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First Time Buyer Questions To Ask When Viewing A House

Property Saviour » First Time Buyers » First Time Buyer Questions To Ask When Viewing A House

Buying a house can be a nerve-wracking experience, particularly if it’s your first time or you’re unsure of what you need. Knowing which questions to ask when purchasing a property will guarantee you’re as ready and informed as possible.

At Property Saviour, we are experienced property buyers.  In this guide, we’ve listed all the questions you should ask during the purchase.

Table of Contents

House Viewing Checklist for Buyers 

Finding the perfect property can be a challenge, but it is possible to find one that’s perfect for you. To help you decide whether or not to make an offer, create a checklist with the following points.

Questions to Ask When Viewing a House 

As a first-time buyer, you probably don’t know which questions you should.  Whether you are buying with friends or buying a couple, here is a list of questions you should ask:

1. Why is the owner selling?

When looking at a property to buy, one of the first questions to ask the estate agent is why the owner is selling. If you’re lucky, the estate agent might provide insight into the vendor’s situation.

This can be beneficial when negotiating the price. For example, they might be motivated to sell quickly due to a job taking them overseas. If that is the case, they may be willing to accept a lower price. Make sure to ask this question when viewing or buying a house.

Finding the perfect property can be a challenge, but it is possible to find one that’s perfect for you. To help you decide whether or not to make an offer, create a checklist with the following points.

Externally:

  • Is the building structurally sound?
  • Do the external doors lock securely, and are the windows double-glazed?
  • Is there a burglar alarm?
  • Is there off-road or allocated parking?

Internally:

  • Are there enough smoke alarms?
  • Has the gas and electricity been recently tested and certified?
  • Is the property big enough for your needs?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Are there any signs of damp or mould?

Kitchen:

  • Are the cupboards in good condition?
  • Are the built-in kitchen appliances (e.g. oven, extractor fan) working?
  • Are any other kitchen appliances included in the sale?

Bathroom(s):

  • How long does it take for hot water to come through?
  • How strong is the water pressure in the shower?
  • Is the silicon sealant watertight?
  • Is there enough ventilation to prevent damp or mould?

Bedroom(s):

  • Is the size of each room adequate for its purpose?
  • Are any fixtures or fittings (e.g. curtain rails, carpets) included?
  • Are the walls and carpets in good condition
 

Garden:

  • How much work or maintenance is required?
  • Is the garden overlooked by neighbours?
  • What direction does the garden face (south-facing gets the most sun)?
 
Legal Items
 
  • What is the council tax band?
  • Is the property leasehold?
  • If so, what are the costs?
  • What is the EPC rating?
first time buyer questions
Knowing which questions to ask when purchasing a property will guarantee you're as ready and informed as possible.

2. How long has the property been on the market?

If a house has been up for sale for a long time—especially longer than three months—ask the estate agent why it hasn’t been selling. Find out if there are any problems other people have noticed that you haven’t. Ask if they’ve received a bad house survey.

Ask the estate agent if anyone else has made an offer and why they pulled out.

It could be that there’s nothing wrong with the property, and it’s just overpriced. In this case, a long time on the market might mean the seller is willing to accept a lower price.

3. Has the property’s value changed recently?

It’s easy to find out how much a property’s value has changed in recent years. Just visit the Land Registry sold prices website. Before you go, make sure you know the prices of similar homes that have been sold nearby.

When you get there, ask about any fluctuations in the property’s value, especially if it has decreased.

4. Has the property repeatedly changed hands?

It’s essential to ask if the current homeowners are moving out soon and why. If the house has had multiple owners, be wary of any potential issues. Reach out to the previous owners and inquire why they left.

To get the best possible understanding of the property, get multiple quotes for a survey.

What is the minimum house sale price the seller will accept
Knowing whether the sellers have another home can give you an idea of how eager they are to move.

5. What is the minimum price the seller will accept?

Asking if their bottom line is negotiable could save you thousands and stop you from wasting time going back and forth with the estate agent and vendor.

Estate agents often give you an indication – they are keen to sell, even at a lower price, as they won’t get their commission if the property doesn’t sell.

6. Have the sellers found a new home?

Knowing whether the sellers have another home can give you an idea of how eager they are to move.

If they have, they may be more motivated to sell quickly.  But be careful as you don’t want to get stuck in a property chain.

7. Have the sellers had any offers?

The estate agent can tell you if there have been any offers, but not how much was offered. However, they have a vested interest in getting a price agreed, so could give you some hints. Knowing about other offers makes it easier to decide how much to offer.

Why are the owners selling up?
Research the local schools, the crime rate, transport links, supermarkets and petrol stations.

8. What is the local area like?

Research the local schools, the crime rate, transport links, supermarkets and petrol stations. Ask the estate agent, but make sure you do some independent research too.

9. What local plans could affect the property?

Consider whether local plans could influence the property. If you’re viewing with an eye to the view of the fields, for example, you’ll want to know if there are plans for a housing development.

