Guide to Legal Search and Conveyancing in Ireland

Buying a house is an exciting time, but it’s also a big investment. The last thing you want to happen is find out after you’ve bought the property that there’s something you didn’t know about your purchase.

So before you put in an offer on any home, it’s important to do your homework and make sure that everything checks out. One of the most important things you can do when buying a house is checking for liens or judgments against the seller that may affect your ability to get financing or register ownership of the property.

This process is called doing a legal search (also referred as ‘lien search’) and it involves making sure there aren’t any outstanding claims against the title of the property being sold (or any mortgages attached to it). You’ll need this information when applying for mortgage financing so be sure not skip this step!

Doing a Legal Search Is an Essential Part of Buying a House in Ireland

Doing a legal search is an essential part of buying a house in Ireland. But it can b confusing, boring and frustrating if you don’t have a legal background.

The contract between buyer and seller is signed by both parties and witnessed. The buyer will also sign a transfer deed with their solicitor, which details where they want to live in Ireland and how they want their property to be transferred into their name.

The completion statement, which confirms that both parties have fulfilled all legal requirements for completion of sale, is signed by both parties’ solicitors at least one week before the completion date.

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

If you’re purchasing a property, it can take anywhere from 1-3 months depending on the type of property and the buyer. Conveyancing is usually completed within 3 months of being instructed by a buyer.

However, it can take longer if there are complications or disputes involved in your purchase. It may also take longer if you are buying a house in a remote location which requires special attention and effort to inspect before closing the deal.

What Are Costs of Conveyancing?

The costs of conveyancing depend on the value of the property. In general, it’s usually the buyer who pays for these costs and not the seller (unless they are a private seller). If you’re buying from a developer, then it is likely that you will be responsible for paying these fees.

The different types of conveyancers charge different rates for their services. Some may charge by time spent working on your file while others may charge an hourly rate or both. An experienced legal professional will be able to tell you how much they expect to earn from your case before they accept it as a client so that there are no surprises later down the line!

What Is a Legal Search?

A legal search is a search of the public records, including land registry deeds, mortgages, leases and other agreements affecting property in Ireland.

If a property contains a tenancy agreement (as most houses do) or if it has been mortgaged by an existing owner then this information must be disclosed on the title plan during your conveyancing process.

The purpose of the legal search is to check for any outstanding debts or legal claims against the property that you are buying. These may include:

  • An unpaid mortgage
  • A high court judgment for money owed
  • A local authority rent arrears payment order

Should You Hire a Legal Searcher If You Have a Solicitor?

You should always get a legal searcher if you have a solicitor. This is because the legal search will give you a comprehensive report on the history of the property and its surroundings, including any historical problems that may exist in relation to flooding or poor drainage.

If you don’t have a solicitor, it is still well worth getting your own independent legal search such as Ellis & Ellis. A good conveyance lawyer will be able to ensure that this is done properly, but even if they do not do it themselves, they should be able to recommend someone who can perform one for you as part of their service.

Before you buy a house, it’s important to understand the process of conveyancing and why doing a legal search is so important.

A conveyancer will prepare your contract for sale and/or purchase, which includes all the documents required by law to transfer ownership of the property. They will also advise you on other legal matters such as how much stamp duty you need to pay and how much deposit is needed if they’re involved in your purchase.

Once you have completed the purchase, you may want to consider hiring a property manager.


We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of conveyancing and legal searches. If you’re looking to make a successful home purchase in Ireland, it’s important that know how the process works so that you can make informed decisions about your next move.

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