A buyer’s checklist: Top 10 questions to ask

A buyer’s checklist: Top 10 questions to ask

House hunting can be an exciting experience but you can often forget the most vital questions. It is important to take your time and make sure the property suits your requirements. It needs to be your dream home, so don’t rush it. When buying a house, it usually involves a compromise or two. This could be anything from the location to the size of the property. We have come up with a useful checklist for anyone who is planning to go on a viewing. These are just a few things to look out for, but each buyer will have their own preferences.  

1. Is the property leasehold or freehold?

This is always a vital question to ask. Is the property leasehold or freehold? Why does this matter? As mentioned previously, a leasehold can vary from a limited time to a very long lease of 999 years. Talk to your estate agents and your solicitor about the intricacies of leasehold vs. freehold. It is a complicated area and it is best to seek expert advice. 

2. How long is the lease?

If you are buying a leasehold property, you should always check the length of the lease. You don’t want to buy a home that only has a few years left, before the lease expires. If this is the case, always ask about the possibility of a lease extension, and how much it will cost. Some buyers will want to buy a home that has a short lease with a view to renovate a tired property and extend the lease. 

3. How long has the property been on the market? 

This is an obvious question but it is always worth asking. This gives you an indication as to how keen the owner is to sell. You should also ask if there are others interested in the property. If the owner is at the property during the viewing, it is a useful time to ask any questions you may have on your mind. 

4. What is the area like?

Don’t just view a property once, but view it several times. Canny buyers will look at their potential new home during the week, weekends and in the evenings. You are not only viewing the interior, you will need to check the surrounding neighbourhood, too. 

5. Is there damp? 

When walking into a property, you may notice whether the property has damp. There are tell-tale signs, including flaky plaster work and possible stains on the walls or maybe ceilings. If you notice damp, mention this to your estate agent and your surveyor.

6. How much is the service charge?

It is always worth asking the annual service charge rate if you are buying an apartment. They can range from a few hundred to thousands of pounds. It is better to know before you purchase the property, so you can factor this into your budget. 

7. Are there any major works planned? 

Areas are constantly evolving, with improved infrastructure or transportation. It is worth asking whether there are any works planned for the area or nearby. Major works may include: improving roads in the neighbourhood or new transportation links.   

8. How old is the plumbing and wiring?

Some home-buyers forget to check the plumbing and the wiring. Expert advice is highly-recommended as it is a technical area. However, simple things to check on a viewing could include: running the tap/shower for water pressure, asking the age of the boiler and looking whether the pipes are insulated. 

9. How old is the roof?

If the roof has been recently repaired, then it is a reassuring sign that the property is cared for by its current owners. Enquire when the roof was last repaired as this an important factor to consider. Depending on the materials used for the roof and the location, it will determine how long it will last and whether it will stand the test of time. If you have any concerns, you can raise these with your surveyor or take further advice.

10. Is the property sound proof?

Many properties have measures in place to reduce interior and exterior noise. Does the property have double glazing or secondary glazing? This will help to minimise external sound from cars and buses in the surrounding area. Carpets, curtains and rugs can reduce noise internally, too. You can also ask you’re your estate agent about the insulation of the walls for peace of mind. 

Are you buying or selling a property? Click here to find your nearest agent or visit our blog page for more articles that will help you with your next move.

3rd Feb 2017

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