Property viewings

Property viewings

August 24, 2022

Essential questions to ask when looking for a new property

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, moving home into something bigger or planning to downsize, buying a property is a major financial and emotional decision to make. And, as they say, knowledge is power. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re asking the right questions.

Home viewing questions checklist

It’s easy to get swept up in the rush and excitement of looking for a new home. When you’ve found a place you like, it can be easy to get carried away. But knowing what to ask could save you from heartache later.

That’s why we’ve pulled together this helpful checklist of essential questions to ask when viewing a property.

Is the property leasehold or freehold?

Did you know there are two main types of property in the UK? They’re called ‘freehold’ and ‘leasehold’, and the difference between them determines how much of the house you actually own and how much it’ll cost. When you buy a freehold property, you own the property and the land it sits on. When you buy a leasehold property, you own the property but not the land.

What is included in the sale?

You’ll want to know what you’re getting for your money. The sale may include extras such as garden sheds and other fittings and fixtures. Are white goods or furniture included in the sale? Is the washing machine included in the sale? Are the carpets staying? You don’t want to turn up on moving day to discover the previous owner has taken everything, including the light bulbs.

How long has the home been on the market?

If the house has been up for sale for a long time, this could mean the owner is having trouble selling it. Has the property been up for sale for a while? It’s worth finding out why. You might even be able to get a lower price if it hasn’t managed to sell for a few months. Anything over three months could mean that the owner might accept a lower price. It’s worth asking.

Why is the owner selling?

It’s always good to understand why the current owners are looking to sell. If they’re in a rush to move on, you may even be able to haggle a lower price.

Have any other offers been made or even accepted?

If someone else has made an offer, this could make things more competitive for you. Are you going to be getting into a bidding war with someone else? Knowing this can help you decide whether this house is the one for you. Your estate agent should be able to advise on a counter-offer if you really want to buy the home.

When do the sellers have to move out?

Do they need to move out quickly? The sellers may be open to lower offers if so.

What is the minimum price the seller would accept?

Sometimes the price you see online or in the brochure can be negotiated. Do you know if the seller is willing to think about a lower offer? If they’re in a hurry to sell this could actually be a good deal for them. It’s good to know from the outset whether there’s any wiggle room on the price. It could end up saving you thousands in the long run.

What are the bills and council tax band like?

It’s important to take your monthly expenses into account when buying a house. You’ll want to know the tax band and utility bills so you can make sure you can afford the monthly costs.Water, council tax, electricity and gas are all important monthly costs on top of paying back your mortgage, so you could get a feel for how much these are by asking the seller. You can also check the home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). If the score is low, it means the property could cost more to heat and run. Double glazing or loft insulation could improve the rating, but these can be expensive improvements.

What are the neighbours like?

Noisy neighbours can spoil a perfectly good house. Are they loud, do they have a lot of parties or do they have a dog that barks a lot? This could be a bit of a nightmare if you enjoy your beauty sleep or have children, so it’s one to consider. Find out as much as you can about the people who’ll be living around you.

What is the neighbourhood like?

It’s not just about the home you are looking to buy. As the cliché goes, it’s also: location, location, location. What are the crime levels? What are the local schools like? If you have children or are planning on starting a family in your new home, you could ask to see if there are any suitable nurseries or schools nearby. Is there public transport close by? Are there any building developments you should know about? Is a new school, bypass or airport being built nearby? All of this plays a part in the bigger picture beyond the house itself.

How long have the owners lived there?

If they’ve only been there for a year or two, they should be able to tell you why they want to move so soon. It could be a simple change in lifestyle, or their family has outgrown the house. You can always ask, but it’s up to them if they want to tell you. A house that changes hands constantly may suggest an underlying problem. It’s good to find out how long the owners have lived in the house.

When is the seller looking to move?

If you’re in a hurry to move home, it might not be ideal if the seller can’t move out for another four months. On the other hand they may be looking to move out quickly. Do the timings work with your plans?

How old is the property?

Is the property listed? Listed properties may restrict how many changes you can make to the house. It’s also worth knowing that not all home insurance providers will insure listed properties. So, find this out early on.

Will you need a parking permit?

On-street parking can be pricey and mount up over time, so if the area has free off-street parking that can be a nice bonus, and help keep your regular costs down.

Has any planning permission been passed or applied for?

A two-bedroom house might suit you right now, but what if you decide to extend your new home in the future? The owners will know if any planning permission has been previously refused, and why.

How old are the drains and guttering and are there any problems with damp?

If you are not buying a new property repair work to these kinds of issues aren’t cheap. So, it’s good to know about any potential issues that could arise further down the line.

How old are the boiler and electrics?

Replacing an old boiler or electrical circuit could cost thousands, so this could impact your budget down the line. Could the property’s age end up costing you more down the line? It could be worth thinking about.

Want to talk to us about comparing mortgage deals?

Are you looking to open the door to your new home? We’ll help you find a mortgage that’s right for you and guide you through the process. To discuss your options, contact The Official Mortgaeg Company – telephone 01777 809700 – email


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