When you’re buying a property, whether you are a seasoned property investor, a first-time buyer or somebody looking to move up or along the property ladder, there are always a few questions on your mind, that you need answers to. The trick is knowing which questions to ask, who to ask them to and when to ask them.
I think you can safely say that if you’re dealing with an estate agent, they won’t necessarily volunteer information so it is up to you to extract information from them, or if you’re viewing the property with the owner, try and build a good rapport and use that opportunity to find out as much as you can about their property and reasons for selling. It can sometimes turn into a game of psychological chess, and the financial stakes can be very high!
To help local homebuyers navigate their way through this exciting time for them, we have compiled a short list of questions that may help when making offers, as the more information you have about a particular property, the more informed your decision whether or not to purchase it will be.
Some of the following information is available online, and a quick Google search will throw up a surprising amount of valuable data and information. However, if you can get thorough, detailed answers to these types of questions, you will be in a much stronger position when it comes to making your offer.
1. Why is the property owner selling?
2. What exactly is included in the property sale? (ie any appliances, curtains, blinds, light fittings)
3. How long has the property been on the market?
4. Have you had much interest so far, many viewings and/or offers?
5. How long have the current owners lived there?
6. How many times has the property changed hands in the past 5/10 years?
7. How did the estate agent arrive at the asking price? What/where are the local comparable properties?
8. Is it possible for us to speak directly to the seller?
9. What are the sellers timescales for moving out?
10. What improvements have been made to the property in the last 5/10 years?
11. Do you know the council tax band, current utility suppliers and whether there is a water meter?
12. How old is the boiler and do you know if it’s been serviced annually?
13. What can you tell me about the local neighbourhood, schools, bars, restaurants and travel times to the nearest towns?
14. Do you know what the neighbours, immediate local area is like?
Having the right kind of property specific information on which to base your financial decision can be the difference between buying the home of your dreams that you will love living in, or buying a total liability that you will not enjoy living in, and that could take you years to put right, cost you alot of money and then give you real problems when it comes time to sell on.
We recommend you put in as much of the hard work as possible before you buy, and 100% you should visit the property on different days, at different times and maybe even again on weekends, to assess for yourself the significant matters that are never listed online by estate agents, such as potential street specific parking issues, local traffic levels/noise and even where the sun rises and sets?
That way, you can hopefully relax and enjoy your new home with total peace of mind!