Before you begin your actual search for a property, it would be a good idea if you considered the following:
- Where would you prefer to live?
- What type of property would you like?
- What size should it be to best accommodate your needs for the foreseeable future?
- Would you prefer a more modern home or one with traditional character?
- What services and amenities do you require? (Schools, transport etc)
- What is your budget and how will you finance your purchase?
Especially if you are a first time buyer, it may be hard for you to answer some of these questions as you are probably not familiar with current property prices and values and what you can really afford. Because of our long experience in this field, we can guide you on proper current market values of properties (which may differ from, for example, architects' valuations on structural value), and we can show you the properties which would best fit your requirements and budget.
The more information you give us from the outset, the better we will be able to assist you to find what you are looking for.
Once we have found the property you were looking for, we will do our utmost to negotiate the best price possible for you, and a date and time is set for the signing of the pre sale agreement with your notary.
Before signing the pre sale agreement, be sure to confirm the following:
- The agreed price
- If the property is Freehold (no Ground Rent) or if there is Temporary or Perpetual Ground Rent
- What fixtures, fittings and pieces of furniture are included in the price?
- How is payment going to be effected (Do you need to apply for a loan?)
- Are there any works to be completed by the owner?
- What are the Terms of the promise of sale (Subject to loan, permit etc)?
- The Deposit, on account - Usually the deposit on account is the equivalent of 10% of the agreed purchase price, paid as a sign of goodwill by the purchaser and of their intention to appear on the final deed of purchase. Please note that ‘earnest' (not deposit on account) is less binding as neither party can oblige the other to appear on the final deed of purchase. The penalty is limited to the sum of the earnest.
When will the final deed be signed? A promise of sale agreement unless otherwise agreed, is valid for three months.
The deposit is forfeited in favour of the vendor if the purchaser does not appear on the final deed without a valid reason at law.
During the period between the pre-sale agreement and the final deed (the contract), there are a number of things which must be done.
- The Notary (employed by the purchaser) will, within 3 weeks of signing the promise of sale agreement, register the said
- agreement with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and pay 1% of the sale price on account of Duty due by the purchaser on the final deed of sale.
- The Notary will also carry out researches on the property and verifies clear legal title, assuring that there are no outstanding debts, hypothecs or liens on the property.
- The purchaser must honour all the conditions mentioned in the promise of sale agreement eg. Bank application for loan in good time, ascertaining that the property is covered by a building permit etc.
- The vendor in turn must honour all the conditions that are mentioned in the promise of sale, which apply to him or her eg. Completion of works agreed upon etc.
Once all the above steps have been completed, all parties get together to sign the final deed. Normally, the procedure is as follows:
- If a bank loan is required for the purchase, the final deed is signed at the bank.
- The contract of purchase is read out and if all is in order all the parties concerned sign it.
- The balance due, i.e. the purchase price less the deposit already paid when the convenium was signed, is paid to the vendor.
- The parties concerned pay all outstanding payments concerning the purchase. Eg. The vendor may settle any outstanding amount due to a bank as the final part of a loan settlement, as well as Capital Gains tax which may be due on the property, and the estate agent's fee if applicable.
- The purchaser will pay Stamp Duty, notarial fees and searches etc. Keys to the property are passed on to the purchaser.
- The notary public registers the contract at the public registry (and the land registry if applicable).
Stamp Duty on the purchase price must be paid as to 1% on signing of the preliminary agreement and the balance on signing of the final contract, together with the notarial fees and cost of searches.
When the property being purchased is to be used as purchaser's ordinary place of residence, stamp duty is charged at 3.5% on the first Lm30,000(€ 69,881) and 5% on any amount over Lm30,000(€ 69,881).
For any other property purchase, Stamp Duty is charged at 5% on the total value of the property.
No Stamp Duty is charged on the value of the movable property (furniture and fittings) being transferred with the immovable property.