1. When was the last time the *electrics were checked? (Particularly important for Victorian/Edwardian houses, not so relevant for New Builds)
2. Has there ever been any water damage to the property? Flood, roof leak etc.
3. How long has the property been on the market?
4. Roughly how much are the monthly property related bills? Water, gas, electric, council tax, Building insurance2, internet
5. How old is the roof? (Particularly important for Victorian/Edwardian houses, not so relevant for New Builds)
6. Have the owners done any renovations within the last 5 years?
7. How long have the owners lived here?
8. How far is the supermarket/train station?
9. What is the parking like? Do you have an allocated spot, drive way or is it first come first served?
10. Whats the crime like in the area?
11. Does the property have a restrictive 3covenant? If the Agent is unsure, dig!
12. Is there a 4chain? How quickly does/can the owner want to proceed to completion?
Ultimately, the seller/agent has one goal, sell the property! Take what they say with a pinch of salt and do some research of your own. Ask friends that live in/know of the area. Get a feel for the vibe on the street.
Go to your official viewing in the day and once you feel like you are willing to proceed with the purchase, visit the property and its surrounding area in the night to get a real feel for what it’d be like living there. Pay close attention to noise, anti social behaviour, over crowded parking etc.
1Electrics are particularly important, you can reasonably knock off £10,000 from the asking price of a property if the electrics have not been given the once over within the last 10 years. This is something you will definitely have to get done as soon as possible, this involves checking plug sockets, making sure no wires/cable are frayed and checking that the lights are working properly with no buzzing sound. Worse case scenario you will have to rewire the property. Rewiring a property is not cheap, but if required, is essential for older houses to prevent electrical fault damage which can ultimately lead to fires etc.
2Building insurance is a necessity and legal requirement for a House. It is not required for a flat as you are covered under the ground rent that you pay to the Landlord/Freeholder.
3A restrictive covenant can encourage neighbours to be to create harmony and deter anti social behaviour. It can also prevent you from carrying out certain actions like extensions, loft conversions or converting the house in to flats etc.
Obtain copies of the properties title from the official Land Registry website to be sure there’s no surprises.
4A property chain is created when more than one buyer is involved in a transaction. For example, say you are buying a home from someone and they are moving to a new home they are buying from another. That is an upward property chain, meaning that your completion date (when you move in) is likely to be affected by the date when your seller can move into their new home too.
If you’d like to add to the list of questions to ask when viewing a property, feel free to comment below. Happy House Hunting!