Buying a house is a significant life event. The hunt for the perfect house can be a long one, or if you’re luckily you might stumble upon your dream property on your first viewing. Everyone has a different story to tell when it comes to buying their first house. Then there’s all the paper work to sort, the solicitors to go back and forth with and of course, ensuring your mortgage is in place.
There are many loops to jump through before finally being handed your keys.
While we all want to get the process done with as quickly as possible it’s still important to make sure you don’t miss anything. My personal rule is to ask as many questions as possible. There’s no such thing as asking too many questions.
Some of these questions you should ask yourself, keep them in your phone and make a note as you look ’round a potential house. Others should be directed to the estate agent, the home owners or your surveying team.
Today I’ve teamed up with Your Legal Friend to highlight some of the questions you should be thinking about and asking when you’re buying a house. I’ll also be touching on hidden dangers to be aware of.
Why is the owner selling?
It might sound a little personal but the majority of the time you’ll get an answer. There are ways to fit the question in and remember, everyone else will be asking the same things.
We’re in the process of house hunting at the moment and have found that people are often moving onto a bigger property or out of the city. In some cases, people might be moving away for work.
This information can give you an insight into how quickly someone is hoping to sell their property. If they’re moving away for work or already have their eye on a property they might be willing to accept an offer.
It’s also useful to ask how long they’ve been in the property. It’s essential to be aware of potential noisy or problem neighbours.
What are the current offers?
This question will help you to know where you stand. You’ll be able to assess how much interest there is in the property and if you’re lucky, a ballpark figure of where to start.
It’s unlikely you’ll be given exact figures, but being aware of how many people are interested in the property and if the asking price has already been offered is handy.
How much is the council tax and the utility bills in the area?
This is just the same as renting. You’ll want to have an idea of what your monthly outgoings are going to be like before committing to any long-term purchase. Be sure to take into account the style of property. One with large ceilings or a front door opening into a lounge may take more heating to keep warm.
What will be included in the sale?
This is particularly useful if you’re a first time buyer. Will the home owner be leaving the shed, blinds or any of the white goods. It’s important to be aware of additional extras you might need to invest in when you may the big move.
Freehold or Leasehold?
Is the house leasehold or freehold. This is something we’ve come across a lot in Sheffield, not so much in Manchester or Norwich though. If it’s leasehold then you’ll need to get as much information as possible. Think; how often is the lease reviewed, how much can it increase by and how long is left on the lease.
Is there any damp?
You’ll notice this by the smell it gives off but also keep an eye out for watermarks on the ceiling and walls. You can ask if there’s been any previous problems with it in the property.
If you think you can smell damp then ask if you can lift the carpet or move furniture just to see if anything has been strategically placed to cover up.
Are their any hidden dangers?
If you’re buying an older property you’ll want to keep an eye out for certain problems. Many will be covered in your survey but it’s important to be aware and ready to ask questions. So be alert when it comes to structural issues like subsidence, poor electric wiring and plumbing. Don’t forget about asbestos too. If the property was built before the year 2000 it’s something to be aware of it. It’s also something which wouldn’t be included in a standard survey.
Asbestos is very dangerous when it’s disturbed. In the past it’s been used as fire protection, sealant, decoration and in materials all through a house. It’s also likely to be found within old sheds and garages. It my have been used in the walls or flooring. You won’t always be able to spot it so it’s best to have a proper test. There are a few tips on how to spot it and what to do over on the Your Legal Friend site. There’s also information on what to do if you think you may have become ill because of asbestos.
Which way is the house facing?
We all love to get as much sunshine into the garden as possible. So it’s always important to ask which way the house is facing, that way you can figure out which of the rooms and which parts of the garden which get the most light throughout the day. You could also try using this app.
How old is the boiler?
This is a standard question but you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to forget to ask this when you first viewing a property.
How old is the roof?
You wouldn’t want to move into your first house and then have a lot of work to do on it. Unless that’s part of your move, if so that’s very exciting. However, many people would not be hoping to fix the roof within their first few years of moving into a property.
There are of course many more questions you should be asking the estate agent but this should give you a base idea of where to start.