First-time Buyers

Ask these 10 questions on your next property viewing

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

You don’t get long to look at a home and make a potentially life-changing decision, so make every minute count by asking these 10 questions

Spring is one of the peak periods for the property market, with demand usually running high compared to the winter months.

But when you view a property you typically only get 20 minutes or so to look around. And then you’re expected to make a huge decision about whether you want to buy it.

That’s why it’s important to make notes and take pictures on your property viewings. It can also pay to ask the right questions of the seller or estate agent to get all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Anna McEntee from Comparethemarket has published a list of vital questions for house-hunters to keep in mind when viewing a property to help you find your dream home in time for summer.

“Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve been through the purchase process before, viewing a potential new home can be an exciting experience”, she said.

“However, purchasing a property is a big investment – and commitment – so, it’s crucial that prospective homeowners ask all the right questions when viewing, to ensure they’re making the right decision.”

10 questions you need to ask

Below are Anna’s 10 crucial questions to ask when viewing a property:

1. How long has the house been up for sale?

The answer to this question can potentially be quite revealing. If it’s been on the market for upwards of three months, something might be putting buyers off – it could be the price or it could be something less obvious. Have a word with the estate agent to find out more.

2. How long have the sellers lived there?

A property that’s only been lived-in for a short time before it was put back on the market could be a red flag. The reasoning behind the sale could be perfectly innocent but it’s worth investigating either way.

3. Is there a chain?

This’ll tell you how long the whole process is likely to take. If the current owners haven’t yet found a new place or are in a chain, you might want to keep looking elsewhere, depending on your ideal timeline.

4. What’s the area like?

Schools, parks, transport links, and leisure facilities are a few of the things you want to ask about. You can of course find out a lot from your own research but someone who’s lived there before will be able to give you a better insight into the feel of the area.

5. What work has been done on the house?

If major renovations have been done, you should ask to see builders’ receipts, guarantees, and proof of planning permission. If an extension has been built without planning permission, you may have to tear it down. It’s also a good idea to ask about any damp issues or flooding they may have had in the past.

6. What’s included in the sale?

Find out exactly what’s included in the sale. You should ask whether fixtures and fittings, garden sheds and greenhouses, and the satellite dish will be left for you.

7. What internet access is available?

If the house is located in a rural area, you’ll want to know what types of broadband you’ll have access to. An ultra-fast connection may be especially important if you or someone in your household works from home.

8. Can you turn on the taps?

Low water pressure is one thing but a tap that only lets out a trickle could be an indicator of a larger problem. Pay attention to how long it takes for hot water to come through, find out the age of the boiler, and ask when it was last serviced.

9. What are the neighbours like?

Even the most perfect property can be tainted by a bad neighbour. Sellers are legally obliged to tell you if they’ve had any past disputes with the neighbours, so it’s definitely a good idea to add this on your list of questions to ask.

10. How much are the council tax and utility costs?

It’s good to understand potential outgoings of a new home, so it’s worth asking for rough costs of council tax and utility bills. It’s also a legal requirement for sellers/estate agents to share the EPC rating, so request this to understand how energy-efficient the property, as that will impact energy bills.