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Essential Questions To Ask When Viewing A Property To Buy

hackney estate agents - realtor and young couple

Buying a house is an exciting time, and also a huge decision to make. It can be easy to become swept up and emotionally invest in a property that looks ideal from a distance, but it’s essential to remain objective and consider the cold hard facts. 

If you are too easily swayed by a beautiful bathroom or a spacious garden, it may lead you to overlook factors that will cause you to regret your decision. Without carefully weighing up all the pros and cons, you can have a costly and time consuming mistake on your hands. 

Of course it may not be possible to anticipate every detail, but preparing some questions to ask the estate agent during the viewing will stand you in good stead. Here is some key information to enquire about.

Why is the owner selling?

Knowing the reason for the sale can put you in a better position when it comes to making an offer. For example, if the vendor is moving for a job, they may be keen to sell the property as soon as possible and may be willing to accept a lower offer. A convincing reason for selling is reassuring that there is not some hidden problem with the property.

How long has the property been on the market?

If the property has been for sale for more than three months, it could be a sign that potential buyers are being put off by something. It may also mean that the property may be overpriced.

Have there been any previous offers on the property?

The estate agent is obliged to tell you about any previous offers that have been withdrawn or not accepted by the seller. If a previous offer has fallen through, try to find out the reason. It could have been an issue that came up on the survey, for example.

Who are the neighbours?

The estate will usually ask the vendor some general questions about the neighbours, as viewers often enquire. Noisy or antisocial neighbours can be a red flag, particularly in a flat, terraced house or a semi. The vendor is legally obliged to disclose any formal neighbour disputes on the TA6 form, but it’s also worth making your own enquiries. 

What is the local area like?

Estate agents should be knowledgeable about the local area and ready to answer your questions. Make a list of your priorities, such as good schools, shops and services, access to transport, and the crime rates. 

How old is the boiler?

Boilers are an expensive investment, and if the current boiler is over ten to 15 years old, it is likely to be inefficient and less reliable. Therefore you may need to factor in the cost of replacing the boiler into your offer.

Are there any local plans that might affect the property?

If your property is near an undeveloped area of land, it is worth finding out if any planning applications have been made that might affect your view, or cause months of noise and disruption.