Before you step foot into a potential new home, it’s essential to arm yourself with the right questions to ask when viewing a house. When you meet with the estate agent, take advantage of the opportunity to gather valuable information that will help you make an informed decision:
It can be tough to know what to look for when viewing a property! First-time buyers in particular might not be aware of all the different elements to consider.
Since there are so many things to consider, we’ve broken it down for you here with some ideas of questions you can ask when viewing a house:
Questions to Ask the Estate Agent when Viewing a House
Here are some essential questions to ask the estate agent when viewing a house:
1. How long has the property been on the market?
Start by asking about the property’s history and how long it has been on the market. This will give you an idea of its popularity and any potential negotiation room.
If the property has been on the market for anywhere between 3-6 months then ask the agent why?
It could be that the property was overpriced in the first place and may have had a price reduction. Have there been any offers made during its time on the market that have been rejected, if so try and gauge why? It may be that an offer had been accepted but for some reason, the deal fell through. Perhaps a property survey had revealed some inconvenient truths.
These answers could leave an opening for your negotiations and present you with an opportunity to secure a good price if you decide this property ticks all the boxes.
2. Has anyone made an offer on the property yet? If so, what was the offer and why was it turned down?
Understanding whether there have been previous offers on the property gives you insight into the level of interest in the property. It can also indicate how competitive the market is and help you gauge the property’s desirability. If multiple offers have been made, it suggests a high demand, which could influence your negotiation strategy or timeline for making an offer.
Knowing the details of previous offers and why they were rejected can provide you with valuable information about the seller’s motivations. It may reveal aspects of the property or the seller’s situation that could influence your own offer strategy.
3. Has the property been relisted or reduced?
Finding out whether the property has been relisted or if there have been price reductions can offer insights into the property’s history on the market. It could indicate potential issues with the property or the seller’s motivation to sell.
4. How did you arrive at the asking price?
Understanding the rationale behind the asking price helps you evaluate whether the property is priced fairly. It can also give you an idea of the seller’s expectations and whether there is room for negotiation.
5. Have you sold any other properties in the area? If so, what did they sell for?
Learning about the agent’s track record in the area can provide you with confidence in their knowledge and expertise. Knowing the sale prices of similar properties in the vicinity can help you assess the property’s value and make a more informed offer.
6. What’s the area like?
In addition to the property itself, it’s important to consider the wider surroundings. Ask the estate agent about the local amenities, such as schools, shops, and transportation links.
Find out about the neighbourhood and its character. Is it a quiet residential area or a bustling community?
What are the neighbours like? The answer to this question will likely be a positive one. However, be aware that any neighbourhood disputes (past or present) must be disclosed to you.
Are there any upcoming development plans that might affect your decision? By delving into these aspects, you’ll gain a clearer picture of the lifestyle the area offers.
You can change many things about a property but not its location. Even though the seller, or their agent, can offer some valuable first-hand information on local schools, transport connections, local amenities, shops, it’s important to combine this with your own research.
A Move iQ property report can help you know any property instantly, just enter the postcode select the report based on the information you want, and you will have all you need at your fingertips.
7. Why is the seller moving?
One of the main reasons people move home is because they run out of space. If this is the case be alert to the amount of storage in the property, if it looks limited is there room for you to add some additional storage? Perhaps the sellers are moving for personal reasons and might be interested in negotiating to accommodate a fast sale.
8. How long have the owners lived there?
Perhaps the seller has lived there for a number of years, loves their home but needs to downsize. If this is the case then who they sell to might be important, so being charming about their home could go in your favour.
If the seller has lived there for a relatively short space of time then this should set off alarm bells. Have they had neighbour issues? Has a recent planning application been granted that could be detrimental to the property? Are there building works nearby? Or is there an issue with the property itself? Either way, you’ll want to find out.
9. What’s the Energy Performance Rating (EPC)
Another crucial aspect to discuss is the property’s energy efficiency. Inquire about the insulation, heating systems, and any energy-saving features. This will not only help you understand the environmental impact but also provide insights into potential utility bills. It’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the property’s ongoing costs to help you determine if the property is affordable to you over the long term.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives a home an energy rating, based on its energy efficiency. The energy certificate will give your property a rating from A (highly efficient) to G (inefficient). The UK average is D.
Having an EPC is a legal requirement for all domestic properties that are built and up for sale or rent in the UK.
The energy efficiency rating will let you know how costly the property is to run and inform you of any money-saving methods that can be implemented.
