Personal Law

10 Questions to Ask When Buying a House

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, January 12, 2021

When looking to buy a home, there’s plenty of research you can do yourself. From finding out how long a property has been on the market (check the online listing for the date it was added) to how many crimes were reported in the area (the online police crime map), you can rule properties out without even having to see them.

But there are some things only the listing estate agent – or seller, if you’re buying it directly – can tell you about a home you’re considering.

Here’s our list of some of the most important questions to ask when buying a house.

1. Why is the owner selling?

Although they might not tell you if they’re selling because the neighbours keep throwing all-night parties, they may share that they’re moving to a new region – or even abroad – for a new job. This can help you figure out if they’re desperate to sell and might then accept a lower offer.

2. How long has the owner lived there?

If they just moved in a couple of years ago and already want to sell, there may be a potential issue with the house or the local area. But you could also find that owners who have lived there for decades may have let maintenance standards slip.

3. Have there been any offers?

If you ask, estate agents are legally required to tell you how many offers have been made on the home. They may not be required to tell you how much any offers were for but they might give you a hint so you know what to offer.

4. What exactly is included with the property?

To avoid frustration when you’ve moved in, make sure you find out exactly what’s going to be included with the property – from the shed in the garden to the dishwasher in the kitchen. You can even go as detailed as including the light fittings.

5. Are the owners in a chain?

If the sellers are part of a home-moving chain, you run the risk of more complications than if they’re not. The more people involved in a chain, the higher the chance something could go wrong somewhere and delay your move.

6. How old is the boiler?

The older a boiler, the more likely it is to suffer a problem. Check how old the boiler is and whether it’s been serviced regularly. You could even ask to see the servicing certificates to make sure they were done professionally.

7. What are the neighbours like?

You may not get an honest answer if you ask this, but you can find out yourself. Knock on some doors and speak to the local residents to get a sense of what they’re like. Ask if they’ve had any problems with any of the neighbours.

8. How much are the monthly bills?

The mortgage won’t be the only expense when owning a home. You can ask what the monthly running costs are to make sure you can afford the home when you move in. These can be substantial so it can be helpful to know what they are before making an offer.

9. Are there any planned developments nearby?

You’ll want to know if a development is going to begin when you move in. This could mean unpleasant noise and disruption, as well as an unwelcome obstruction to the view. On the other hand, it could mean more amenities. Either way, it can help you make a decision.

10. How did you come to the asking price?

If you can get the estate agent to give you their reasons for marketing the home at that figure, you can decide whether or not it’s worth it. You can also use their reasoning against them if you want to negotiate the price down.

When you decide that a property is right for you, you’ll need a conveyancing team to help you buy it. First4Lawyers works with top-rated solicitors who can make the process as straightforward as possible.

Use our simple conveyancing calculator to find out how much you can expect to pay in legal costs.

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