House hunting is a mammoth task for anyone to undertake with dozens of different things to take into account when viewing a property. That’s before you even get to the viewings themselves, where you are essential being sold something very expensive, with not a lot of time to properly inspect the actual product.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking at new property developments or are interested in purchasing an older house, there are certain questions you should always remember to ask before putting in an offer.
What is the area like?
Unless you are moving into a neighbourhood you are already familiar with, it is always worth asking what the are is like, especially when it comes to things like noise levels, neighbours, and the local crime rate. It is also worth asking about schools in the area, even if you don’t yet have children. Not only can this affect the house price, should you choose to sell the property in the future, but it’s always good to know that there are highly-rated schools in the area if you do decide to have children.
What exactly is included in the sale price?
Often, sellers and estate agents aren’t as clear as they could be about exactly what is included in the sale price of the property. This is usually a grey area as there is no defined list of things that mustbe left in a house, however, most sellers tend to leave major fixtures and fittings such as lighting and any custom items like fitted wardrobes. Generally speaking, sellers won’t bother removing these, but it is worth asking about less permanent features such as small furnishings, accessories, curtains, and carpets.
Elsewhere on the property, it is also worth asking the estate agent about any garden furnishings you have your heart set on, to ensure that these are part of the sale rather than a feature simply added for showings.
How much are the bills?
The potential cost of your utility bills and Council Tax will be a substantial part of your monthly outgoings so it’s worth factoring these in before you have your heart set on a certain property.
How old is the roof?
No matter how solid the roof looks, you never truly know state its in until you have it looked over. With the cost of a new roof averaging out at £5,000, it is prudent to check how old the current one is, as they generally have a life expectancy of a couple of decades. After all, the last thing you want after a larger purchase like a home is to find yourself in need of a new roof. Even if you don’t need to replace the entire surface, a single missing or slipping tile can cost between £100 and £300 to repair.
How long has the property been on the market?
In the current property market, houses can be snapped up in a matter of days in popular areas. While this doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with properties on the market longer than this, you should be wary. If the house you are looking at has been available much longer than other properties in the area, you need to ask yourself if it’s a hidden gem or if there is a genuine reason why it has yet to sell.
Of course, this isn’t a definitive list, so make sure you ask plenty of other questions too when you are viewing properties, in order to avoid any nasty surprised further down the line. While this can be uncomfortable if you are being shown around by the owner, it’s better to ask these awkward questions now than paying the price for not asking further down the line.