How to ‘speed date’ your next house: 10 essential questions to ask when viewing a house
It won’t surprise you to learn that buying a home is usually the single most expensive purchase you will ever make. What will amaze you, however, is that on average we spend just 25 minutes viewing a house before we decide to buy it! We asked our experts for their 10 essential questions to ask when viewing a house. Take this house viewing checklist with you and prevent any nasty surprises when the removal vans have left…
1) How long has the house been on the market?
Possibly the most important question of all as it gives you an accurate indication of how sought-after your potential new home is. If it’s been on the market for over 6 months you need to ask yourself why.
2) Has there been much interest in the property?
If you really like a property, there’s no point wondering how many other people feel the same way as you. Ask how many viewings there have been and if any offers have been made. Choose a busy time to view the home, like a Saturday morning, and if other people are viewing before and after you then you know it’s popular. You should also ask what (if any) offers there have been so far – the estate agent will usually tell you although they cannot disclose the amounts.
3) What’s the area like?
What are the schools like? What’s the crime rate like? One of our experts’ favourite questions to ask your estate agent is “Would you be happy to live here?” Make sure you do some independent research as well.
4) Has there been any major work on the building?
If you don’t intend to have a full structural survey on your home make sure you find out about work that’s been recently undertaken and ask to see evidence, like builder’s receipts or guarantees.
5) Is the property listed or in a conservation area?
This will show up during the conveyancing process but why wait until then? If you buy a listed property the changes you can make both outside and, in some cases, inside too can be restricted. And if the property’s in a conservation area other restrictions may also apply.
6) How long have the owners lived there?
If they’re moving out after a short period, why? Find out if the property has repeatedly changed hands – if it has there may be some neighbourhood problems. Try and find out why the previous owners moved out.
7) Exactly what’s included in the sale?
Is the garden shed or greenhouse included? Are the fixtures and fittings? Exactly where does the boundary lie? Make sure you know what you’re getting for your money.
8) Have the sellers found their next property?
If they have, they’re probably keen to sell quickly. Otherwise, if you have to wait while they find somewhere else it adds to the uncertainty and could end up with a long chain that might easily fall through.
9) How much are the Council Tax and utility bills?
Try and get exact amounts. (You can ask the estate agent to ask the seller if you have to.) These may not make or break your decision but they’re re-occurring expenses that will add to the monthly cost of owning your home.
10) Which way does the property face?
So you’ve got the answers you wanted and you can see yourself moving in and celebrating with a glass of something sparkling on the patio… It won’t taste as good if the house faces north and the sun disappeared hours ago. Think which rooms you’ll be using most and ask which way they face and get the sun.
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If you’d like to know more about buying a home, talk to us today or call 0344 481 0013.