Smart Questions to Ask When Buying a Home
Buying a property can be a minefield, filled with twists and turns, so it’s always a good idea to be ahead of the game.
Knowing the right questions to ask can give you a big leg up when it comes to buying your next property.
Why is the owner selling?
This is a good question to start off with as it gives you an idea of what type of seller they are. If they are moving for a new job, or something time-restricted, then that tells you that they are likely looking for a quick sale. You can use that to your advantage when making your offer.
What does the estate agent think of the house?
They have seen a lot of houses and properties in their line of work and so can give you an honest appraisal. They might also highlight aspects of the house, both good and bad, that you might not have considered.
What’s included in the purchase?
Parking spaces, additional land, furniture, garden buildings such as sheds and greenhouses – sometimes not everything is listed in the brochure so it’s always worth asking just to check.
You should also ask about the garden boundaries and the responsibility of each boundary. Sometimes, fences and borders alongside your property will be the responsibility of one of your neighbours, and vice versa.
If you are looking at rural properties, you should also enquire about public footpaths in case any of them cross over your land.
How long has the house been on the market?
This is another good question to ask when you are considering making an offer. If the property has been on the market for a long time, you might be able to offer way below the asking price.
This is a double-edged sword as well, as a property that has been on the market for a long time might have issues that are not immediately obvious, such as problem neighbours, or boundary concerns.
How long did the previous owners live in the property?
This will help you understand if there have been a lot of owners in a short period of time – this could indicate a problem with the property.
If it has changed hands a lot, you might need to ask why. It could be a perfectly reasonable explanation, but it’s good to ask.
What’s the minimum offer the seller will accept?
They might not have a minimum offer figure, but if they do, it saves you both time if you know how far down you can push your offer.
This also gives you a good starting point to research the local area and see if the sellers expectations are realistic or not.
Have they had any offers so far?
The agent won’t be able to tell you the figures offered, but they can tell you how many offers the property has received. This will help you to decide what approach you want to take, and what kind of offer you want to make.
This can also be a deciding factor if you are considering several properties for purchase – you may prefer to go for something with less competition.
Is the property south-facing or north-facing?
A simple question but one that has a big impact for some buyers!
If you enjoy relaxing in the garden in the evenings, then a south-facing property will give you more sunlight in the afternoons.
Other people prefer morning sunshine, so a north-facing property is preferable.
It might not be a big deal for you, but if it is, you should find out sooner rather than later.
Any recent work completed on the property?
There is lots to discover with this question. Firstly, you can judge how much of your own money you will need to invest if you do buy the property. If the boiler is 10+ years old, you might need to budget in for a new one, but if it was replaced last year, you won’t have to worry for a few years yet.
Secondly, it can highlight potential issues with the property, such as damp, subsidence, or structural issues.
How old is the property?
A factor to consider if you think the house or property will need work doing in the future. Older houses are quite sturdy but may be in need of modernisation.
Very old houses may require more serious work doing on them, and may even be listed, which will restrict the changes you can make.
Ask about neighbours
If any legal complaints have been made against them, the estate agent must tell you
There’s no point moving into a dream home if you’ve got the nightmare neighbours next door! If there have been any legal proceedings against the neighbours, the estate agent is legally obligated to tell you.
You should also ask the seller as well if you get a chance. They can tell you good things about the people you are potentially going to be living next to!
Ask about parking
If you can ask the seller directly, even better.
You’ll likely have an idea of parking when you arrive, if the property has a drive or allocated parking. If it doesn’t, ask about how they manage parking, and if there are any issues you should be aware of.
This is especially a factor if you own more than one car, or have frequent visitors.
Does the agent have any similar properties in the same area you can view?
Even if you love the property, it is always asking the estate agents if there are similar properties in the area you can visit. If anything, it will help you make a decision, and you might find somewhere even better!