Viewing a potential home for the first time is a big deal. It can feel a little overwhelming, and if you aren’t structured and organised with it, you can get very little from it (aside from a first impression).
In this post, we list the questions you should be asking during your visit – these will help you gather valuable insights, and you’ll (hopefully!) go away feeling a lot more informed…
1. How long has the property been on the market?
Unsurprisingly, homes that have been on the market for a considerable amount of time can set alarm bells ringing. If this one’s been on for more than a few months, be persistent in finding out the reasons why. That way, you’ll be able to establish quickly whether it’s just one of those things, whether it’s overpriced and the seller might be willing to accept a lower offer, or if there’s a problem with the home.
2. How long have the current sellers lived there?
Similarly, you’ll want to understand how long the current sellers have been living in the property. If it’s a short time, ask questions. It may be that they’re simply relocating, for instance, due to a new job or to be nearer a family member. Of course, it could be for a more worrying reason, such as a nightmare neighbour.
3. When are the sellers looking to move?
Discover when the sellers are looking to move out of the home, as well as whether they’re in a chain. Being in a chain could potentially lengthen the moving process – sometimes for months if a sale somewhere along the chain falls through. A ‘no chain’ property usually moves a lot quicker, and is a lot smoother.
4. What work has been done on the property?
While this type of information will come up in the survey, it pays to find out early what’s-what. You’ll want to know if any major renovations have been carried out, and if it’s a yes, ask for a quick glance at any permissions or guarantees. You should also ask if there’s any issues with damp in the home, as this can cause all sorts of problems later down the line.
5. Which way does the home face?
One for sunseekers. You may be able to work it out yourself, but if you can’t, then ask the agent which way the property is facing. South-facing back gardens are most in demand, as you’ll be able to get maximum sunlight on it.
6. What are the neighbours like?
It’s unlikely a resident looking to sell will really speak badly of a neighbour. However, if they’ve endured a dispute and made formal complaints then they’re legally required to disclose this. Usually, you can get a good sense of how the current residents view neighbours through the likes of body language and hesitation, as well as what they say.
7. What’s the area like?
As well as the neighbours, you’ll want to get an insight into the neighbourhood and town as a whole if you’re to be new to the area. Ask about things like local schools, amenities and traffic. You can find out more about getting to know a new area ahead of moving in our guide here.
8. What are the running costs of the property?
What you won’t know until you move in, is how much a property costs to run. But you can get some great insight by simply asking. You’ll be able to find out the council tax band, how much bills generally cost and even things like the price of the train into town – all of which can help you budget and decide whether it’s the right property for you.
9. What’s included in the sale?
You should always ask what’s included in the property sale. For example, sheds and greenhouses, light fixtures and fittings. Some people may leave larger items, such as a built-in hot tub. All of which, will affect your willingness to purchase and the price you’re willing to pay.
10. Are the sellers open to offers?
Discover whether the owner is open to offers, as this will potentially allow you to make a bid below the asking price. The agent may say nothing below the asking price will be considered, but if they are open to offers then make sure you don’t go any further than 25% below the asking price. Why? It’s likely to be refused, and may give the seller the impression you’re a timewaster.
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