Do I need a Survey?

Do I need to have a survey of property done?

Buying a property is a significant investment, and it is essential to ensure that you make an informed decision. A property survey is an important step in the buying process, as it can uncover potential problems or defects that may not be visible to the untrained eye. In this article, we’ll explore why a survey is advisable before purchasing a property in Ireland, when to have a survey carried out, and what happens if problems are discovered after the purchase.

Why a survey is advisable?

A property survey is an assessment of the condition of a property carried out by a qualified professional such as an architect, engineer or surveyor. The survey will examine the structural integrity of the property, as well as its condition, including any defects or issues that may need to be addressed. A survey can also identify any potential problems with the property’s heating, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Having a survey carried out can help you make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with the purchase of a property. If problems or defects are identified during the survey, you can use this information to negotiate the price of the property or to request that the seller address the issues before the sale is completed.

When should I have the survey carried out?

It is advisable to have a survey carried out before you sign a contract to purchase a property. This will give you the opportunity to identify any potential problems before you commit to the sale. It is also worth noting that some surveyors may not be available at short notice, so it is important to book a survey as early as possible in the buying process.

Does a bank valuation not cover these things?

It is important to note that a bank valuation is not the same as a property survey. A bank valuation is an assessment of the value of a property, usually carried out by a valuer appointed by the bank. The valuation is intended to confirm that the property is worth the amount that you are borrowing.

While a bank valuation may identify some issues with a property, it is not a comprehensive assessment of the property’s condition. A survey, on the other hand, is a detailed examination of the property’s condition and can identify potential problems that may need to be addressed.

What happens if problems are discovered after a property is purchased?

The principle of Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) applies to property transactions. Therefore if problems are discovered after a property is purchased in most cases, a purchaser will have no recourse against the Vendor. The purchaser would be responsible to rectify any defects or structural issues with the property. The exception to this would be in cases where the Vendor has misled you.


Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is a scheme available in Ireland aimed at encouraging property owners to renovate vacant and derelict buildings. The grant is administered by the local authority and can provide up to €50,000 in funding to cover renovation costs..

To apply for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, there are several steps that property owners must follow. First, they must obtain an application form and submit it to the local authority along with an estimate of costs.  The local authority will then carry out an initial assessment to determine whether the property is eligible for the grant.

Once the application has been approved, the property owner can begin the renovation work. The local authority will monitor progress and may carry out inspections to ensure that the work is being carried out to the required standard. Once the work is complete, the property owner must provide evidence of the costs incurred, and the local authority will release the grant funding.

It is important to note that there are certain conditions attached to the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant. For example, the property owner must commit to using the property as their principal private residence for a minimum of five years following the completion of the renovation work. Failure to meet this condition may result in the grant funding being clawed back.

Amount of Grant

The maximum payment for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is €30,000. However, if the property is deemed to be derelict, an additional top-up payment of up to €20,000 may be awarded, bringing the total grant amount to €50,000. This additional top-up payment is intended to encourage the renovation of properties that have fallen into a state of serious disrepair and require more extensive work to make them habitable again.

Upcoming Changes to the Grant.

From 1 May 2023, the grant will be extended to:

  • Vacant properties built before 2007. (The grant is currently for properties built before 1993.)
  • People who want to rent out the vacant properties when they are refurbished.

Qualifying Criteria

To qualify for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your home must have been vacant for 2 years or more.
  • Your home must have been built before 1993. (From 1 May 2023, homes built before 2007 will qualify.)
  • You must own the home, or be in the process of buying it.
  • You must live in the property as your principal private residence when the work is completed. (From 1 May 2023, the grant will be extended to people who want to rent out the property when it has been refurbished.)
  • You must have tax clearance from Revenue and your tax affairs must be in order.
  • You must have paid your local property tax, if applicable.
  • You must not have already got funding under the grant.

Overall, the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is an excellent opportunity for property owners to breathe new life into vacant buildings. By following the application process and meeting the necessary conditions, property owners can access up to €50,000 in funding to cover renovation costs and make their properties fit for purpose once again.


How do I choose a solicitor for my property?


Buying or selling a property is a significant financial transaction that involves a lot of legal documentation and procedures. To ensure a smooth and successful transaction, it’s essential to have a competent and reliable solicitor by your side. A solicitor is a legal professional who can specialise in property law and can guide you through the legalities of buying or selling a property. However, with so many solicitors out there, how do you choose the right one for your needs?

