Make a realistic estimate of your current property’s resale value.
Calculate all the costs involved in your proposed purchase – most people become consumed with the monthly mortgage repayments and the associated expenses involved in closing the sale. But remember to include the running costs of your purchase, including lighting, heating, service charges, property taxes or general maintenance.
If the building is in an area with planning restrictions, or it is a listed or protected structure, can you make the renovations you want? Check this with an architect or quantity surveyor before you buy.
Check the quality of any home improvements
Look at the history of the management company
Look out for anti-social behaviour.
Check with your local authority on the plans for the area you are proposing to buy in.
Always have a survey carried out by a qualified architect/engineer or surveyor.
Make sure your loan offer does not lapse prior to the completion of your purchase.
Decide on whether you want a fixed or variable rate mortgage.
Get rid of existing debt, if you can. Banks want to see that you have enough disposable income to repay the mortgage if interest rates rise.
Clean up your credit rating. It is assessed over two years (at least).
Tidy up your current account. Your records will be scrutinised for a minimum of six months.
If you’re in negative equity you can still get a mortgage but it’ll be hard.
Get your life cover in order. Mortgage protection is compulsory and medical evidence can take time to underwrite.
If you’re buying new, get accurate estimates of completion from the developer.
On a chain gang? If you’re caught in a seller-buyer-seller triangle, the purchase may take longer than expected. A good solicitor and estate agent will smooth the passage and ensure that your move in/out time is clearly agreed.
Organise all your paperwork. If your property has a separate septic tank, make sure it is registered and check whether the septic tank and percolation area are inside your site boundary. Make sure any rights of ways are correctly shown on your property. Ensure all planning permissions and building certificates are to hand for alterations and extensions. Explore carefully whether the property has any development potential. Carry out a Building Energy Rating Assessment – these need to be updated every 10 years and cost approximately €150.
If you’re selling a second house, make sure your NPPR (tax for second homes that preceded property tax) is paid up to date and that your property tax is up to date. Ensure all household charges and water charges have been discharged.
Don’t follow the herd; people traditionally sell in autumn and spring but demand is constant and less seasonal than it once was. It may work to your advantage to sell off-peak when there are fewer new properties and less competition on the market
Instruct your solicitor and agree their fee – these vary hugely in amount and in structure. Ask for recommendations from people you trust.
Make sure your solicitor looks for your property deeds from your mortgage company as this can be a source of long delay. If you don’t have a mortgage, make sure the solicitor examines your property deeds to see if they are in order.
You have eight seconds to make that all-important good first impression. Make sure you have ‘curb appeal’ by sprucing up your front garden and entrance. Trim the grass, fix peeling paint and make your windows sparkle. Clean the gutters so there’s no greenery growing out of them.
Consider renting a storage unit – with luck it will only be needed for a few months
Do the repairs you have always meant to – it will be worth several multiples of the cost on the price.
Try to look at your house with fresh eyes. Make sure each room has a use and a purpose – make a wasted space into a study, put a cot in to a tiny box room, a dining table in that second downstairs room you never use. Get rid of bulky furniture and make sure that the circulation and flow through the house is seamless.
Indoor plants are cheaper than flowers.
Avoid showing a house without furniture, you’re selling a potential home.
Putting your house on the market just before you go on holiday is the ideal time – it will stay tidy and be available for viewers at all times.