‘decision’ capable of forming judicial review under that section. Simons J made an order directing the plaintiff to discharge DCC’s costs under the ordinary rule set out in Order 99 of the Rules of the Superior Courts that costs follow the event/ the winner at the absolute discretion of the Court.

The Irish Times has reported that the developer has appealed the substantive decision of Judge Simons to the Court of Appeal.  The appeal could also affect the costs order. In addition, DCC has proposed an amendment to the planning scheme which would increase building height restrictions in the North Lotts and Grand Canal SDZ. We will update this note as soon as the decision in the appeal has been published.

[1] See the definition of ‘Strategic Housing Development’ in s. 3 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2014

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, it has been provided for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Amorys Solicitors is a boutique commercial and private client law firm in Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland.
For further information and advice in relation to “Urban Development & Building Heights in Strategic Development Zones”, please contact Deirdre Farrell, partner, Amorys Solicitors or Daragh Burke, telephone 01 213 5940 or your usual contact at Amorys.

Selling Residential Property in Ireland via Amorys Solicitors

Selling Residential Property via Amorys Solicitors

What are you paying us to do?

When selling residential property you will be required to work in conjunction with your solicitor at Amorys throughout the conveyancing progress. There is certain information only you can provide and if this is done in a timely fashion this will enable the transaction to move forward smoothly for you as the vendor and for the purchaser.

Prior to drawing up contracts, in addition to information gathered from you, the vendor, your solicitor will need to read the title deeds and prepare various documents to provide to the purchaser’s solicitor so that he/she can provide the purchaser with a full picture of the property they are buying.

The steps of selling residential property are as follows:

  1. If there is a mortgage over the property, you will sign a letter of authority which will be sent to your lender by us in order to take up the title deeds. You will also be furnished with an introductory letter, a comprehensive questionnaire and our Guide to Selling Residential Property which attaches a checklist of the documents/ actions required from you.
  2. Once received, your solicitor will read the title documentation in conjunction with the replies to your questionnaire and the following documents will be drawn up:
    • Draft Contract for Sale
    • Replies to Requisitions on Title
    • Family Home Protection Act Declaration
    • Section 72 Declaration
    • Declaration re alterations (if any) to your property
    • Undertaking to discharge your mortgage – if applicable
    • Undertaking to assist with any Land Registry queries which may arise
    • Any other declarations or undertakings which may be required by the purchaser’s solicitor
    • Tax clearance application (if necessary)
  3. If your property is a managed property, enquiries will need to be made with the management company and Multi-Unit Development (MUDs) Act replies to requisitions obtained. In addition, if you are selling an apartment, your solicitor will need to obtain various additional documents from the management company such as an up to date service charge statement and a letter of indemnity in relation to the block insurance policy, all of which must be handed over to the purchaser’s solicitor well in advance of the closing date.
  4. Your solicitor may also need to obtain a letter from the Local Authority confirming the roads and services abutting your property have been taken in charge and a certified copy Folio and Filed Plan from the Land Registry. There may also be planning issues to be dealt with in relation to any alterations or extensions to the property. Further work arises, if your property is the subject of any type of co-ownership agreement with the local council. If your property is registered in the Registry of Deeds, then your solicitor will need to liaise with an architect to provide an approved map for handing over to the purchaser’s solicitor for the purpose of an application for first registration in the Land Registry.
  5. Your solicitor will regularly liaise with you with regard to obtaining other information from you such as Local Property Tax payment and printout, service charge payment and any other queries which may arise via the purchaser’s solicitor.
  6. Your solicitor will need to obtain regularly updated redemption figures from your lender showing the amount required to discharge the loan over your property. This information will be provided to the purchaser’s solicitor prior to the closing date and will also be required to enable your solicitor to discharge the mortgage in full immediately after the sale has completed.
  7. Prior to contracts being signed and exchanged, the purchaser’s solicitor very often raises pre-contract queries which we will deal on your behalf. This may involve some ‘to-ing and fro-ing’ between solicitors until the purchaser and their solicitor are satisfied with the replies.
  8. The purchaser will then sign the contract in duplicate and his/her solicitor will return same with the balance of the deposit to us.
  9. Prior to the closing date, your solicitor will meet with you for the purpose of signing the closing documents referred to. Your solicitor will also need to prepare an apportionment account in relation to Local Property Tax and service charges (if appropriate).
  10. Just before the transaction completes, all title documents, together with the additional closing documents, will be sent to the purchaser’s solicitor. The balance of the purchase moneys will be received into our client account to be held on trust pending a successful completion.
  11. On the closing date, the purchaser’s solicitor will obtain searches which will be transmitted to us for an explanation (if necessary) and certification.


  1. Once the sale has closed, we will be required to do the following:
    • Discharge all mortgages/loans over the property to your lender
    • Provide you with a cash statement showing all required financial transactions
    • Follow up with the relevant party and discharge any undertakings given to the purchaser’s solicitor
    • Once received, send e-discharge relating to your mortgage to the purchaser’s solicitor
    • Follow up with purchaser’s solicitor to release us from undertakings

The selling residential property procedures above are a simplified version of the conveyancing process. A conveyancing transaction requires many hours of work for your solicitor and every sale is different but all conveyancing cases have one thing in common – they all need the care and attention to detail that only comes from instructing an experienced professional.  We provide excellent value for money to our clients and are confident that we provide a highly competitive and first-class service.

Red Adair once said .. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”!

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, it has been provided for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Amorys Solicitors is a boutique commercial and private client law firm in Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland.
For further information and advice in relation to “Selling Residential Property in Ireland”, please contact Deirdre Farrell, partner, Amorys Solicitors, telephone 01 213 5940 or your usual contact at Amorys.

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