30 questions to ask when buying a house!
By Eddie Goldsmith
When you’ve decided on your dream house and you’re ready to make the big move, you’ll probably have a whole load of questions that you’re curious about. Are there any issues with the house you should know about? Does it require a lot of heating during winter? And probably one of the most important ones, how quickly can I move in?
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial purchases of your life so it’s completely understandable that you’ll want all the nitty gritty details, and luckily there are different sources of information you can dive into, including the estate agent, the seller, your mortgage broker or advisor, and your solicitor.
In this blog post we’ll look at the top 30 most frequently asked questions to help you uncover all the important information you need to know before you buy.
Questions to ask your Estate Agent when buying a house
If you’ve hit the jackpot with a good estate agent then they should be able to give you a good run down of the property you’re interested in. Their job is to ensure the process runs smoothly for the seller, but part of this is giving potential buyers all the correct background information needed to decide if they’re interested in buying the property.
1. Has the seller had any offers?
The estate agent should be able to tell you if the seller has already had any other offers, and although they won’t be able to say exactly how much if so, they should be able to give an inkling of the price range. However, remember it’s in their best interest to get as many offers as possible and the highest offers for the property, so although any fib-telling goes against the Property Ombudsman Code of Practice, make sure to have your wits about you!
2. Is the property listed?
Listed buildings have certain restrictions about what you can do in terms of building work and renovations, such as whether you can build a loft extension or the type of windows you can install, so it’s one of the most important things you need to be aware of.
3. Is the seller part of a chain?
Onward chains are very common but can become quite an obstacle for property buyers. This occurs when your seller is waiting to move out of their home, however the owner/s of the house they’re buying is yet to sell their property which causes a delay in the chain. Generally there’s nothing to worry about if you’re part of a chain but it’s worth being aware of as the moving process may be slowed down considerably in some cases.
Additional questions relating to your home purchase;
4. How long has the property been on the market for?
5. How soon should I make an offer?
6. What is the neighbourhood like?
7. What is the minimum price the sellers are. likely to accept?
8. How much have nearby properties sold for?
9. Is the property situated on a flood plain?
10. Can I come back for a second viewing?
Questions to ask the seller when buying a house
You may not always meet the seller if they’re not around when the estate agent takes you on your viewing, but if you do, many will be happy to have a chat and it’s a great way to get a feel for the property, the surrounding area and perhaps even their reasons for selling.
- Have you had any work done on the property?
Although your conveyancing process will reveal if any substantial work has been done on the property recently, it’s worth asking the seller so you can cross reference the information. The reason this is important is that if they developed the house with an extension in the last few years, but your conveyancer can’t prove planning permission was approved by the council, this could cause you problems further down the line.
2. How long have you lived here for?
If someone has only lived in their house for a few months and it’s already back on the market, then this could be a red flag to be aware of and it’s worth asking to find out why. They may have a valid reason such as moving for a new job or another reason, but there may also be more concerning reasons such as a dispute with the neighbours.
3. How much are your bills each month?
To get an idea of how much you’ll be paying in your new home it’s a good idea to get a grasp on how much your monthly bills may cost, such as council tax, electricity, water and heating, and hopefully your seller will be able to give you a rough estimate.
4. What is included in the sale? E.g. kitchen appliances, furniture etc
5. If you have children or are planning to in the future then it may be worth asking what the local schools are like
6. What are your neighbours like?
7. Do you feel like it’s a safe area to live in?
8. What have you enjoyed most about living here?
9. When did you last have the electricity wiring checked?
10. Is there any other information you think I should know about?
Questions to ask your Conveyancer or Solicitor
Your conveyancer or solicitor are legal professionals that specialise in property law, and they will deal with all the legal parts of buying your new home. Buying a new home can be a complex process, especially if you’re a first time buyer, so don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a better understanding of what steps need to be taken.
Here are some key questions to ask them:
- How much notice do I need to give my landlord?
If you’re in rented accommodation you’ll need to let your landlord know when you’re moving, depending on the agreed length of notice. Usually rental agreements have 1 month notice period but you’ll need to double check and your solicitor should be able to tell you when you need to let your landlord know that you’re leaving.
2. How much will the conveyancing cost?
There’s not one set fee for conveyancing as different solicitors and conveyancers will charge varying amounts. On average the cost ranges from £850 – £1,500, and your conveyancer will break down your costs for you. For more information about conveyancing costs, check out our helpful blog post here – Conveyancing fees explained for property buyers and sellers – YouConvey – The UK’s first collaborative conveyancing service (you-convey.co.uk)
3. What will I be charged if the sale falls through?
Unfortunately there’s always the risk that your sale may fall through for various reasons, such as a break in the chain or problems that arise from your home survey. Therefore it’s always best to be aware of what will happen if the sale falls through so you can plan accordingly. Some conveyancers will still charge you a percentage of the fees or even the full amount, whilst others will be happy to move the fee over to the new property that you find.
Additional questions to ask your conveyancer include:
4. Is there anything additional I can do to make the process run smoothly?
5. How often will you keep me updated throughout the process? 6. Who will handle my case?
7. When do I need to pay the conveyancing fees?
8. How long do you think the whole process will take?
9. Have you dealt with many cases like mine?
10. Where can I check client feedback or reviews?
This is far from an exhaustive list of questions as each house sale is different and therefore the questions you’ll want to ask will vary, but hopefully this will get you thinking about which areas you need more information on.
With YouConvey, we make the home moving process as easy as possible for you, assigning you your own Home Mover Adviser from day 1 who will be on hand 24/7 to answer all your questions and provide regular updates throughout. We let you take control of your conveyancing whilst making sure you’re informed at all times, with the YouConvey customer portal your one stop spot to show exactly what stage you’re up to and what’s left to be done.
Get in touch for a no obligation quote today or simply to find out more, and get one step closer to your dream home.