Questions To Ask An Estate Agent When Buying A Property
When buying a new property, it’s imperative that you find a place that you can love, be comfortable in and call home. And the way to find that perfect place is to ask the right questions from the beginning of the process. This could be the difference between a dream home and disaster home – and perhaps saving you a small fortune along the journey.
Did you know that an estate agent is legally bound to tell the truth? So, it can sometimes come down to knowing the right questions to ask, to get the right results.
What questions could you ask to get the answers you need to find your dream property?
Why is the vendor selling?
You’re not being nosy – it’s always a good idea to know why the current owners want to move. An estate agent doesn’t have to answer this question but sometimes you can work around this. Is the vendor desperate to sell? Do they have family they want to be closer to? Are they moving overseas? A lot of these questions can mean that the sellers may be open to offers in order to sell quicker. Understanding their reason can benefit your situation.
How long has the property been on the market?
This is an important question to ask any estate agent as it will indicate how popular a property is, if there’s been much interest, or if it’s been on the market for a while – why? This question could lead to others along the line of finding out if there is structural damage, whether the price is too high or the perhaps it’s not in a great location – all reasons for a property to be on the market for a longer period of time.
How long has the owner lived in the property?
This question may not seem important, but the answer could possibly come down to some deciding factors. Either the sellers have not been in the property long and want to move due to problems, or they have been in there for years and the property is in need of complete renovation.
Although not problems in themselves, it’s worth asking the question to establish what work you may need to undertake or what problems there may be surrounding the property if you moved in.
What are the neighbours like?
It’s only natural to be interested in who you’re going to be living next door to. Is it a family, students, an older couple? The estate agent may not know but it’s worth asking. Having good neighbours is important to feeling relaxed and comfortable in your new home. The last thing you want is to be stressed by noisy disruptive people banging on the walls when you’re trying to settle in!
Is the property part of a chain? How quickly can you move?
The ‘chain’ is the link of buyers and sellers within the transaction of the property move. Sometimes there can be just the two properties, other times there can be a string of properties involved. The shorter the chain, the quicker the moving process will take. If there is a longer chain, there is always the risk that something may fall through, or someone might pull out, meaning that you’ll be waiting for that particular property to find a new buyer.
Cash buyers are good to have as part of the chain as they are not dependant on mortgages and are often ready to go straight away.
What’s included in the sale
Best to check what’s included in the sale of the property before making assumptions. This can go from anything inside or out.
Don’t take anything for granted, that nice new shed in the garden may not be there when you get to moving day, so always ask beforehand if you’re depending on fixtures or fittings.
This can also apply to the white goods within the kitchen / utility areas, i.e washing machine, built in fridge freezers, cookers etc.
Are there good amenities / local area
You may love the property, but if it’s not close to what you need in a local community, will you manage? Are there local shops to be able to grab essentials? Schools / pubs / cafes / supermarkets / post office? What is it that you need nearby? If you like the new property, go for a walk or a drive after the viewing to see how close your amenities are in proximity to the property.
Is there or has there been any signs of damp?
Check through the home thoroughly whilst looking around, damp is often covered up by furniture or a lick of paint, but damp usually leaves behind an odour, so keep a nose out for that. There may also be cracks or leaks within the property. Ask if the estate agent knows of any past problems with the guttering or damp issues, sometimes these can be a bigger and more costly jobs that first suspected.
Is the property listed
This will be an important factor if you’ll be considering structural changes once you’ve moved in. If you find out after you’ve purchased the property that it’s listed, you may not be able to make the changes you were counting on.
Once you decide to go ahead with a sale, this will be answered in a structural survey but if you’re seriously considering the property at first glance, ask the estate agent at the beginning to help you with decisions.
Can you try the taps?
This may sound a silly thing to do but testing the taps will test the water pressure in the property which could be potential problems later down the line once you’ve purchased the property. It could also prove plumbing issues that could cost money. Check now, turn the taps on and flush the toilet, how much does the water stop the flow of the taps / does the cistern fill quickly?
When you go to view a property, always have a list of questions that you think you may want to ask. Be prepared! Buying a property is a big thing, you want to make sure you get it right and make the process easier from the start.
If you’re a first-time buyer and would like guidance or assistance on buying a property, we’d be happy to help. Feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have.