3rd June, 2016

Top questions to ask an agent before signing a contract

Top questions to ask an agent before signing a contract

While the thought of buying your next property might be exciting, it is also a life-changing decision. Are you coming up stuck with questions to ask the agents?

Whether you are trading up or downsizing, don’t let your nerves get the better of you. We have searched long and hard for the key questions to ask your agent before signing a contract.

1. Why are they selling?

This should always be top priority on your list of questions. If there is a problem with the house, it is important to find out now rather than later. This is the perfect time to ask why the owner is selling. If a seller is relocating, you may be able to snap up a bargain.

2. How much will the owner accept?

The agent is there to help you and to sell the property the best price. Get your thinking cap on and be brave – ask how much the seller is willing to accept.

The estate agent is not obliged to answer, but they may tell you or hint at the circumstances. Again, it really is worth knowing now rather than after you have bought the property.

If the seller has been there for a number of years and is selling because of their age, then it is safe to say that they probably have enjoyed living at the property. A seller who is relocating overseas might be more willing to sell at a lower price than someone who is moving to the town next door.

3. Which council tax band is the property in?

This is a good question to ask as you could save hundreds of pounds per year if the property is in a lower council tax band.

You can then budget for life in your new home.

4. Can I speak to the homeowner/seller?

Speaking directly to the seller can have its advantages. It is surprising how candid owners can be when you talk to them about neighbours or traffic in the area.

5. How long has the seller owned the property?

Has it been four months or forty years? It is worth checking.

Pay attention to the results of a survey, including wiring, the roof, or damp issues.

6. What goods are included in the sale?

It is always useful to know what is included in the sale and whether anything is thrown in. Is there a built-in refrigerator? How about the flat-screen TV?

Don’t take anything for granted, because the seller could easily sell or take items with them when they move. It never hurts to ask about what the seller might want to leave behind as you might be doing them a favour by taking on items. Also, if there is anything specific to the property that you may find hard to replace when you move in – such as tailor-made blinds for the living room. Ask if they will be included in the sale.

The seller may also want to include ‘white goods’, such as dishwashers and refrigerators.

7. Has there been any major work done on the property?

Many properties have renovations over the years. Check when and how these renovations were carried out. If they were done 30 years ago, it is best to ask the agent before making an offer. You may be able to view the applicable planning and building control consents by searching online for planning applications on the local authority's website.

8. What offers have they received so far?

The agents will most likely tell you if they have received other offers to get the ball rolling. If you can find out, it makes it easier to know how quickly you need to make an offer.

Are you thinking of buying? Wanting to downsize? Click here to get in touch with your local Fine & Country agent for a free valuation.

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