How to Buy Property in Ireland as a Foreigner

Who can buy property in Ireland?

Fortunately, there are no restrictions for foreigners purchasing real estate in Ireland and the investment climate is favorable for foreign businesses.

Both EU (EEA) and non-EU (EEA) citizens are welcome to purchase property. Real estate ownership does not grant you any residence permits, although residence by investment is possible (minimum €1 million investment or €500,000 philanthropic contribution).

Do the research

There are a number of interesting and beautiful regions in Ireland to consider and a number of real estate websites to help you find the perfect property.

Some of the more popular and interesting areas include:

  • Dublin - Capital of Ireland and its business/financial center. Has a very international vibe due to a lot of expats and offers both historical sites and excellent nightlife. Dublin is an excellent option for investors as it offers great rental yields.
  • Cork - Famous for its friendly locals, rich heritage, and culinary delights (namely cheese).
  • Wild Atlantic Way - Essentially the West Coast of Ireland that offers some of the most stunning landscapes, including the Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher. It’s essentially a dream for any outdoor enthusiast.

 Where to start your search for properties:Ireland Victorian style country house

Financing

In a lot of cases, a mortgage is needed to purchase property. Good news is that there are financing options available for non-residents. However, keep in mind that getting a mortgage is a lot easier for residents so be prepared to present a bunch of documents about your financial history and income. Also, keep in mind that in most cases, non-residents will also have to make a higher down payment and pay higher interest rates so it’s important to compare as many providers as possible to get the best offer.

Make an offer

Once you find a suitable property, you should make an offer and engage the services of a solicitor to take care of the contracts. Keep in mind that the offer does not legally bind you to buy.

When your offer has been accepted, you may arrange for a survey for the early detection of potential problems. This way you can ensure the property is in good order before you spend any money. Ireland is known for having radon and pyrite contamination in some areas so make sure you check for those in addition to a regular property survey.

Sign the contract, finalize the purchase

After the seller accepts the offer, your solicitor will then draft the Deed of Conveyance which is the document that transfers the property into your name. This will be sent to the seller´s solicitor for his approval.

The vendor´s solicitor will then draw up a contract for the sale of the house. When your solicitor has reviewed this contract and is satisfied with it and the title to the property, you will be in a position to sign contracts.

Before the signing, you must pay a non-refundable deposit of 10%. If you do end up buying the property, this will be considered as a prepayment and deducted from the final sales price.

On the agreed-upon closing date, your solicitor will complete the sale by transferring funds to the seller´s solicitor, after which the property deed will be registered in your name with the Property Registration Authority of Ireland. The Stamp Duty will also have to be paid at this stage.

Property Buying Costs and Taxes in Ireland

Let’s take a closer look at the additional costs and taxes on buying property in Ireland

Transaction Costs
    Who Pays?
Property Transfer Tax 1.00% - 2.00% buyer
Legal Fees 1.00% - 1.50% (+ 23% VAT) buyer
Notary Fees 0.10% - 0.20% buyer
Real Estate Agent´s Fee 1.00% - 3.50% (+ 23% VAT) seller
Costs paid by buyer 2.10% - 3.70%
Costs paid by seller 1.00% - 3.50%
ROUNDTRIP TRANSACTION COSTS 3.10% - 7.20%
Source: Global Property Guide
*The round trip transaction costs include all costs of buying and then re-selling a property - lawyers´ fees, notaries´ fees, registration fees, taxes, agents´ fees, etc.

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty in Ireland is levied on property transactions and is payable by the buyer. The applicable stamp duty rates depend on the market value of the property.

Stamp Duty on Residential Properties
Property Value, € Stamp Duty, €
Up to €1,000,000 1%
Over €1,000,000 2% on all value over €1,000,000
Source: Global Property Guide

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value Added Tax (VAT) is levied at a standard rate of 23%, effective 01 January 2012. This is not an additional tax but is already included in the sales price of the property.

Legal Fees: 

There is no fixed rate of charges for legal fees when it comes to buying real estate in Ireland. The fee for the conveyancing work offered by solicitors is negotiable. Some solicitors charge a fixed fee while others charge a percentage of the purchase price –usually around 1% to 1.5%. The 23% VAT is also levied on the legal fees.

Real Estate Agent´s Fee

Although nominally paid by the seller, real estate agent´s fees are usually included in the asking price, thus, effectively paid by buyers. Buyers pay a separate fee if they acquire the services of an auctioneer to purchase the property on their behalf. Auctioneer´s fees vary from 1% to 3.5% of the selling price, plus the 23% VAT.

Registration Fee

The solicitor will determine the nature of the title to your property. The costs incurred will depend on whether the title is held in the Land Registry or the Registry of Deeds.

The Land Registry is a system of compulsory title registration. The register is conclusive evidence of title to property and any right, privilege, appurtenance or burden appearing thereon.

The Registry of Deeds is a system of voluntary registration for deeds and conveyances. The document filed in the Registry of Deeds is a memorial which is essentially a synopsis of the deed and also other statutory requirements, but doesn’t record official property ownership.

Registration Fee
Property Value, € Fee, €
Up to €50,000 €425
€50,000 - €200,000 €600
€200,000 - €400,000 €700
Over €400,000 €800