Buying a house is one of the most important and toughest tasks that you will ever have to endure.
For this reason, estate agencies came into existence. The role of an estate agent is to make the process of buying a home easier. Estate agents study the ins and outs of the market and use this information to help homeowners make the right choices. They also act as brokers between the sellers and buyers. However, these agents can sometimes be shady and misleading because they want to sell homes quickly so that they can get their commission.
Regardless, state agents are legally bound to provide only truthful information. The only issue is that homebuyers fail to ask some questions during the buying process hence giving them a chance of omission or withhold some important information. In this write-up, we will provide you with some of the most important questions to ask when buying a home.
What is the Asking Price of the house?
Before making a purchase, you must consider the amount of money you will be required to spend. You don’t want to go through the process of walk-ins, among others, only to end up finding out that the house is way above or below your budget. Therefore, before you get into the specifics of the house, the first question you should ask is the price that the seller is requesting. You also need to check out past sales of similar properties in the same location, to ensure it is reasonably priced.
This information will help you decide whether or not you can keep looking or if you have found a potential winner. Also, you need to have set a budget and determined the amount you are willing to give for a house before anything else. This is the information that you will give your estate agent before they start suggesting possible choices.
You do not have to use an estate agent at this time, as most people will search online before contacting the seller’s estate agent. The major online property portals in the UK are Rightmove, Zoopla, Prime Location and On The Market.
There are other property specialists who will cover thinks such as auction properties, however you will also normally find these advertised on the big four property portals above.
How Old is the house?
This is also a very important question to ask. The aim of asking this question is so that you can know whether or not you will need to make any renovations or updates before moving in. Buying a new home will have many benefits such as better insulation and energy efficiency, however older properties also have benefits such as offering more space both inside and out and having more character. Because of increased land prices many new builds will have smaller gardens and lower ceilings and less storage space. Also you may think that buying a new build you will have less to worry about which is true, however you should always create a ‘snagging list’ before buying a new build.
How long has the house been on sale?
This is an important question to ask, as well. If the house has been on sale for a long time, it means that the seller may be more motivated to make a deal. This means that you are more likely to get a higher reduction in the asking price. Also, check the listing to see if there have been reductions in the asking price during the period when the house has been on sale. However, you may also want to find out why the house has been in the market for that long. The reason might be that there are some elements of the house that are turning buyers away.
Have There Been Any Significant Renovations and When They Were Done
You also need to know the kind of work that has been done in the house before you decide whether or not you should buy the house. Make sure you get specifics on the renovations that have been done on the house. The reason why this is important is that some people perform illegal renovations in the house that would end up getting you into legal problems if they are discovered during your stay there.
Therefore, make sure that the modifications that were done in the house were up to the code and meet the relevant building regulations. This will also help you to reduce the likelihood of future financial constraints for removal or modification of the illegal upgrades. It would also be wise to ask for the necessary paperwork for the renovations if they are available.
Are there Newly Installed Appliances in the house, and are their Receipts Available?
Some house will come with appliances such as cookers or dishwashers.
Make sure to get information on any newly installed appliances like water heaters. The receipts would come in handy in case there are issues with the appliances. The receipts and warranties will cover all unprecedented service calls in the near future if you decide to make the purchase. Also, ask for the reason behind the new installations. If issues like busted pipes were the reason for the new installation, there are chances that the house could have some structural challenges.
Why is the owner selling?
This is one of the few questions for which you may not be able to get an answer from the estate agent. The reason is that some sellers do not disclose the information. However, if the house is on sale because it was a crime scene, the owner is obliged by the law to disclose such information. Sometimes the reason for selling can be as simple as the owner wants to move to another area or oversees. If such is the reason, it means that the owner is probably in a rush to sell the house. You can take advantage of such information to get a lower price for the house. Another reason can be that the owner simply wants to move to a better and larger house, or be downsizing if looking to retire.
How many homeowners have the house had since it was constructed?
Old homes tend to have a long list of previous owners. Therefore, this is normal. However, a new house that has had several homeowners in a short amount of time is something that should raise concerns. It could be a potential sign that there is a problem with the house or its environment. Make sure to research or ask questions about why the house has changed owners too much. If you cannot find a definite and satisfying answer from the estate agent, you can ask the neighbours or search the internet for information about the surrounding neighbourhood.
How much money has the property lost in value over a certain amount of time?
This is one of the questions that real estate agents do not want you to ask. Some estate agents try as much as possible not to answer this question. However, such information is readily available on the Land Registry website. You just need the internet. Estate agents like to assume that most home buyers are ignorant of such information. This is an important question to ask, especially if you do not plan to retain ownership of the house for a lifetime.
If, over the past ten years, the house has not increased in value but has kept decreasing, the chances that this will change are very low. Before you meet the estate agent, make sure to look up such information. It always helps to go to the meeting armed with such a question. If you do happen to get the agent to answer the question, make sure to ask him or her why the answer is so.
What is, and what is not included in the sale of the house?
It is not uncommon for estate agents to stage houses when potential buyers are going to visit. Many are times when you are shown a house with a beautiful chandelier hanging over the living room and you are duped into thinking it will come with the house. You may end up getting disappointed when you move in to find some of the things that attracted you to the house are missing.
The same goes for other appliances in the house, and things such as curtains and furniture. Therefore, to avoid future disappointment, you need to make sure that everything that will be part and not be part of the sale is spelt out in the contract. If you see something that attracts you to the house, make sure to ask if it will be part of the sale.
Are there ongoing projects in the local area that could affect homeowners in the area?
If you are looking to get a property because of the views that it provides, you must find out if there are upcoming projects that could hinder this element. Also, if there are such projects like construction of an industrial complex that could affect the surrounding environment, you must be in the known beforehand.
Some of the questions named above may catch the estate agent off guard and cause them to try as much as possible to avoid answering. However, make sure to insist on your question and make sure that you get a satisfactory answer. If you notice that the agent is trying to avoid some questions, this should raise a red flag and further investigation will be required.
Your conveyancing company will perform searches on the property and other local factors, however it always pays to perform your own due diligence for your piece of mind, as you may be living in the property for a considerable time.