IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR ESTATE AGENT WHEN BUYING A PROPERTY
TOP TIPS – IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR ESTATE AGENT WHEN BUYING A PROPERTY
Buying a property can be a stressful minefield, so it’s important to ask the right questions about the property before entering into one of the biggest financial commitments one can make. It’s better to gain as much information about a property up front rather than finding out further down the line and potentially losing money.
- WHY IS THE OWNER SELLING?
It’s useful to find out why an owner is selling. Estate agents aren’t obliged to reveal this but it could be of benefit to you. It could be a simple reason such as having to relocate with work therefore you may find out that the owner wants a quick sale and potentially make accept a lower offer than the property is advertised for.
- HOW LONG HAS THE PROPERTY BEEN ON THE MARKET?
This is a good question to ask. If the house has been on the market for more than three months, it’s worth asking the estate agents opinion on why they think it hasn’t sold. Is there an issue with the house that other viewers have noticed? It could just be overpriced. However, it could work to your advantage if it’s been on for a while as the seller may be desperate to sell and will accept a lower offer.
- HOW WAS THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY DETERMINED?
The sign of a good agent is one who is open and honest. So, when asked how the value of the property was decided upon, they may talk about house values in the immediate area, local area sold prices and they may even disclose that they think the seller has overpriced the property. It’s always a good idea to do as much research of the local property prices. Portals such as Rightmove have detailed information at a buyer’s fingertips so take advantage of this.
- HOW LONG HAVE THE OWNERS LIVED AT THE PROPERTY?
Owners that have lived at a property for a good amount of time could indicate that they have been happy and content at the property and that it’s a good place to live. If the owners are moving after a short period then it’s a good idea to find out why. Have they had a dispute with neighbours? Ask about the neighbours either side.
- DOES THE SELLER HAVE A MINIMUM SALE PRICE?
It’s always a good idea to test the water and ask what’s the lowest the seller will accept. Estate agents will generally be open about this as they want to encourage viewers to put offers in and ultimately sell the house quickly.
- HAVE THERE BEEN ANY OFFERS?
An agent will happily tell you if there have been offers made on the property, but they are unlikely to formally tell you how much they were. If you suggest an offer they will probably hint that it needs to be higher as a previous offer that was lower was rejected.
- HAVE THE SELLERS FOUND A PROPERTY?
This is important because if they have a property to buy they will be eager to sell quickly. However, if they haven’t found a property this may cause a big delay in the chain.
- WHATS INCLUDED IN THE SALE?
Check up front what items are included in the sale. These could be garden sheds, freestanding ovens and curtain poles. You can then budget for the items you’ll need to buy later.
- WHICH DIRECTION DOES THE PROPERTY FACE?
The direction the property faces is important. You may be a sun worshipper or want evening drinks on the decking. A good tip is to re-visit the property at a different time of day to see where the sun is.
- HAS THERE BEEN ANY MAJOR WORK CARRIED OUT?
Always check that the sellers have the appropriate paperwork/Planning permission relating to works carried out such as an extension or loft conversion.
- IS THE PROPERTY LISTED OR IN A CONSERVATION AREA?
Checking if the property is in a conservation area or a listed building is essential as you’ll need to know about any restrictions that would apply. Renovation ideas that you may have will need permission and may even be turned down.
- WHAT IS THE NEIGHBOURHOOD LIKE?
Estate agent’s descriptions vary in their detail so in addition to what the details tell you about the property it is always best to do your own research in to an area you are considering moving to. Check out the local schools, crime rate, local shops and amenities and transport links.
- HOW MUCH ARE THE UTILITY BILLS AND COUNCIL TAX?
Ask the estate agent to find out how much these are as when creating a budget for buying the new property you can factor these in and not have any nasty surprises later.