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Questions to Ask When Buying a Property

Author: Lisa Soeno

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.

10 questions to ask when buying a property

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Author: Lisa Soeno
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12 thoughts on “Questions to Ask When Buying a Property

  1. Can I try the taps/shower – YES – I wish i had thought of that when viewing my current house (which i do now love) so imagine my utter upset when i got in the shower on that first morning and it just dribbled on me – i could have cried !! So on my list to do is re-vamp the ensuite and install a power shower!!

    Great list to refer to – and helps you with the rational things when you are in the omg i love and want this house so much I don’t care about anything else!!! 🙂

    Another one that was a big learning for me – and maybe this due was my naivety – this house is very close to a busy main road – every time we viewed it was at the weekend when traffic is significantly lighter – AND they had the windows open as it was lovely weather – what i wish i had asked was 1) what is the traffic like during the week and do you get much heavy traffic going by and 2) can i close the windows please. Another discovery on moving in – traffic is pretty heavy at peak times with a lot of lorries and the windows were really rubbish and let in so much noise!! Windows were replaced this year – and wow such a difference!!

    1. Janey I feel your pain. I learnt my lesson after living in a flat which had a similar dribble of a shower – urgh! Yey that you love your house other than that though 🙂

      Yes nearby busy roads are definitely another one to bear in mind, especially if there are kids in tow x

  2. I moved into my new house this week and unfortunately I’m stuck with a rubbish shower and taps for a while. We knew they were rubbish from viewings, but after viewing around thirty houses we knew this was the right house despite its faults. I have a driveway but still drove to the house a few times at different times of the day to make sure parking and noise was not a problem. We were warned about a nosy neighbour, but as we are in a detached house I’m not worried, having come from a terraced street where you know everyones business I can cope with a bit of curtain twitching 😆 Today I’m starting to paint the living room to make it feel more like my own. It’s the best feeling ☺️

    1. Ahh Claire B you’re in! Congratulations. I suppose there’s always some compromise – I don’t think there’s such thing as the perfect house?!

      Enjoy the painting!! x

  3. These are really useful points. I would also ask about school catchment area (even if you don’t have kids as it can massively affect house prices), and whether they have ever been burgled.

    1. Such a good point about the school catchment. And I’m sure there’s a website where you can check the crime stats for the street.

      1. Yes! The Police website has a crime map (I can’t post a link as it automatically detects where you are and shows you the area – but a quick search will get you to the right place!)

  4. Ooh this is making me so excited for house hunting again next year. I bought a new build off plan, the biggest thing was the risk that my road will eventually become the village bypass if the next fields along are developed – looking incredibly likely. I could’t check anything like water pressure but that is massively important!

    As an aside, I’m really missing more frequest RMS blogs, are the ever coming back? Also, would it be possible to do Pingbacks to every blog ever published on that day in years gone by, I find it really hard to scroll back when I fancy a read!

    1. Yey for house hunting Bunny!

      We’re just doing RMS posts on a Tues and Thurs for now because Lauren has her hands full at the moment with baby Felix 🙂

  5. I would suggest getting in writing the make and model of appliances that are going to be left. My friend agreed a price including “white goods” and the swapped the ones on show for some older and cheaper models with dents in them. As she didn’t specify in writing what she wanted there was nothing she could do.

  6. But please be nice when asking these questions to vendors. As an ex-vendor (took house off market a few weeks back) it is really hard to deal with some very rude, intrusive questions. Please put yourself in the position of the vendor. You are looking at a house but for the vendor it’s their home and it’s hard not to take some of the things buyers say/ask personally. Be kind always

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