Questions to ask when buying a house

Learning as much as you can about the property you’re thinking of buying is a must. We run through the questions worth asking when buying a house.

What questions should you ask when buying a house?

When you’re looking to buy a house it’s important to make sure you ask the right questions – but where do you start?

Here are some of the key queries you should have on your checklist.

How long has the property been on the market?

If a property has been up for sale for more than three months, there could be an issue other potential buyers have spotted.

Don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent if there have been any offers or why the house hasn’t sold yet.

Why are the owners selling up?

The agent might not know, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If they’re looking to sell quickly, they might accept a lower offer. For example, they might be in a property chain and in a rush to complete.

Also, remember to ask how long they’ve lived there. If they’re selling their house after less than a year, is there a reason?

What fixtures and fittings are included in the sale?

Find out if the sellers are planning to leave any white goods behind, like a washing machine or fridge.

Perhaps they’re leaving the outdoor table and chairs set too. Know exactly what you’ll get when you buy, as it could save you the cost of replacing them.

Is the property listed or in a conservation area?

If you’re thinking of buying a listed property or a home in a conservation area, be aware that this could restrict what you can change about it or make the process a bit more difficult. This includes:

  • Adding an extension
  • Altering the interior layout
  • Reshaping the garden

What are the local amenities like in the area?

If you’re new to the area, ask the estate agent what it’s like. Take a stroll or drive around the neighbourhood and check out the nearby amenities, such as shops, doctors and schools.

Why not save yourself the journey and do this from your living room, using our Location Finder tool?

How much is the council tax and average utility bills?

Figuring out how much you’ll be paying each month to live in the property can help you budget properly.

Find out the property’s council tax band and ask how much the average utility bills are each month. You can then factor these costs into your monthly outgoings.

How energy efficient is the new home?

Remember to ask the agent to run through the property’s Energy Performance Certificate.

This will give you an idea of what your energy bills will be and how much your home will cost to run each month.

Tips for viewing a home

A home is probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. It means you’ll want to make every second count during your viewings. Here are a few tips to help:

View the property more than once – at different times of the day

If you’re viewing the property during the day, the area may seem nice and quiet. But does it become noisier in the evening?

Book one viewing during the day, then arrange another after work. Remember to bring a friend, partner or family member along with you too for a second opinion.

Check the outside of the property

A home’s exterior can tell you a lot about its condition. Look out for things that give away the state of the house, including loose tiles and broken paving stones.

These are tell-tale signs that the home of your dreams may need a little work.

Keep your eyes peeled for new patches of paint and damp

If there’s a section of wall that looks like it’s had a fresh lick of paint, give it a quick inspection.

The owner could have tried to cover up cracks or a damp patch. Peeling wallpaper, bubbling paint, mould or a musty smell could highlight similar issues.

Take plenty of pictures

Having pictures and videos of the property means you can look over them again when you’re back home. Ask the current owner’s permission before you do this, of course.

It can also help you decide whether the property is big enough for you and help you plan any changes to your new space. It’s also handy for showing friends and family if you’re looking for a second opinion.

Turn on all taps in the bathroom and kitchen

If you love a long shower in the morning, good water pressure is essential in your new home. Don’t be afraid to flick the shower on while you’re viewing the house to check.

Turn on the taps throughout the house to see how powerful the flow is. Test if the water heats up quickly too, to check the boiler is in good condition. It’s also worth asking how old the boiler is, as this can be expensive to replace.

Check the condition of windows

Replacing windows can also be expensive, so be sure to check them.

Look for condensation, which could mean poor ventilation, and damaged seals if the home has PVC windows. Look at the walls beneath the windows to check for damp.

The content on this page is for reference and does not constitute financial advice. For impartial financial advice, we recommend government bodies MoneyHelper.

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