Before buying a property, it is key to make sure you know everything you possibly can. Every property has its own little quirks and the commitment of buying your first house can be particularly daunting. To save you the hassle, we’ve come up with eight questions that all first-time buyers should ask at a viewing…
Why are the current owners looking to sell the house?
It’s good to have an understanding of why the home is up for sale; this will help when it comes to making an offer. You will know if they are just putting the house up for sale to gauge interest, or if the sellers are looking to move quickly.
If they are looking for a quick sale, there is an opportunity to offer a lower price, especially if you have a mortgage in principle and no chain.
How long has the house been on the market?
The amount of time a property is on the market varies depending on local price, demand and the type of property. Sometimes the property may be on the market for months. Once it’s been on the market for a while, you could have the opportunity to negotiate on the asking price, unless it has been reduced recently.
Has the property had any work done on it?
It is key to have a full structural survey completed on any property you’d like to purchase. It’s worth asking on the viewing if the house has been extended and how long ago that was. You could also ask if there’s any potential to extend the property. However, bear in mind this will need to go through planning permission to be approved. It can be a lot of work, but plenty of first-time buyers prefer the option of buying a cheaper property and taking on the project of renovating it.
How much will bills be?
Check with the agent if they know how much council tax is for the area. Likewise, your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), will be available on the listing; this shows how energy efficient the house is.
The EPC will tell you the current rating from A-G and the potential rating it could be if the energy efficiency is improved.
Is the property part of a chain?
This offers some bargaining power; if the seller has found their next home, they may be willing to accept a lower offer to ensure the move happens quickly.
However, if they haven’t, you might become part of a longer chain, so you need to consider how long you’re willing to wait.
Are there any issues in the local area?
Understanding the area is very important. Do your research. Visit the house and ask neighbours or other first-time buyers what they think of the area. Also, if you are new to the area and will be commuting by train or bus, try to visit the area both during the day and also at night.
Who are the neighbours?
Everyone will have their own preference; noisy neighbours who party may be unattractive to a buyer, but for others, it might not be such a big deal. Alternatively, a community with friendly neighbours may make up for any negatives a property has.
What’s the parking situation?
If your property does not have a parking space or garage, you’ll have to work out where you can park. Some people may need disabled parking spots and in these situations, you should contact the local council to make arrangements to allocate a space.