Questions to ask when viewing a property
Go prepared to a property viewing by having a list of questions you want to know about the property. You will need to have all the information to make a decision on whether this is the home for you. We have put together the top questions we recommend:
Why is the seller moving?
They may be moving to grow their family or to be closer to work, but they may also be moving to live in a quieter area. Knowing why the seller is looking to move may give you some insights into the property and the area.
If the seller hasn’t moved out yet, find out when they plan to as this will help align your moving plans with the property for sale!
How long has the property been on the market?
The last thing you want is to end up with a fixer-upper if you’re looking for a ready-made home. It’s worth asking the agent if any of the previous viewers had feedback, or if any surveys have taken place. A property that’s been on the market for a fairly long time could provide room for you to negotiate on the price, especially if the seller already has a property to move in to.
What’s the area like?
Take note of any mention of public transport, schools and neighbours. If you have children, or are looking to grow your family in the near future, a house near a school catchment area and preferably away from student accommodation will help keep the sleepless nights to a minimum. You may also be looking for somewhere with local shops for everyday purchases.
If you or someone in your household drives you’ll also need to know about parking, and not all properties come with parking!
Does the house need any work?
You should have a survey when buying a property, but it’s worth thoroughly checking the property as you look round. in particular you should ask about and look for:
- Windows and external doors: How old are they? Is there evidence of broken locks/seals? Can you see condensation between double glazed windows?
- Roof: Is it in a good stats of repair? Can you see evidence of leaks? Are there any missing roof tiles?
- Damp: If there is evidence of damp, has this been caused by leaky guttering, poorly maintained brickwork, condensation, or is it more serious? Does the property have a damp proof course installed?
- The water supply. Check under the kitchen sink for water marks from leaks, and feel free to turn on the taps Are the pipes insulated and in good condition?
- The boiler. How old is the boiler? Has the boiler been regularly serviced? This will indicate whether you need to replace the boiler soon.
- Electrics. How old is the wiring? Has the owner got a copy of the property’s Electrical Safety Certificate?
What are the services like?
Check your phone on viewing to check the strength of the phone signal. Ask what broadband services are available in the property, and what the council tax band is. They will all impact on your monthly outgoings when you move in to the property and it’s important you’re confident you can keep up with cost of your home.
What’s included in the sale?
If you see furniture, fixtures and fittings around the property, you’re allowed to ask if it’s part of the sale. You are likely to see some gardens with sheds and you’ll need to know if it’s part of the sale or whether you will need to buy one for yourself.
Ask if you will legally own the driveway, or if this is shared. If the house has a shared driveway you will need to check whether you have legal access to it. You should also ask who is responsible for any party walls and boundaries, such as fences.
Is the seller willing to negotiate on price?
The price on the listing isn’t always the minimum price the seller will accept. The seller will has their valuation price estimate, but they also have their ideal price, so it will put you in a good position to know what they’re looking to achieve from the sale.