Buying a house is a big commitment and it’s important you have thought of all the important things before you go forward with the purchase. We Buy Any House have created a guide for you that covers the most important questions you should ask before you buy a house, so you can get a full understanding of the property.
What is included in the sale?
Sellers will sometimes include items that they do not want to take with them. Kitchen appliances such as fridges and washing machines, and furniture like tables and cupboards are common items where the seller may want to avoid having to arrange someone to pick them up and remove them.
You will probably be able to get some good items at a very low price, if not for free, this way so well worth having a conversation with the seller. On the other hand, if you do not want any of the items they are leaving, make sure your clear about this so they know they must remove any items before you move in.
Have there been any problems?
Houses usually have a variety of issues over the years, many of which will not be obvious when you spend 20 minutes initially looking around. Make sure you ask the current owners about any previous issues with the house. they may not always tell you anything, but if you put them on the spot their answers are likely to be more truthful. There could have been damaged from previous fires or flooding if the house is near a river or canals, which you will want to know about.
How old are the components?
You will be able to work out the rough age of some of the permanent fixings such as the boiler, the bathroom suite, and the roof, but it is worth asking when they were last updated. The boiler and roof can be expensive to replace so it is good to know how long you have before you will need to spend money on them. If the house is new, get the details of the warranty, so if you do have any issues, you know what to do.
Why are they moving?
This can produce some insightful answers. If the seller is relocating and they have an onward purchase, they are likely looking for a fast sale and could be willing to accept a lower offer, if you can complete the sale quickly. If they are moving because they have had issues living in the area, or if the house is too small, you will want to consider this before going any further.
The chances are they will not be completely honest with you, as they will be focused on getting their house sold. However, if they do not answer the question, you may want to do some more research into the area to ensure there are not any clear reasons which would be an issue for you if you buy it.
How long has the house been up for sale?
If a house has been on the market for 3 months or more, there may have been a lack of interest in it. It could be its priced too high, although it also could be because they have had a few offers fall through. To find out the exact reason it is worth asking the agent to get an insight into the history of the properties marketing. Make sure you do a thorough look around the house to identify any problems that other people have seen in the house that you have not.
Have there been any other offers?
Ask the estate agent if anyone else has put a bid in for the property. If you ask this question early in the viewing, they may not be expecting it, and you may get a more truthful answer. This could give you an indication of what offer the seller is likely to accept.
What council tax band is the property?
Council Tax bands can differ significantly from area to area, and you want to get a good idea of what your total monthly outgoings will be before you move in. Find out which band the house falls in and make sure that you are happy with it. If you are not, this could cause you issues down the line as you will be paying these costs every month.
How much are the utilities?
Like the above question, you will want to find out the energy performance of the property you are viewing. Every property has an energy efficiency category, which will give you an indication of your likely monthly bills. Generally, newer properties will be more energy efficient. You can then factor these costs into your monthly budget, along with the council tax.
What is the area like?
You will certainly want to carry out your own research on the area to look into local amenities, what the schooling is like and possibly things like crime rate. This is also a good question to ask the agent who likely knows the area well and can give you some additional information on it. Ask questions about noise levels at different times of the day, and what traffic is like. Living in an area that does not fit with your lifestyle may cause you issues in the future.
Are there recent renovations?
If there has been any extensions or renovations in recent years, get the contact information from the seller. This way if you are serious about buying the property you can contact them if there are any issues in the future with these. They will more than likely be able to rectify any issues easier than someone brand new.
These are some of the most important questions to ask when going to a viewing, but there are many more. Make sure you spend a good amount of time with the agent or seller if you are serious about making an offer on the property.