10. Has the property been renovated?
You should also inquire about any recent renovations or repairs that have been carried out. Are there any issues with the building? the vendor and their estate agent, are legally obliged to disclose any issues with the property to you.
Understanding the condition of the property will allow you to assess whether it meets your expectations.
Perhaps there’s been an extension, conservatory, or new roof. Find out what’s been done and when and ensure any necessary paperwork is in place and to hand. These kinds of things can massively slow down the conveyancing process if a vendor is not organised.
Questions to ask Sellers When Viewing a House?
When it comes to the seller, focus on their personal experience of living there.
If you’re lucky enough to meet the seller (not every seller wants to be there when potential buyers are looking around their house) be ready with your list of viewing questions that only they can know the answers to.
Ask them questions about living in, and running the house, for example:
- Can you give me an indication of your monthly running costs?
- Have you done any renovations since living here? If so, are there certificates for the work?
- What are the neighbours like?
- If you were staying at the property is there anything you would do to it?
- What are the best and worst things about living in the property?
- Are there any known issues with the building?
- Why are the current owners selling?
- How long have the owners lived there?
If a seller seems unwilling or reluctant to answer any questions, this should send some alarm bells ringing. However, they (or their agent) are legally required to disclose all information. So its worth pursuing with their agent even if they aren’t very forthcoming.
Questions to ask about the property itself
It’s a good idea to research the area surrounding the property, as well as the property itself. You can find many of the answers to questions about the property online and it might help if you walk around the neighbourhood, or at least visit the property at different times of the day.
Questions to ask about the property itself when viewing a house:
- Is the property listed and/or does it stand in a conservation area?
- Is the property share of freehold
- Is there any off-street parking?
- If parking is all on-street, how easy is it to get a spot and what does it cost?
- How busy is the road?
- How much does the property cost to run? (Utility bills and council tax etc.)
- Have any insurance claims been made relating to the property itself? If so, what were they for?
- How much did the property last sell for? And when?
- Have prices gone up sharply in the area or down? Is there a reason for this?
- Which direction does the property face?
- Is it a nice neighbourhood, how well maintained are the neighbours properties?
- Are there trees in the garden or in front of the property which could cause problems?
- How energy efficient is the property?
- Have there been any recent renovations?
- Is the property structurally sound?
- How old is the roof? Is the attic in good condition?
- How much storage space is there?
- How noisy in the property?
- If the house is on a private road who pays for maintenance?
Don’t forget to research the area
We’ve all now heard the phrase ‘location, location, location’. It’s true – it is all about location! When buying a home, researching the local area is essential.
You could have the most fantastic property, but if it’s on the worst street, you won’t enjoy living there.
It’s better to have the worst property on the best street, because you can always add value through refurbishments.
- What are the local facilities like?
- How good are the transport links?
- What shops are nearby?
- How good are the local restaurants?
- Are there any good pubs nearby?
- Which schools are the property in the catchment area for?
- What are the local crime statistics like?
- What leisure facilities are nearby?
- Are there any parks, playgrounds, leisure centres, sports clubs etc?
- How fast is the internet in the area?
A Move iQ property report helps you form a rounded opinion on the suitability of a specific property you may be considering.
Questions to ask when viewing a flat
Purchasing a leasehold property, such as a flat or apartment, should be something you enter into with your eyes wide open. Once you have agreed to the terms of the lease, there is little room for negotiation afterwards.
Do your homework and find out as much as you can about the lease and the freeholder beforehand. The last thing you want, after spending so much money on a property, is discovering that there are serious works that need doing to the property.
Ensure you ask:
- Who owns the freehold?
- How long is left to run on the lease?
- If it’s a shorter lease length, what would be the cost of extending it?
- What are the annual costs i.e. service charge and/or ground rent?
- How often are maintenance works carried out on the building?
- Does everyone in the block split the cost of repairs equally? If not, who pays what?
- When were the common areas last refurbished?
- Are there any works planned for the near future?
- Are other flats lived in by tenants or owner occupiers?
- What’s the parking situation? Is there any at all?
- Do you have access to any storage space, such as an attic?
- Are you allowed pets?
- Is there a lift?
- Who is the managing agent?
- How good is the sound proofing?
This might seem like a lot of information to gather, but you need to ask these questions to gather as much information as possible.
