Help with buying a house: 10 questions to ask on a viewing

Help with buying a house: 10 questions to ask on a viewing
No matter how many times you convince yourself that everything you want to ask an estate agent on a viewing is locked inside your head, when you arrive your heart will take over.

It's extremely easy to get caught up in how a property looks and makes you feel and all of a sudden, that list of important questions you made in your brain disappears without trace.

So, like anything property-related, it pays to plan ahead and prepare when you are looking to buy.

Here are 10 questions you should be asking when you view a property for the first time...

10 useful house viewing tips

1. Why is the owner selling?

Of course, the agent isn't obliged to answer this as the reasons the vendor is moving could be personal to them.

But knowing why someone is selling up can be useful to know.

It can reveal how keen they are for a quick sale, which could open the door for you to negotiate a lower price.

2. What items are included with the property?

Again, this can help with negotiations when you come to make an offer.

For instance, if a seller is playing hard ball with their asking price, ask if they would include white goods in the sale, in which case you will offer higher.

3. How long has it been on the market?

You should be able to find this information out from the property portals, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, but it's worth asking the agent, too.

And a property that has been on the market for more than three months is definitely worth looking into.

Ask the agent for their opinion on why the property has not sold.

Perhaps it's overpriced, or your enquiries may reveal another reason why it has not sold.

In either case, having this information can help you decide your next move.

4. How long have the vendors lived there?

Again, this is important information that can give you a far better idea on a property's suitability.

If the sellers have only owned the property for a short period of time, then this could be a concern as there may be a problem with the property or neighbours.

5. How many owners has the property had?

Even with a period property that has been in place for many, many decades, a large number of owners in that time can set the alarm bells ringing.

If you can't count the average property's owners on two hands then you might wish to delve deeper.

Ask the agent if they can find out why the previous owners moved out.

6. How did the agent and vendor reach the asking price figure?

A good estate agent will be able to back up a property's asking price with reasons why.

They should know the local market conditions and figures that similar homes have sold for in the area.

Asking this question, though, could provide you with a great bargaining chip if the agent feels the property is slightly overpriced.

7. What is the lowest offer the seller will accept?

If the agent knows the seller (and they should) then they should have an idea how low they would be prepared to go.

It might seem a little cheeky and blatant asking a question like this, but if you don't ask then you'll never know.

8. What modifications have been done at the property?

The last thing you want to do is buy a property where work has been done without planning permission.

This does happen from time-to-time and isn't as far-fetched as it may seem.

And if you buy the property and the authorities later discover a planning faux pas, it will be your responsibility to sort it out.

If work has been done, ask the agent if you can see the planning documents.

9. How much are the council tax and utility costs?

Notwithstanding the amount you could end up paying for the property, it's also important to know what your monthly outgoings will be when you move in.

Again, the agent should know which council tax band the property is in and the annual bill, while they should also be able to give you an idea on the costs of electric and heating.

This information will help you establish if the property is affordable.

10. Is the seller buying another property?

This is an important question to ask as it will go some way to helping you establish if you are going to be in a long sales chain.

If you have a property to sell and the vendor is buying another home, there could be a long chain forming which can sometimes break down during the sales process.

Find out as much as you can from the agent about the seller's intentions.

Questions to ask when viewing a flat to buy

As well as the above questions, be sure to ask the agent about things like ground rent and service charges when buying a flat.

You should also try to find out more about who owns the freehold and whether they are likely to allow pets or subletting of rooms, for instance.

If you are looking for a property to buy get in touch with your local Parkers branch who will be happy to help you find your dream home.