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POSTED 23 November 2018 Guides and Top Tips

Essential Questions to Ask when Viewing a Property

Buying a house is usually the single most expensive purchase that a person makes in their lifetime; however, the average house viewing lasts just 25 minutes.

Of course, seeing the property isn’t the only factor that will inform your decision when buying a home but it can have a significant bearing – so it’s important to go equipped with a few perceptive questions.

Why is the property on the market?

In general, a homeowner will be selling for practical reasons, like wanting a bigger house or wanting a shorter commute. However, sometimes they may be trying to escape from an underlying problem with a property.

The estate agent doesn’t have to provide any personal details about the seller; however, they do have to provide open, honest, clear and timely sharing of information relevant to the property purchase.

This includes details of any nearby planning permission, development, power stations or sewage works.

How long have the current owners lived here?

If a property has been listed on the market quite soon after purchase this could indicate that there are problems with the house, area or both. Be wary of a home that has a high turnover of occupants.

How long has the house been on the market?

This can reveal a lot about a property. If the house has been up for sale for three months or more, this could suggest that it isn’t particularly sought after, or that the seller’s price is too high – if so, this would put you in a strong negotiating position.

A house that’s struggling to sell may also be another indicator of underlying issues.

When can the seller move out?

If the seller has found a property and wants to move immediately this could improve your negotiating position.

On the other hand, a seller that’s part of a chain and unable to move straightaway could leave you hanging on for a long time before you’re able to move out of your current property.

What exactly is included in the sale?

This seems like an obvious one, but it’s worth asking. You may have been impressed with a new kitchen with modern fittings or a beautiful sitting room with comfortable furniture but the current owners may intend to take all this with them.

If you’ve got a car, you might also want to ask about any parking spaces or garages that are included with the property.

Home viewing quick tips

Check for damp as you look around the property, signs include flaky plaster and watermarked walls or ceilings, as well as a general smell of mould.

Be on the look-out for any large cracks – particularly on the walls, ceilings and outside brickwork – which can be potential signs that a building isn’t structurally sound.

Check which way the house faces, the south side of any property will get more sunlight.

Take note of the size of the bedrooms as well as any storage space, including the attic. This should help to inform you whether or not a property will provide you with enough space.

Above all else – take your time when viewing a property. It can also help to take a pen and paper to write down anything you notice, you can then discuss these observations with your estate agent later.