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Questions to Ask When Viewing Property

by Sarah Halloran

If you have moved home before then you probably have a good idea of what questions to ask.  For first-time buyers, it can be quite daunting viewing the first few properties and can take a few viewings to find your feet when it comes to asking questions and finding out more about the property.  Being prepared will ensure you find out as much as possible before you make an offer and that you avoid any nasty shocks or surprises in the future.

Asking the right questions can help you to save money too.  For example, if you ask about the state of the roof and you’re told it needs repairs, you can often knock some money off your offer to account for this work.  You should also ensure you opt for a sufficient survey to get an idea of the costs of repair work.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the vendor.  They are hoping to sell their property as quickly as possible and should be willing to help wherever they can.

Key Questions to Ask

The more questions you can ask the better.  Take a list of questions with you for the first few viewings – you’ll know these off by heart before you know it and start thinking of other questions to ask as you go to more properties.  Of course, you might be lucky enough to find your dream property straight away in which case it’s essential that you get all the answers you need.  Also, if you think of any additional questions once the viewing is over you can get in touch with your estate agent for advice.  You can also arrange a second viewing.

These questions are designed to act as a guide.  As you walk around a property you will no doubt think of specific questions to ask too.

One of the most important questions to ask is about the chain and how many people are involved.  Most house sales involve at least two other parties, but if you are a first-time buyer you are in a great position as the chain ends with you and should make the moving process a lot quicker and easier than if you had a property to sell.

Ask about council tax bands and how much the monthly payment is currently.  Council tax payments vary wildly from property to property and location to location.  Knowing how much you will be paying before you move will help you to budget accordingly.  You should also ask about utility bills too as these can often be an eye-opener.

If you notice anything as you walk round such as problems with damp, the heating or any other major defect, make sure you ask about it.  You can always ask the estate agent too so that you get a professional opinion.  Again, anything major will be reflected in a property survey should you wish to place an offer.

Ask how long the property has been on the market.  If it’s a long time, think long and hard about the property and look at it with new eyes.  Is there anything apparent that is stopping it from selling.  Right now however, the property market is dictating longer selling periods so you might find this is the case with a lot of properties you view.

Ask about the neighbours and immediate area.  If, when answering your questions about the neighbours, the vendor looks shifty, there could be cause for concern there.  Many people choose to move because of noisy or nightmare neighbours and you certainly don’t want to move if these problems are going to be waiting for you!   Ask about the parking situation too and how many parking spaces you have allocated.

Ask if any other offers have been made.  This can be helpful if you have fallen in love with a property and can help you to get the upper hand on other interested parties.

The more questions you can fit in the better!  And don’t forget, you can arrange a second, third or even fourth viewing if you like.  This is the biggest investment you are going to be making in your life so there really isn’t any such thing as too many questions.

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