Questions to Ask When Buying a House

When you decide to buy a new property, excitement or even nerves can take over. But it’s important that you remember to ask the right questions before going ahead with your purchase.

In this guide, we’ve explained what to ask when buying a house and how you can get the most out of your property viewings. Keep reading to find out more.

What questions should you ask when buying a property?

You’ll want to gather as much information as you can about any property you’re thinking of buying. After all, it might become the place you call home in the not too distant future. Here are our top 10 questions to ask an estate agent or owner before you make your offer:

  1. How long has the house been on the market?
    If the property you’re looking at has been on the market for a while, there could be issues that have put other potential buyers off. You could use this as an opportunity to pull out of the process or to try and negotiate a lower price. But remember to take the wider housing market into account, as this will also affect how long a property is taking to sell.
  2. Why are the current owners selling?
    Your estate agent may be reluctant to answer this question, as it could reveal a problem with the property. But it is always worth asking. You could also follow up by enquiring how long the current owners have lived in the house. If it wasn’t long, there could be a deeper issue.
  3. Has there been much interest in the property?
    Your estate agent will usually let you know if there have been any offers made on the property you’re interested in. This can give you a good idea of how popular the property is and how quickly you need to move if you decide to go forward with a purchase.
  4. What is the local area like?
    It’s difficult to get a feel for a place after just one visit. So we’d always suggest asking your estate agent what they know about the area, as well as doing your own research. Take a walk around the neighbourhood and pop into some of the shops or cafes to see what they’re like. You could enquire about local schools if you have children, or what the crime rate is like.
  5. How old is the property?
    When a property is older, there could be more cost involved in its upkeep. You should also find out how old certain appliances and features of the property are – things like the boiler and roof. These are factors to consider when you’re looking at an older house.
  6. Have the sellers already found another property?
    Being involved in a chain can delay the process of buying a house significantly. But if the sellers of the property you’re interested in have already found a new home, it could speed things up and reduce any uncertainty around the purchase.
  7. What will be included in the sale?
    Before you make an offer on a property, it’s important that you know what will be included. The sellers of the property may decide to take fixtures like kitchen units or appliances with them, so it’s best to find this out as soon as possible.
  8. How much will council tax and other utility bills cost?
    Your estate agent should be able to tell you how energy efficient a property is, which could make a big difference to the amount you pay in bills each month. You should also ask what council tax band the property is in before making an offer.
  9. Has any work been done to the property?
    If the current owners have renovated the property, you should try to find out if the relevant planning permission was granted. If it wasn’t, you could find yourself in a worst-case scenario where part of the building needs to be knocked down after you’ve moved in.
  10. What do the neighbours think?
    This isn’t essential but speaking to people who live near to the property you’re looking at could give you a better insight. You could ask what their favourite thing is about living in the area, or if there’s anything they struggle with – such as noise pollution or littering.

Questions to ask when buying a new build house

If you’re thinking of buying a new build property, there are some additional questions you might want to ask, including:

  1. When will the property be completed?
    If the new build development you’re looking at hasn’t been finished yet, you should ask for a completion date before committing to anything. This date might be an estimate for now, but it will help you get a better idea of when you could potentially move in.
  2. Is there a management company?
    New build management companies are responsible for maintaining communal areas within the development. This can include footpaths, roads and any green spaces. There is usually a fee charged for this, so you should try to find out what this is before making an offer.
  3. What sort of parking arrangements are there?
    Having sufficient space to park is extremely important if you have more than one car, or if you’re hoping to have regular visitors at your new home. Make sure there will be an assigned space for you, and try to find out if there will be an additional charge for this.
  4. Can I book a pre-completion snagging survey?
    A lot of developers won’t allow potential buyers or surveyors to access a property while it’s still undergoing construction. But it’s always worth asking the question, as it could help you to identify any problems early on.
  5. Are there any plans for developing the local area?
    It’s not uncommon for new build developments to be constructed in stages, rather than all at once. So you could find yourself living in a busier area than you first expected. For this reason, we’d always suggest asking the developer for their programme of works.
  6. Will I be able to choose my exact property?
    Which property you live in will determine how close you are to entrances and exits, bin stores and nearby roads. So it’s important that you know exactly which house you’ll be moving into.

Whether you’re buying a new build or an older property, an experienced conveyancing solicitor can help you navigate the process. They’ll take on all the legal work involved, reviewing your contracts and raising any issues.

To find out how we could help you, get in touch with us on the number at the top of the screen or start your enquiry online.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


It seems you are using an outdated browser.

This will impair your browsing experience around the web. Please visit one of the links below to update to a modern browser then re-open the site with the new browser.

Thank you


Can't find what you are looking for?

We are open as normal during the Coronavirus lockdown and are able to help with all your legal needs.

Call us free of charge

0800 567 7866

Request a Callback

Continue browsing