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Questions to ask when viewing a house

So, you are buying a house and have arranged a few viewings, what should you look out for and what questions should you be asking? Well, we will be answering those questions in a little more detail so that you can view properties with confidence.

Let’s start with what to look for

Now this seems obvious, but it can often be overlooked; think about what you want from the property AND the location. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have been blinded by the property but when you move in, you realise that the area is unsafe with high crime rates. Always look at the wider location of the property you are viewing to make sure you will feel safe and that it suits your needs.

For families this may mean that you want a desirable park or school nearby, for a first time buyer you may want to be within walking distance to pubs, bars and restaurants, for elderly buyers you may want similar properties occupied by mainly retired residents or streets that are well lit with amenities close by.

As well as doing online checks, we suggest driving around the nearby streets at different times of the day (morning rush, school kick out times, late rush hour, evening) to see what is happening.

When it comes to the property itself, make sure it suits your needs. Are the bedrooms big enough for you? Are the living spaces and kitchen facilities sufficient for your needs? Can you picture how you would use the space on offer?

Questions to ask

Now, some questions you may want to ask will depend on your buying position but there are always a few questions that any buyer should ask.

  • How long have the owners lived in the property and why are they selling? There are all manner of reasons why people choose to move and most of the time it is a change in circumstances, however, look out for anything which could cause a red flag.
  • What is the area like? It is important to get a really good feel for the area and who better to ask than someone who lives there, although, as mentioned above, we suggest you carry out your own due diligence too.
  • What are the neighbours like? Again, you are looking for red flags here. It is important to remember that if they have had any disputes with their neighbours, they are legally obliged to tell you.
  • What work has the current owner carried out to the property and if they have the relevant certificates? There is nothing worse than viewing a property that seems to be finished to a high standard, only to find out when you move in that thing have been done on the cheap and you will need to rip it up and start again. Not all changes will need planning consent but most will need building control sign off so ask them if all works have been signed off. It is worth noting that your solicitor will also check for building control certificates when they request the searches at the legal stage.
  • How long has the property been on the market? In the current market where properties are selling quite quickly, it does raise questions if a property has been on the market for a long time. It could be as simple as the agent overvalued it but there could be more issues which lead on to the next questions.
  • Have there been any offers? This could lead to a series of further questions, for example, if there has been offers, why haven’t they been accepted. If there have been accepted offers, why did they fall through? Is there an underlying problem with the property? Most of the time there is a simple answer to all of these questions but you want to know as much as possible before submitting your offer.
  • What broadband is available? Most towns will now have access to high speed broadband but rural locations may still be experiencing low 3-6mb speeds. If you are working from home or have a family where multiple users are online, this may be a difficult point to overcome.
  • What is the mobile phone reception like? Given that many people are now deciding to do away with landlines, it is important that you have good mobile signal in your house. Don’t be fooled in to thinking that this is just a rural problem either, there are several parts of Grimsby where signal is appalling. Just have a look at your phone when you are viewing each property.
  • Is there a chain? You should always ask the position of the sellers, if there is a chain and what flexibility they have. Every buyer and seller’s situation is different and sometimes the position of the buyers and sellers can be more important the amount being offered.
  • What is the EPC score? OK, there is more to it than just the score, what you really want to know is if the boiler is efficient? Is there any insulation in the loft or walls? What improvement can be made to make the energy performance better? EPC’s have been overlooked for years now but as energy prices are increasing at a frightening pace, this could well be the most important thing that you consider in your next home.

We hope this has been helpful but if you have any further questions about this topic, or anything property related, feel free to contact us for more advice.

James, Meteor Homes

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