Saturday 16 February 2019

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Cork Independent

Home & Property

Streamlined conveyancing system takes shape

Thursday, 31st January, 2019 8:41am

Since 1 January, a faster, more efficient and cost-effective system for buying and selling property has come into force.

The new ‘pre-contract investigation of title’ (PCIT) system will improve the conveyancing process by ensuring any questions relating to the property’s title are raised and resolved before the contracts are signed.

The new system is a fundamental change to the legal practice and procedures involved in buying and selling property. It has been designed by the Law Society of Ireland, in consultation with solicitors, based on changes in practice and a drive to improve efficiency and greater transparency in the conveyancing process. The new process is more transparent because any issues are fully revealed before one is “locked into” the contract.

“Every property sale involves a process called ‘investigation of title',” said Michael Walsh, partner and head of property at ByrneWallace.

He continued: “It requires the buyer’s solicitor to carry out certain checks on the property’s title. Historically, copying and exchanging the documents needed to investigate title was a difficult task, and took place after the buyers and sellers had signed contracts.”

“This means that the system has, up to this point, been structured so that queries or problems relating to the title to the property can often arise at a very late stage in the transaction. It is not unusual for such issues to severely delay or even completely kill a deal, which can be expensive as well as extremely disappointing.”

Mr Walsh added: “Essentially, pre-contract investigation means that a buyer’s solicitor must carry out a full set of detailed checks on the property’s title much earlier in the sales process.

“This is to ensure that any and all issues are revealed and – importantly – resolved before contracts are signed. Crucially, when the buyer and seller sign the contract under the PCIT system, the buyer is automatically deemed to have knowledge of all issues relating to the title and to have accepted them. Independent legal advice at an early stage is critical for buyers in particular under this new system.”

Mr Walsh predicted that the PCIT system will be more efficient and cost-effective for everyone involved in a property sale.

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