Buying a house? Where do you start? You may well have lots of ideas bubbling around in your head – ideas about your ideal home, where it is, how many bedrooms it has, does it have outdoor space, are you after a new build or a period property packed full of character?
Whatever your aspirations, buying a house can be incredibly stressful – there is an awful lot to consider. And not only will you be dealing an Estate Agent, but a mortgage adviser and solicitor, and possibly a surveyor too. All with their own professional jargon to navigate your way through.
When speaking with your agent, ask direct, honest, probing questions – the last thing you want to do is buy your ‘dream home’, only to discover underlying problems later down the line. And, by then, it could be too late.
The key is to identify potentials hitches, problems, as early as possible. Do your research. Do some damage control.
Firstly, make sure you have an agent – an agent with strong credentials; someone who is highly regarded and respected, someone considered trustworthy and knowledgeable with a strong hold on the local housing market. You need honesty and straight-talking.
So, exactly which questions should you be asking your Estate Agent when looking at potential property?
1 How long has the property been on the market?
May be the owner just hasn’t found the right buyer or they are waiting on the purchase of their next home before selling. You can usually find this out on Zoopla, but its wise to ask in order to determine if there is anything unwelcome that you should know about.
2 Why are the owners selling?
This links in with the following question, but their answer could reveal something you need to consider – Do they get on with their neighbours? Does it cost too much to heat? Are there any structural problems with the property? It is a really noisy road to live on?
3 How long have they lived there?
If the property has had lots of different owners over the last few years or have the current owners only lived there a short while? This could flag up some concerns – so consider asking the owners this question directly.
4 Has any recent work been done at the property?
Has the property had more than a lick of paint to freshen it up? Has work been done to disguise and problems? Are there any underlying issues?
5 What’s included in the sale?
Fixtures and fittings. Fixtures are usually included the sale and is the term for any items that fixed to the house – kitchen units and bathroom furniture for example. Fittings include can carpets, lighting, white goods (washing machine, dishwasher, fridge), which the owner can choose to leave or take with them, when they move. Are they planning on taking anything, that could be a deal-breaker for you?
6 Is there a chain?
Its always a good idea to know if there are other buyers and sellers in the chain, also if the person you are buying from, has an idea of when they are planning to move out. Does it fit with your timeline?
7 Has the value changed?
It is possible to find this out online – has the value gone up or down? Value may be on the increase due to the area being ‘up and coming’ or there has been renovation work done. Maybe its decreased – what is the area like? Has the property been on the market a long time?
8 Which way does the property face?
Want to make sure the sun will be shing in your garden? Then ask which way the house is faced.
9 What does the planning permission landscape look like?
Is the property Listed? Is it up to code – was planning permission sought by the current owners for the lovely extension or conversion of the garage to living accommodation? Has planning permission every been denied? If so, for what and why was is denied?
10 Don’t be shy!
Don’t be afraid to ask – about anything! Buying a property is a huge investment, so you want to make sure you get it right.
Happy House Hunting!