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There are no restrictions towards foreign nationals buying a property in Ireland and the property market is sophisticated akin to other western European nations. Once you have completed your property search and evaluated a property that you wish to buy you will need to contact the estate agent that is representing the sellers property and request a viewing.

Providing that you are happy with the viewing and you have the finances in place, you will need to make an offer on the property. You will likely want to confirm with the estate agent whether there has been an offer made previously and whether the seller would be prepared to reduce their price. They will be able to advise you on what you should offer should you not wish to pay the full asking price. Your offer will not be legally binding even if it is accepted at this stage, and you should ensure that the offer is "subject to survey".

You maybe requested to pay a deposit of a couple of thousand Euros in order to confirm that you are serious about purchasing the property, but this is not always necessary. If the sale does not go ahead, the deposit would be refundable. Even at this stage the seller is not legally bound to sell the property to the buyer and they may take additional offers. If a higher offer is received, the seller could accept this and sever ties with the original buyer. This practice is known as gazumping and it is a recognised failing of the property purchase procedure in Ireland.

It is advisable to conduct a survey in order to ascertain the condition of the property. If problems are found in the survey it is common to request the seller to reduce the price or request that they fix the problems prior to exchanging sale contracts.

Once the buyers finance is in place, it will be necessary for them to employ a solicitor to complete the purchase process. The buyer’s solicitor will arrange a date with the seller’s solicitor on which the contract will be formally executed and will check the contract terminology and any legal issues relating to the property. Should the search come back clear, a date will be set on which both seller and buyer will execute the contracts and the sale will be legally binding.

The seller will be required to pay a 10% deposit, which will be refunded back if the seller defaults or retained by the seller if the buyer defaults.

On the date that you are due to exchange contracts, you will need to attend the solicitor’s office with a bankers draft for the remainder of the purchase price and once the contract has been executed, the sale will be complete.

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