Questions You Should Ask When Viewing Property
If you are not an experienced house hunter, viewing a property can be a nerve wracking experience – and you mind might go blank at the crucial moment the estate agent asks if you want to know anything anything.
Even seemingly perfect properties can harbour nasty shocks – from the Council Tax payments, to a problem with the structure which might have been patched up and covered over for the sale.
Here are some vital questions to ask when viewing a property, if the particulars do not answer it.
- Why is the vendor moving and how long have they lived there/ rented it out?
- What maintenance has been needed recently?
- What maintenance has been carried out since the vendor moved in?
- What are the utilities bills like?
- How old are the boiler and radiators?
- Some homes may have storage heaters, rather than gas central heating – as these can be expensive, ask how much the electricity bills are.
- What fixtures and fittings are included (eg carpets, cupboards, shelving etc – some vendors take anything not nailed down, including lightbulbs)
- What are the Council Tax and water rates each year (Council Tax should be in the particulars)?
- What are the neighbours like?
- If there a garden or outside space, is this communal or does it belong to the flat/house?
- Are there any issues with crime or antisocial behaviour (such as noise from a pub) in the area? Is there a Neighbourhood Watch, which can cut crime rates in an area.
- If the property does not have a garage or parking, ask about parking in the area.
- Ask about transport – trains, buses, etc?
- Are there good doctors, dentists, vets etc in the area?
- How soon does the vendor want to move?
- Has the vendor already found another property?
If you think of a question you would have liked to have asked at the viewing but did not, you can always contact the estate agent or vendor afterwards – and don’t be afraid of asking questions about the property which may seem obvious, as it is important to make sure you have a complete picture before you make an offer.
Once you have made an offer and it has been accepted, the conveyancing process gets underway and the vendor’s conveyancing solicitor will send your conveyancing solicitor a Home Information Pack (HIP) which will give more information about the property, such as energy ratings and maintenance issues, as well as an inventory of fixtures and fittings which will be included in the asking price – plus the lease for your conveyancing solicitor to check, if the property is leasehold. You can withdraw from the sale up to the time contracts are exchanged and the deposit is paid.