Code of Ethics
The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland is currently formulating a Code of Practice for its members. In the meantime, the former IAVI Code of Conduct will apply to former IAVI members.
Following the enactment of the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 and the subsequent establishment of the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA), all Property Service Providers (PSPs) are now regulated by the Authority. New regulations governing the issuing of licences to PSPs have now come into force and will be issued through a centralised application process by the PSRA. The granting of a licence now requires the applicant to have a minimum level of qualification or proven experience. Information on the new legislation can be obtained at www.npsra.ie
The Authority shall establish, administer and maintain a fund to be known as the Property Services Compensation Fund. Where the Authority is satisfied that a client of a licensee has sustained a loss as a result of dishonesty on the part of that licensee, or on the part of any principal officer, employee or agent, arising from the provision of property services by or on behalf of the licensee, then, subject to the provisions of this section, the Authority shall make a grant to that client out of the Fund.
Code of Practice
A Code of Practice will, in due course, be prepared by the PSRA and the Authority.
There is no restriction on non-nationals owning property in Ireland.
Land Registration System
The Property Registration Authority Ireland controls the registration of title and registration of deeds in relation to land. An electronic land register is now available and can be accessed on www.landregistry.ie.
Other industry professionals
At present lawyers do not need a license to conduct real estate sales, other than by auction. While a small number of lawyers openly operate under this dual role, most confine themselves to legal matters. Accountants may also sell companies that have property assets, but should not do so when the property assets are the major portion of the company’s value, resulting in a property Stamp Duty or transfer tax (6-9%), rather than an equity Stamp Duty or transfer tax (1%) – this is not well policed. Both anomalies may end with new legislation that should require specific competencies of license holders.
The agent is responsible for preparing a descriptive brochure, placing advertising, showing the property, conducting negotiations and bringing matters to a pre-contract conclusion.
Property Marketing Systems
The Internet has become the most popular marketing tool for both residential and commercial property. However, display advertisements in the national and local newspapers remain popular. There is no multiple listing system in operation in Ireland. The main property sites are myhome.ie (owned by the Irish Times); Globrix.ie (owned by International News and Media) and daft.ie (independently owned and originally a residential letting site). Agents would also have their own property listing websites.
There is no established referral system or ethos.
Relationship of Buyer/Seller to Practitioner
Letters of Engagement/Property Services Agreements are now required under the new legislation. The Letters of Engagement and Property Services Agreements clearly set out the terms of the contract between the client and agent including the type of sale (normally sole agency); the property service to be provided; advised market value; agent’s fee; outlay etc. The Agreement must be signed by the agent and client. There is also an Agreement for lettings and property management services.
The seller is responsible for the agents’ fee and this is paid on the closing of the sale. Fees are fully negotiable and are generally in the region of 0.5% – 1.5%, occasionally 2%. Outlay on advertising etc. is not included in the fee and advertising costs are paid regardless of whether a sale results. The agent will usually take a 5% holding or booking deposit. A similar amount is paid on the signing of formal contracts to the lawyer of the seller. At that stage both elements are held by the agent/lawyer as Stakeholders for the contract. The balance of 90% of the sale price is payable on the closing of the sale, usually about 8-10 weeks after contracts are signed.