  1. Look for a specialist in property law

The first thing to consider when choosing a solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property is their area of expertise. Not all solicitors specialise in property law, and you want to find someone who has experience in this area. Look for a solicitor who has a track record of handling property transactions and has a good understanding of property law. The solicitor who recently represented a family member defending a road traffic matter might not always be the best deal with property matters

2. Consider their experience

Experience is an important factor to consider when choosing a solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property. Look for a solicitor who has handled similar transactions in the past and has experience dealing with the specific type of property you’re buying or selling. A solicitor with a proven track record can provide you with valuable guidance and advice throughout the transaction

3. Look for someone who communicates well

Good communication is essential when working with a solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property. You want to find someone who is responsive, proactive, and keeps you informed throughout the process. Look for a solicitor who communicates clearly and concisely and is available to answer your questions and concerns.

4. Consider their fees

Another important factor to consider when choosing a solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property is their fees. Solicitors’ fees can vary widely, and it’s important to understand what you’ll be paying for and how much it will cost. Look for a solicitor who is transparent about their fees and provides you with a clear breakdown of the costs involved.

While the cost of a solicitor’s services is an important factor to consider when choosing a solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property, it should not be the only deciding factor. Picking a solicitor based solely on price can lead to a suboptimal experience, and potentially harm your transaction.

A solicitor who offers significantly lower fees than their competitors may be inexperienced or may cut corners, which can cause problems and delays during the transaction. It’s also essential to be aware of any hidden fees, as these can quickly add up and make the overall cost more expensive.

On the other hand, a solicitor who charges high fees does not necessarily guarantee the best quality of service or expertise. It’s important to consider the solicitor’s experience, credentials, and reputation in addition to their fees.

5. Read reviews and testimonials

Finally, it’s always a good idea to read reviews and testimonials from past clients when choosing a solicitor. Look for a solicitor who has positive reviews and a good reputation in the industry. You can check reviews on the solicitor’s website, Google reviews, or other review platforms.

6. Get recommendations from friends and family

Seeking recommendations from friends or family can be a helpful way to identify potential solicitors for your property transaction. Recommendations from people you know and trust can provide valuable insights into a solicitor’s experience, communication style, and overall quality of service.

When seeking recommendations, it’s important to consider the source of the recommendation. For example, if a friend or family member had a positive experience with a solicitor for a different type of legal matter, they may not necessarily be the best choice for your property transaction.

You should also do your own research and compare the recommended solicitors with other options. Consider factors such as the solicitor’s experience, qualifications, and fees, as well as any reviews or testimonials from past clients.

Ultimately, while seeking recommendations from friends or family can be helpful, it’s important to make your own decision based on your individual needs and circumstances. Choose a solicitor who has the expertise and experience to handle your specific property transaction, and who you feel comfortable working with throughout the process.


Choosing the right solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. Consider the solicitor’s area of expertise, qualifications and credentials, experience, communication skills, fees, and reputation when making your decision. With the right solicitor by your side, you can navigate the legal complexities of property transactions with confidence.

Sweeney McHugh Solicitors have a number of experienced Solicitors who deal with property purchases and sales on a daily basis. Please feel free to contact our office for a no obligation quotation on fees or to discuss your next transaction.

Speed Up Your House Sale


We are finding many sales of property are being unnecessarily delayed because the Vendor(s)

is not ready to sell at the point a property goes sale agreed. The following advice has been prepared

by the Law Society of Ireland as a useful guide to speed up the sale of your house (or other property).

Sweeney McHugh Solicitors can offer a title review service and advise you of any further documents or

information that will be required to allow for a sale of your property.


Contact your solicitor as soon as possible. Your solicitor will need to get your title deeds
immediately in order to prepare a contract for the sale of your house and will also need to
take full instructions from you on the details of the sale. There are several pieces of
information and documentation that your solicitor will need and you should start getting them
together now.

1. Details of where your title documents are (if your title deeds are with a bank, provide
the name of the bank and the account number).

2. Local Property Tax printout showing local property tax paid to current year end

3. Receipt or Certificate of Discharge showing that the Household Charge has been
discharged (,

4. Certificate of Exemption or Discharge for NPPR (applied from 2010 to 2013)

5. Details of your water and drainage supply,

6. If you have a septic tank on the property, evidence of its registration

7. If you are or ever have been married, a copy of your state marriage or civil
partnership certificate (and copy of separation agreement or divorce, if applicable),

8. BER Certificate showing the energy rating on your home,

9. Details of any building work you have done with copies of any planning permissions
and architects’ certificates of compliance,

10. If your property is in a managed development, contact details for the management
company/managing agents, and receipts for service charges,

11. If the property is let, copy letting agreement,

12. Details of any contents included in sale,

13. PPS Number(s) – needed for proof of identity,

14. Photographic identification such as passport(s),

15. Utility bill / bank statement (within the last 3 months) to prove your address.