Questions you should always ask when buying a house!

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Whether you are first time buyers or not, as well as doing your own ‘area investigation’ there are always questions you can ask that will help you decide if the house you are looking at is the house for you!

  1. How long has the property been for sale?

This is a massively relevant question as it can answer a number of other questions such as whether the property is priced correctly, if it’s in a bad location, or structurally un-sound. This is compounded if the property has been on the market for 6 months or more, and would set alarms bells ringing.

 

  1. How long have the current owners lived there?

This can be a double-edged sword. On one side if ownership has changed a few times over several years, it will again set alarms bells ringing as to why? On the other side if an occupant has been there for many years I would look at an enhanced survey to make sure there are no hidden maintenance issues.  Either way it’s a question that must be answered.

 

  1. Has the house recently had any major building work completed?

Apart from the survey that will need to be completed, it is wise to ask this type of question, just in case it is something that you may need to know at a later date.  As an additional point, estate agents must by law, declare any ongoing issues with the property prior to purchase, as the previous owners are not liable once the sale is complete.

 

  1. Are you part of a chain?

You need to be really careful here as this could hold you up on the sale for some time.  If the seller IS part of a chain, then they may be looking to sell quicker than someone who is not (try a lower offer alert!). If the seller is not part of a chain, then it depends on the people buying your house as to how long the process takes. This may even be influenced by who is buying their house and so on and so on. Find out the length of the chain in front of you and behind you to see if there are any potential weak links?

 

 

  1. What are the running costs of the home you are about to buy ?

Imagine buying your dream car and not being able to afford the insurance or put fuel in?  It is the same with the house of your dreams!  Making sure you can afford to run your new house comfortably means that you can pay all your bills and put some money into the property to maintain it properly.  Ask how much the current owners pay in council tax and utility bills to give you an idea.

 

  1. Who or what lives next door?

The current owners may love their neighbours, or they may dislike them so much they want to move to get away from them! The best way for you to decide on what they are like is simply to knock on the door and introduce yourselves!

Explain that you are new to the area and wanted someone’s opinion as to what it is like locally. You will get an idea of the local area and be able to ‘sound out’ the neighbours without telling them that you are checking them out!

Also, try and visit the area at least once on an evening or weekend to see how things are at night or during a Saturday or Sunday. You will find out a lot by doing this and may give you an insight as to what you will be living with in your neighbourhood.

 

  1. What type of property is over the fence?

When you are at the rear of the property look over the fence of both neighbours to see what is there. If it looks like flats or rooms or maybe if the garden is unattended, then ask the vendor to confirm how many people live next door. If a property has been split into flats or rooms then a living room could be next to your bedroom so be aware!!

 

  1. Does the area have good local amenities?

Driving around the local area prior to your viewing may give you a good idea as to what you have locally on your doorstep, but if in doubt ask the vendor and your estate agent.

Just to make sure you don’t have a two mile walk for a pint of milk and a packet of crisps!

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