Buying a house is likely to be the most exciting, but stressful, times of your entire life. Along with not knowing whether you’re making the right decision with regards to the exact property, you may worry about failing to spot key issues until you’ve got the keys.
Although estate agents are legally obliged to tell you the truth about the property you’re interested in, you may be required to ask them direct questions in order to find out important things that could later become a problem.
In this guide, we’ve shared six questions that you should ask your estate agent when buying a property to avoid being left with a home that doesn’t fit your requirements:
1. Why is the owner selling this property?
A key question, this will allow you to understand why the current owner is moving away from the home. Reasons such as moving to another location or downsizing could mean that there’s nothing to worry about, but asking your estate agent this question should allow you to get to grips with any important issues they haven’t told you beforehand.
2. How long have the previous sellers lived here for?
A home that has only been in the hands of the seller for a matter of months can be a bad sign. Having a property that has changed hands repeatedly in a short period of time could indicate that there’s a problem that cannot be fixed, such as bad neighbours.
3. How long has the house been on the market?
If the house has been on the market for several years, there may be an obvious issue that you haven’t yet spotted. New homes that are entering the property market could also have issues, but a property that is failing to sell after being advertised for a long period of time is usually a major cause for concern.
4. Is there much interest in the property?
The chances are, if more people are interested in the same property that you’re viewing, it’s a sign that it could sell fast. Other buyers in a similar issue may not have also spotted any potential issues.
5. What is included in the sale?
You never want to be in a situation where you don’t know what you’re paying for – or what your payment includes. For this reason, always ask your estate agents exactly what is included in the sale of the property. Think about furniture, garden spaces or sheds so you can protect yourself against paying more for these items if they aren’t already included.
6. Is the house freehold or leasehold?
Depending on the type of property that you’re viewing, you may need to ask which type of hold the property is under. This can be either:
- Freehold: Usually for homes, this type of agreement means that you own the entire building and the land that it is built on. You do not have to pay ground rent and you have sole responsibility for the upkeep of the building.
- Leasehold: Common with flats and apartments, leasehold properties have an agreement whereby the building owner allows you to lease the plot for a specific number of years. You may also be required to contribute towards the upkeep of the building or annual ground rent.
This question is extremely important as it may restrict you from carrying out the plans you had for the property. For example, a leasehold apartment may only last for 40 years so if you’re purchasing the home with the hopes of keeping it for a longer period, there’s a risk of it not being possible.
If you’re struggling to find a suitable property that fits all of the boxes outlined in this viewing a property checklist, don’t worry. Rushing into the purchase of a home that doesn’t fit your needs will be costly in the long-run, so be patient and keep looking until the perfect one comes up!