There are copious amounts of things to think about when you are viewing a house, it can leave it difficult to think of everything. We have compiled a checklist of questions to ask and things to look for when attending a viewing to make sure your dream house is the real deal!
Questions to Ask the Estate Agent
- How long has the property been on the market?
- What are the current offers?
- Why is it on the market?
- When was the property constructed?
- Are there any management fees?
- Is there any planning permission on the property?
- What exact area/land comes with the purchase?
- What contents are included in the purchase?
A property that has been on the market for a long time may leave more room to negotiate a lower price – however, it is also worth considering why the property hasn’t already been sold, so ask about the previous bidders. When viewing a house, ask the agent about the current bids in order to get an understanding of the level of interest.
Properties can go on the market for a diverse range of reasons. Enquiring about this may give you an idea of the area, for example; if the seller was only living in the property for a very short period of time, this may indicate a problem with the area and/or perhaps they couldn’t keep up with the expenses required with the property if there are repairs needed. Learning when the property was constructed can also give you an insight into potential expenses, as an older build may need updating and more frequent repairs.
It is essential for you to understand the management fees associated with a property and when and how they are paid. Ask the estate agent what exactly these fees go towards so you know what tasks you will have to undertake yourself.
Having approved planning permission on a house can increase its value. Enquire about this and get the estate agent to show you the plans as they should have them on file. If it is something that you would like to go ahead with, then make sure you consider the costs with your budget.
It is always important to know exactly what you are buying. Ask the estate agent to confirm precisely what land and building(s) are included in the purchase. It is also useful to ask them for a list of contents included with the property to help with budgeting costs.
What to Look for on the Exterior of the Property
- Check all windows, locks, and doors
- Look for cracks in the walls
- Check the roof
- Check the garden and the perimeter/fence
- Look at the space available for off-street parking
- Is there potential to extend?
- Are there additional access points to the garden or property?
Make sure everything is functional, and prepare to add up estimated repair costs for objects that need attention. Repairs to, or even replacing, doors, windows, locks, and roof tiles can be costly. Furthermore, cracks in the walls might need immediate action to prevent damage spreading to the interior.
If the property has a garden and/or walls and fencing, they should be secure. Check the garden is an appropriate size, has a favourable aspect, and can accommodate an extension if required. Look at the space available at the front of the property and check the entrance is secure, and also that there is adequate space for parking.
Any additional access points to the building and garden should be examined to determine how they are used, and above all if they are safe. Another important point on your checklist for viewing a house; ask the estate agent if they are shared and, if so, what rules and agreements are in place. If possible, get these agreements in writing.
What to Look for in the Interior of the Property
- Are all of the lights switched on, or is there good natural lighting?
- What is the aspect of the rooms?
- Is there a security system?
- Is all of the accommodation in the property compliant?
- Are the boiler and fuse box in good repair?
- Ask for the BER rating and certificate
- Check all floorboards, walls, windows, doors, and ceilings for possible repairs or signs of damp
When you are inside the property, pay attention to the lighting. Do they have all of the lights turned on, or is there enough natural light getting in to the building without the need for lights to be kept on all day? The aspect of the rooms and positioning of windows will influence this. Changing the positioning of windows may require planning permission.
A lot of homes will have a security alarm installed. Check when it was last serviced and whether it is connected to the phone line. If you are viewing an apartment, the complex may have their own security team who oversee all of the apartments. Ask about what services they provide so you know how you can report incidents, problems, etc.
Some properties may have converted attic space in to additional bedrooms which can be an excellent use of extra space. However, make sure that these rooms are compliant as sometimes there is not enough ceiling clearance.
Always ask to look at the boiler and fuse box to ensure they are in good repair. Ask when they were installed and when they were last serviced. Likewise, the Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate should be available to see. Obviously grades A-C are most desirable, but consider whether you can fit additional costs into your budget that can go towards improving the energy rating of the property.
Ensure there is no damage to the floorboards, walls, windows, doors, ceilings, and power sockets. Look behind furniture to see if anything is covered up. Furthermore, it is imperative to check these areas for signs of damp. As with the exterior, all doors and windows should be functional on the interior.
We have included these points in our viewing checklist to make sure that the house is in good repair, and that you consider any works and fees with your budget. However, these are in addition to your liking of the property.
View the property more than once and write out a checklist and questions for the selling agent each time. If possible, arrange your viewings for different times of the day to get a better feel of the property.
If you are unfamiliar with the area, drive around it at various times of the day and week. See where your closest amenities are, where public transport links are located, and how long your commute will be.
It can understandably be a challenge to remember everything when attending a viewing and the amount to take in can be rather overwhelming. A buyer’s agent knows exactly what to look for at these viewings.
Here at Eldron, we will accompany you to viewings and make sure the right questions are asked. We can provide unbiased advice on a property and assess, above all, how well it suits your needs. As well as considering possible repairs and/or renovations, we will be able to know if the property is overpriced. We can handle the negotiations on your behalf and ensure you don’t pay more than is required for your dream home.