Questions to Ask when Viewing a House
The process of purchasing a new house, whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced homeowner, can be an exciting time. Viewing a property will be the first time you step inside a potential new home, so to be certain it is the right property and to make an informed decision always ask the right questions.
When you have found the place you love and you have that feeling it can be quite easy to get carried away and you can miss crucial aspects. So, following our house viewing checklist you will get all the questions to ask when viewing a house.
This will save you from trouble down the line while you are getting that feeling of “I can see myself living here” or “this is the right property to get on the landlord ladder”.
Therefore, here are a few questions to ask when viewing a house or a flat, either to rent or to buy:
The first step in buying a property would be putting forward an offer. However, to get the bigger picture you need to understand the reasons behind the seller’s decision of putting his property on the market.
This will help you with assessing if the timescale will suit your needs, whether is potential to get a better deal or if you are more likely to get in a bidding war.
You can ask: What is their motive for selling? How long has the property been on the market? Is the seller looking for another property or is it a chain-free purchase? How many viewings or offers have already been? If a previous purchase chain has fallen, what was the reason behind it?
Most likely, before you decided to go for a viewing you had your research done. Thus, you have already established this is a preferred area for you. But, what is the immediate vicinity like? Who are your neighbors? Is a vital element to consider when comes to buying a house or flat because you will live with it.
Consider asking: How noisy are the nearby roads? What schools or shops are in the vicinity of your property? Is the residential parking area really busy? Do you have a dedicated parking space? Have there been any floodings to the local area? Are any planned developments nearby for new roads or residential estates?
We highly recommend double-checking the answers to these questions by looking on local authority websites for planning permissions, local police websites for crime levels in the area, or the Environment Agency for flood risk.
Fortunately, some estate agent platforms, such as Zoopla or Rightmove can offer you some of this information by default during your property research.
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There is no correct answer to this and could be that this aspect is not really important for your house search. However, knowing if your garden is south facing or not could mean that you will get most of the sun, and the front room would not be gloomy during the day and more.
Is difficult to try to imagine how much sun you will get during the winter months, but with the help of satellite images and/or street views you can get an idea. Using Google Maps street view or the Google Earth app can give you an idea of how the property is orientated.
In most cases, when you decided to go for a viewing you have been shown a floor plan either through the estate agent brochure or on their online website. However, some of these floorplans can be inaccurate and usually include the dimensions to the wider points of the room.
Also, the clutter can make a home look much smaller than it is. Therefore, we highly recommend taking a measuring tape with you to check the dimensions. You can ask if are any scaled floor plans available or if the estate agent can provide a 3D floor plan.
Probably this question is the most overlooked question when comes to buying a home, especially when you are a first-time buyer. You should always budget for your monthly outgoings as these can add up quickly to more than you expected.
You should ask: What is the council tax band? Are there any service charges or ground rent to pay? Are any estate management fees? What is the EPC rating; this will give you an idea of your energy efficiency, respectively what the energy bills would be? What is the price of home insurance? What are the broadband providers available in the area? What is the average energy bill in a summer month? What about in the winter month? Do they have solar panels? Who are their water, electric, and gas suppliers?
During the viewing is highly recommended to ask what actually comes with the property. For example, your heart is set on the garden furniture but it does not mean it will be there when you move in.
Is always better not to make assumptions about what is included and you should ask: what will be included, what is the condition of the items included, or if they come with any guarantees or manuals. Ask how old is the boiler when was last time serviced or if is still warranty.
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Of course, we all want to find an entirely perfect property, but as we know is very difficult to do this. However, by checking the following things – either by yourself or by asking your estate agent you will be able to make an informed decision.
For outside the property, these are some questions to ask when viewing a house: Have been any alterations or extensions done to this property? Is the structure of the building in good condition? Are the windows double-glazed? Are the doors made from wood or UPVC? Are any restrictions on the property? Is it a listed property or in a conservation area? How old is the roof? Can the roof void be accessed? Has been insulation installed?
Also, is a good idea to look for any telltale signs, such as cracks, the smell of dampness, or the presence of mold or wall stains. We highly recommend getting a professional surveyor to conduct a homebuyer survey or a building survey to make sure you have an independent opinion about the condition of the property.
Here are some tips you should consider when comes to viewing your desired house or flat:
- Investigate the local area – look at what schools, shops, and public transport are available
- Look at the condition of the property – have a good walk around inside and outside to check for any obvious cracks, stains, missing tiles, or broken guttering. Whether you observe anything to raise a concern or not, it is advised that you get a survey carried out.
- Take your time when viewing a house or flat – it is always sensible to have more than one visit. Try to view the property at different times of the day and week. Also, during the viewing do not feel rushed and if you have any questions ask your estate agent. A seller and agent need to disclose all known information about the property – a legal obligation under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
- Check the EPC certificate and ask about the bill’s costs
- Get an independent opinion on the property condition to potential unforeseen issues. Even the lender will request a valuation survey in most cases this is just for lenders’ only eyes and has the purpose of confirming the property’s approximate value is not meant to assess the property specific condition.
We hope that our guide on “Questions to ask when viewing a house” will be handy on your next house hunt and we can not stress enough how important is to get as much information as possible before you make an informed decision.