Ask now, or you might not hear about it until your conveyancer returns the local searches.

10. What is the property's tenure?

Is it leasehold or freehold? This is an important question for the estate agent and should be clearly stated in the property listing. Most flats in the UK are leasehold, which means you own the property subject to the terms of a lease. You should find out how many years the lease is and what service charges apply.

If the property is leasehold, you will usually pay more in conveyancing fees, so it is important to find the best conveyancer for the best price.

If the seller has lodged any formal complaints against their neighbours, they must tell you if you ask and disclose them on the TA6 form.

11. Do you have noisy neighbours?

This is a question that can have a great impact on your quality of life, so ask the estate agent as well as the seller.

Noisy neighbours who party into the early hours of the morning will disturb your quality of life.

If the seller has lodged any formal complaints against their neighbours, they must tell you if you ask and disclose them on the TA6 form. Ask this question at the outset when viewing and buying a house.

12. What is included in the sale?

It’s a good idea to ask the estate agent what’s included in the sale. Are the garden shed and greenhouse included? How about fixtures and fittings? Where exactly is the boundary? Make sure you know exactly what you’ll be paying for.

Further details about fixtures and fittings will be given later when the seller provides your solicitor with the T10 form.

Meanwhile, estate agents are obligated to provide you with information that could significantly affect your decision to go ahead with the purchase. Still, it’s wise to ask now.

13. Have they carried out any refurbishment?

Have the owners got the relevant planning and building regulation consent? If not, this could lead to delays, and you may need to purchase indemnity insurance. You can search online for planning applications (both granted and refused) on the local planning authority website.

A building survey and your conveyancing solicitor checking that all permissions are in place should offer reassurance.

14. Which way does the property face
If it is in a conservation area, check what restrictions apply. Ask if there are any restrictive covenants in place, as this may limit your actions in your new home.

14. Which way does the property face?

Enjoying evening drinks on the terrace won’t be as pleasant if the house faces north and the sun has already set.

To wake up to the sun, make sure the property faces southeast. What rooms will you be using the most and which direction do they face?

15. Is the property listed, in a conservation area, or subject to any covenants?

This is an important question to ask when viewing or purchasing a house. If the house is listed, you may be subject to significant restrictions on what you can do both to the outside and inside.

If it is in a conservation area, check what restrictions apply. Ask if there are any restrictive covenants in place, as this may limit your actions in your new home.

16. How old is the property?

Knowing the age of a property is useful to know but upkeep of an older house can be more expensive.

How much is the council tax and other utility bills
The property's council tax band should have been included in the listing, if not, ask. You can also ask to see utility bills or wait for your conveyancing solicitor to get a copy later.

17. How much is the council tax and other utility bills?

Make sure to ask about the cost of living in the new home. The property’s council tax band should have been included in the listing, if not, ask. You can also ask to see utility bills or wait for your conveyancing solicitor to get a copy later.

18. What is the water pressure like?

Ask to try the taps and flush the toilets on the viewing. Poor water pressure can be difficult to fix.

19. How is the broadband and signal in the house?

Ask the estate agent what they know about local broadband providers and mobile signal in the house. Check Ofcom’s broadband and mobile coverage checker for more information.

What questions to ask when buying a house UK
Ask about any issues with the boiler, when it was last serviced, and when it was installed.

20. Have there been any problems with the boiler?

Ask about any issues with the boiler, when it was last serviced, and when it was installed.

21. How new are the drains and guttering?

Replacing drainage can be expensive, so check for any leaks when it is raining.

22. Have any of the rooms been recently redecorated and why?

Be suspicious as people may cover damp or cracks with paint.

Can you move the furniture and have a peek under the rugs
Make sure to check for any cracks in the walls or flooring problems that may be covered up.

23. Can you move the furniture and have a peek under the rugs?

Make sure to check for any cracks in the walls or flooring problems that may be covered up. It is best to get an independent survey once an offer has been accepted.

24. Can they explain the Energy Performance Certificate?

The rating on the Energy Performance Certificate – which indicates how energy-efficient the property is – can be influenced by a range of factors. Has loft insulation been installed? Is there double glazing? When were these features added? Are the pipes insulated?

25. Can you speak directly to the sellers?

Agents may not like it, as it is their job to negotiate, but they can’t stop you from speaking to the sellers, which could be a great idea. Most sellers are like you – not industry professionals – meaning they often answer questions honestly.

This also gives you a better feel for the house – ask them about their best and worst points. Plus, speaking directly to the sellers can speed up the purchase.

Is the Property the Best One for You?

Asking the right questions is the key to understanding if a property is what you thought it was and if it’s the one for you. Knowing the answers to your questions will give you the confidence to act quickly and ensure you don’t miss out to another buyer.

Property Saviour are expert property buyers.

If you have enjoyed this article, do us a favour and share it on social media and in property discussion groups.

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