What to ask when viewing a property

When you’re buying a new home, especially if it’s your first, it’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement of imagining yourself living there and how you’d position your sofa, but when you’re investing a large amount of money it’s important to be sure you’re purchasing something that meets all of your criteria and won’t come with any unwelcome surprises, such as renovation costs, further down the line.

To help, we’ve highlighted the key areas that you should be asking questions about. This list isn’t exhaustive and there might be other things you want to add, but use it as a starting point to create your own list you can take along to your viewings and you won’t go far wrong.

What’s the area like?

If you’re going to be buying a property then the area that you’re going to be living in for the next few years is important. If you can you should take a look round the neighbourhood before the viewing to see if you can imagine yourself living there.

  • Do you like the street the property is on?
  • Is the area quiet/noisy?
  • Is there lots of traffic around?
  • What amenities are close by?
  • What are the neighbours like?

General information about the house

  • Where is the TV Aerial?
  • Are there phone sockets and how many?
  • Has the house got any outdoor space?
  • Do you legally own the driveway?
  • What’s in the loft space? (remember to ask to view this too)
  • What’s the water pressure like?
  • Are all the light switches and sockets working?
  • What work have the owners had done? Are there receipts and guarantees?

What work might be required when you move in?
A lot of these questions will be covered in the home report, but it’s always worth having a checklist!

  • How old are the drains and guttering?
  • Has there ever been an issue with damp?
  • When did the electrics last get rewired?
  • What type of boiler does the house have and how old is it?
  • When did the boiler have its last service and does it have a guarantee?
  • Are there any loose or missing tiles on the roof?
  • What’s the plumbing like?
  • Does the heating work?

How much will it cost to live there?

  • What council tax band is it in?
  • How much are utilities in an average month?
  • Are there any service charges and ground rent? If so how much are these?

And don’t forget…
Ask some polite questions about the owner’s situation and where they are in the selling process

  • Why is the owner selling?
  • How long have they lived there?
  • Have they already found somewhere else to live?
  • What is all included in the sale? Are there any white goods, fixtures or fittings included?

Asking these questions might also uncover other valuable information about the property. Remember to be friendly while asking though; if you build up a rapport with the owner it might help you win the house if they have more than one offer to consider.