You’ve walked in, you’ve fallen in love, you’re already dreaming about how you’d paint this room and which furniture would go in that room. But a house or flat is potentially the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make so you want to make sure it’s right. So what are the questions that you should ask the current owners or estate agents when buying a property?
Why are the owners selling?
Yes, it may seem nosy/intrusive, but it’s such an important question. If there are any problems with the property then it’s best off finding out about them at an early stage.
And if the owners are keen to move quickly, for example they’ve just had a baby and need the extra space, then they may be open to accepting a lower offer.
Is the property part of a chain?
If so, have the owners found a new house? And if they haven’t, would they be willing to move into a rented property so that you could move in?
How long has it been on the market and have any offers previously been accepted?
I’m always a bit suspicious if a house has been on the market for a long time – is it overpriced? Is there an issue that has caused previous sales to fall through?
Which direction does the garden face?
I am such a sun worshipper that I wouldn’t even consider viewing a property with a north facing garden. Our current house has a south-west facing garden which means we get glorious sunny patio evenings, but I’d love to someday move to a house with a south facing garden.
What’s included in the price?
Carpets, white goods, light fittings…if they’re included in the sale price and are in good nick then it can save you hundreds of pounds and a heap of hassle. In our last house we spent an absolute age hunting down curtain poles for the bay window in the lounge, and our new house didn’t have bays, so it was an obvious choice to include these in the price when we put it up for sale.
What are the neighbours like?
Who your neighbours are is SO important. When we’ve been to view houses that we like we always knock on the neighbours’ doors to suss them out, and to ask them what it’s like living on that particular street. If you get good neighbours they’re a blessing (ours feed the cat when we’re away, and take my ASOS deliveries when I’m not in, and have a spare key for when I’ve locked myself out). If you have BAD/noisy/nosy neighbours they can be a nightmare.
Are there any issues with access/boundaries?
Does anyone else have access rights over the land? Are there any quirks about the boundaries which might lead to problems or disputes with neighbours?
Can I try the taps and how old is the boiler?
A hot tap that doesn’t produce hot enough water is a bug-bear of mine, and I’ve also been known to run the shower on my hand to check the water pressure. And as new boilers aren’t cheap, it’s worth asking how old the existing boiler is, what type of boiler it is, and when it was last serviced.
What is the situation with the surrounding land?
If you’ve fallen for a property because of its amazing views then you’re going to want to be assured that there aren’t any plans afoot for new developments on the surrounding land. And if there is planning permission for new housing in the area, then bear in mind the impact it may have on traffic, parking, and school places.
What’s the parking situation like?
If you have a car and there’s a driveway, fine, but if not, then it’s worth checking out how many cars park on the street. In our last house we had on-street parking and at 6pm there would be so many parked cars on the road that I sometimes had to park on an adjoining street. Which wasn’t fun with a baby, a baby car seat and seven bags of shopping.
So that’s all the questions I’d be asking. How about you: have you got any more to add to the list? Did you follow your head or your heart when you bought your house or flat?
P.S. If you’ve recently had an offer accepted on a property, then you might want to have a read of Lauren’s post about how long it takes to exchange contracts.