Viewing a property can be an overwhelming experience at times. It’s easy to get caught up in the look and feel of a house and forget some of the most important questions to ask the estate agent. To make the process easier, our agents have shared their key questions to ask when you’re on a viewing so you can get all the facts.
Joanne Vine from Fine & Country Swansea has lots of questions for buyers to ask, though she says that often questions will depend on the individual needs of the buyer. However, these are the points that should always be raised, and some are particularly important when on a second viewing.
- How long has the property been on the market? If it’s a long time, then ask why the agent thinks it hasn’t sold yet.
- No matter if you have school age children or not, it is wise to check the school catchments as homes within good school catchments will hold their value.
- Again checking the local amenities is a good idea, as even if you don’t need a bus route or local shop it is good to check this out for future resale purposes.
- How long have the vendors been at the property? This is a good question as if the house has changed many hands in a short time there could be a reason why.
- Why they current owners selling? Will they vacate if a sale is agreed?
- Is it freehold or leasehold?
- If it is a flat or apartment, what are the charges? Are there any age restrictions? Can you have pets? Is the parking allocated and are there any guest spaces?
- Are there mains services? How old is the boiler and has it been regularly checked by a registered professional?
- Have the current vendors done any updating or redecorating during their period at the home? If so, do they have any receipts or warranties still in place?
- Has there been any planning passed or applied for?
- What are the boundaries and are there any issues?
- What are the neighbours like and have there been any disputes?
- If the house is on a private road, who maintains it and pays for upkeep?
- Have they ever been burgled or flooded?
- If you like the property, we would advise you view it a second time at a different time of day (morning, afternoon or evening) and also busier times of the day. Ask the agent for a longer appointment so you can really take your time at the property.
Simon Bradbury agrees with Joanne. “As a buyer, the top question of all to ask is why the owner is selling. This will open up a wide range of information useful to the discerning purchaser, including an indication as to required time scales and whether or not the sale is discretionary or not.”
It’s a good idea to think about what is most important to you before the viewing. Simon advises asking questions specifically relevant to the needs of each individual buyer. So, for example, if access to schools is important, ask about it. If internet speed is key, ask what speed they are currently getting.
The great thing about asking questions is that, by law, estate agents cannot mislead you. “Remember, in order to comply with the Consumer Protection Regulations (which replaced the Property Misdescriptions Act in October 2013) estate agents must essentially not mislead prospective purchasers – either knowingly or unknowingly,” Simon explains. “So the answers to specific questions can be trusted – even if made verbally.”
As there is a lot to remember, why not print out this page or have it ready on your smartphone during your next house viewing?