Create a viewing checklist when viewing a house
We understand that it can be tough to know what to ask when buying a house. So, we’ve put together a checklist of questions to ask when buying a house as part of our moving home toolkit, so you can tick them off as you go!
Ask all the ones included, plus any extras you think of when you’re there. Every property is different, so you might notice something during the viewing, inside or out, that you need more details about.
It’s worth noting down the answers to important questions, such as any major maintenance works that are required. Particularly if you’re viewing more than one property at the same time, it helps to have a record!
A viewing checklist might sound extreme – but you can never be too thorough.
Questions to ask when buying a house
If you’ve gathered all the necessary answers to the questions during your viewing, and the property seems right for you, it’s time to get the ball rolling on buying it!
But, the questioning is far from over! Time to double-check a few details:
Here are some things to ask when buying a house:
- What’s the deal with fixtures and fittings? What’s included in the sale, and what’s being taken?
- Is the seller in a chain?
- When does the owner want to move and are there any potential complications in the chain?
- Is there room to negotiate the house price?
- How much is the council tax?
- Is anyone else interested in the property?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are some important questions to ask before buying a house. You’re about to part with a huge about of money, so ensure you know everything about the property.
Top 10 mistakes buyers often make when looking for a property.
When searching for your dream home, it’s important to avoid common pitfalls that buyers often fall into. By being aware of these mistakes, you can make a more informed and confident decision. Here are the top 10 mistakes to steer clear of when looking for a property:
1.Neglecting to set a budget:
Establish a clear budget early on to ensure you focus on properties within your financial means.
2. Skipping the pre-approval process:
Get pre-approved for a mortgage to helps you understand your borrowing capacity and strengthen your position when making an offer.
3. Overlooking location considerations:
Don’t just focus on the property itself; consider the neighbourhood, amenities, and proximity to schools, work, and leisure activities.
4. Rushing the decision-making process:
Take your time to thoroughly evaluate each property, considering factors like size, layout, condition, and potential for future growth.
5. Ignoring future needs:
Think ahead and consider whether the property will accommodate your long-term plans, such as family expansion or working from home.
6. Forgetting to inspect the property:
Arrange a thorough inspection to identify any potential issues that may require costly repairs or renovations.
7. Not asking the right questions when viewing:
Engage with estate agents and sellers to gather vital information about the property’s history, maintenance, and local surroundings.
8. Failing to consider additional costs:
Look beyond the purchase price and factor in costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, moving expenses, and ongoing maintenance.
9. Letting emotions cloud judgment:
While it’s natural to feel excited, it’s important to balance emotions with rational decision-making to avoid overpaying or settling for a property that doesn’t meet your needs.
10. Neglecting professional advice:
Seek guidance from experts such as estate agents, solicitors, and surveyors to ensure you make informed decisions based on their knowledge and expertise.
By being aware of these common mistakes and taking a measured approach, you can navigate the home buying process effectively and increase your chances of finding a home that meets your requirements. So, remember to take your time, do your research, and trust your instincts.
If you’re buying a new house, it’s important to do as much research as possible. While it’s important to ask certain questions, a property report will be able to give a full and detailed picture of an area, including property price estimates, local crime rates, information on local schools and transport links. Get a property report here.
No such thing as too many questions
From the seller to the estate agent, you can gain a lot of information from the different people involved in the house sale. So, your list of questions when viewing a house can never be too long.
Remember, this is your chance to gather as much information as possible to ensure you make the right choice. Don’t hesitate to ask the estate agent any additional questions that come to mind during the viewing. By doing so, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to evaluate the property’s suitability for you and your lifestyle. So, embrace your curiosity and make the most out of your house viewing experience.
You’ll want to ensure you’re armed with as much knowledge about the property, and its surrounding area, before you buy. Leave no room for withheld information or omitted details.
Why property questions are important
Whether it’s your first-time or not, knowing how to view a house is essential. The key is to get as many details as possible.
Things to ask when viewing a house include questions about the property structure, the asking price and the surrounding area. Never rush into making an offer before gathering all the necessary information.
Particularly if this is your second viewing of a property, the answers you receive will determine whether or not you choose to go ahead with the sale.
Don’t be made to feel like you’re prying! You’re potentially about to make the biggest investment of your life, so you’ll want to know as much about it as possible.
Need a mortgage advice?
Before viewing a house, it’s important you know whether you can afford it. We recommend that you speak to a mortgage adviser first. Get a mortgage quote from our trusted advisors using the link below.
Last Updated: November 29th, 2023