A new job, being closer to family, upsizing or even downsizing…there are so many reasons why people move house. In fact, the average British homeowner moves home every 23 years, according to the latest research by Savills Estate Agents.
You may have found your dream home, but the search may not be over yet. It’s a good idea to arm yourself with a list of questions to ask the seller. Don’t shy away from asking any questions…after all, you’re probably investing quite a bit of money for the property and no question is a stupid question.
Before you put in an offer
So, you’ve viewed the house and it looks great so far. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of space, proximity to work, outside areas and so on. But there are some questions that are really worth asking the seller before you jump in with an offer…
- How many viewings has the property had?
- How long has the property been on the market?
- How many tenants / owners has the property had?
- How much did the seller originally pay for the home? This information is also available on Rightmove, but it’s good to get an accurate figure
- Why do the sellers want to move? This could point out whether or not they’ve had problems in the neighbourhood or if you can offer a lower price because they’re looking for a quick sale (because of a divorce or moving overseas)
- What are the neighbours like? Have you ever complained about noisy neighbours? If the seller has made any complaints about noisy neighbours, they are legally obliged to let you know.
- Where are the sellers moving to? (i.e. is there a chain?)
- How many offers has it had and how much are people offering?
- What’s the minimum amount the seller will accept?
It goes without saying you want to negotiate the best deal for the property. That’s why it’s wise to find out exactly what you’re getting for the price and how the price of the property might be affected in the future. Some great starter questions could include:
- What fixtures, fittings and furniture will be included with the asking price? It’s also worth asking if the garden shed, greenhouse or any other outdoor buildings will be included with the sale.
- Have they done any renovations? If so, when were they done?
- Are there any planned building works scheduled in the vicinity? This is a great chance to find out if there’s anything that may affect your day-to-day living or even the price of the property in the future. For example, a sewage works, a shopping centre, block of flats, etc)
This may seem like a lot of questions to ask, but buying a house is a big investment involving a lot of money. You’ll want to make sure you’re fully clued up on the ins and outs of the property and the neighbourhood before you spend your hard-earned savings.
Last minute questions
Watch out for seemingly minor services that could actually cost you money in the long-term if the previous owner has forgotten to cancel them. On the flip side, if you want to continue with these services you’ll know exactly who to contact!
- Do you have a milkman?
- Do you have a window cleaner?
- Do you have a cleaner?
- Do you have a list of recommended tradespeople you’ve used before?
- What are the best local restaurants / pubs / takeaways?
- Which doctors, dentists, opticians, etc would you recommend?
- Where are the best primary and secondary schools?
- Who provides their gas and electricity?
- Where are the gas and electricity meters?
- Where is the fuse box?
- How much does the seller pay for gas and electricity?
- How much council tax do they pay? (Although you can check the council tax band on your local authority’s website)
- Where is the water meter?
- What days are the bins collected (recycling and general waste)?
- Do you have cable or satellite TV? (Just in case you’re wondering whether or not you need to install a Sky dish)
Of course, each of these questions can be expanded on – they’re just a jumping off point to help you find out the information you need.
Are you thinking of buying or selling a house soon? Make sure you instruct a solicitor to help you with completion. Get in touch with us using the button below: