The 20 Best Questions to Ask when Viewing a House
It is an exciting experience to view a house and imagine your life in a new home, but it can also be overwhelming. You’re faced with many decisions and have to ask yourself many questions. But don’t worry. We are here to help! We made a list of The 20 Best Questions to Ask When Viewing a House.
From utilities to the local area, answering these questions will provide you with enough information to make an informed decision regarding the property. But more importantly, it will help you determine if the property is right for you.
About the Property
1.- Is the property a leasehold or freehold?
When viewing a house, it is essential to ask the agent or seller if the property is a leasehold or freehold. A leasehold means you do not own the property outright but instead have a lease for a set time period. While Freehold means that you own the property outright.
2.- Is the property conventional or non-conventional built?
Construction of a house that does not conform to a standard definition is considered non-standard construction. Home walls are usually brick or stone, and roofs are slate or tile. Any construction that does not fall into this category is considered non-standard.
Non-standard homes are common in areas where the materials used to build them are or were more available at the time. The cost of building maintenance and non-standard construction home insurance could be higher than a house built with standard construction materials.
3.- How much are council tax and other utility bills?
Most people know that they will have to pay council tax when they move into a new property, but utility bills can be more of a surprise. Ask the current owner or agent how much the average monthly bill is for electricity, gas, water, TV license, and internet.
Also, find out if there are any special charges for things like waste collection or green space maintenance. It’s important to have the right estimate of your living expenses so that you can budget properly.
4.- Is the property listed, in a conservation area or subject to any covenants?
Suppose the property is listed, in a conservation area or subject to any covenants. In that case, it could prevent you from making the changes you want. Asking this question will help you understand what restrictions there may be on the property.
If the property is listed, it is of historical or architectural interest; there are restrictions on what changes you can make. Properties in conservation areas are under strict control to protect their character and appearance. And if there are any covenants on the property, there could be legal agreements that restrict what you can do with the property.
5.- Are there any local plans that could affect the property
There could be a number of local plans that might affect the property you are viewing. For example, the property could be in an area that is earmarked for future development; this could affect the value of the property. It is always advisable to research and find out as much as possible about any local plans that could have an impact on the property you are interested in.
6.- Are there restrictions on expansion?
There are national guidelines for permitted development projects on what expansions you can do without needing planning consent from the local council. However, they can be challenging to navigate if you are unfamiliar with UK’s permitted development rules.
For example, terraced or semi-detached house extension rules differ from detached property rules. If the property is a terrace or semi-detached home, then you can extend it by up to 3m without planning permission. For a detached house, you can extend up to 4m under permitted development. It is always better to speak with an experienced architect to ensure your expansion projects follow the rules.
About the Area
7.- What is the local area like?
“Location, location, location.” is a famous quote by Harold Samuel as the three things that matter when buying a property. There are a few key factors to consider when evaluating the local area of a property.
First, what is the surrounding neighbourhood like? Is it safe? Are the homes well-kept? These factors can play a role in both your quality of life and the future resale value of your house.
Next, consider what kinds of amenities are nearby. Are there grocery stores, restaurants, parks, or other recreation? What kind of public transportation is available?
Finally, think about the commute to work or school. How long will it take to get there? Is traffic usually heavy? Consider if you’ll be spending too much time commuting.
8.- What are the schools in the area like?
Having good local schools near your home is particularly important if you have plans to start a family in the next 5 to 10 years. For England, you can search for schools, colleges, and multi-academy trusts and check their performance in the find school performance data service.
9.- What are the neighbours like?
Your neighbours can significantly impact your day-to-day life, so it’s important to know what they’re like before you move in.
Asking the seller or estate agent about the neighbours is a good place to start. While you are viewing the property, however, you might also want to talk to some of the neighbours to get a feel for how they are.
10.- Has any flooding occurred to the property or around the local area?
Sellers are obligated to inform the potential buyer if the property has flooded. However, you can find out if a property has flooded before by requesting the flooding history of a property in England to the Environment Agency.
All you need is the property’s address to request the flooding history of a property. Bear in mind that the agency only has some properties on record, and reports sent by email usually take around 20 working days.
You can also contact the local council for the details of your local flood authority or your local Internal Drainage Board. This public body manages water levels in the area.
For better peace of mind, you can also check the long-term risk of flooding in any Town, City, or postcode in England.
About The House
11.- How old is the house?
The age of a house can tell you a lot about its condition. A newer home is likely to be in better shape than an older one, but an older home may have more character. When looking at an older home, it’s essential to ask the sellers how well it is maintained. It would help if you also asked for copies of any recent inspections or repairs made.
12.- How old are the drains and guttering?
The drains and guttering are vital to the home’s drainage system. They can become clogged over time, causing water to back up and damaging the foundation. It could help to ask how old the drains and guttering are so that you can gauge how often they will need to get cleaned.
13.- Which way does the house face?
The house’s orientation can affect how much sunlight it receives, how warm it stays in the winter and summer, and even the level of noise from traffic. Consider how the house faces when viewing it to get a sense of how bright and airy it will feel inside and how much privacy you’ll have.
14.- How is the water pressure in the house?
The water pressure can affect the plumbing system’s function and the occupants’ comfort. When the water pressure is too low, it can cause the toilets to flush slowly and the showers to have weak water flow, which can be frustrating for occupants and cause problems with the plumbing system.
If the water pressure is too high, it can cause damage to the plumbing system and lead to leaks. You can check the water pressure in the house by turning on a tap or two when viewing a house to check if the plumbing is working correctly.
15.- When was the boiler installed?
The boiler is an essential part of a house, and its installation date can tell you a lot about the age and condition of the property.
Asking when the boiler was installed is a great way to get an idea of how long the property has been standing and if it has been well-maintained over the years.
If the boiler was installed relatively recently, this is usually a good sign that the property has been well-cared for. However, if the boiler is quite old, it might show that the property could have been kept better. Either way, this is valuable information that can help you decide whether to buy a particular property.
16.- How is the internet signal in the house?
A strong internet signal in the house is essential for many reasons. First, if you work from home, you need a reliable connection to do your job.
Second, a good internet connection is key if you have children who are distance learning or need to do online homework. Third, even if you don’t work from home or have kids in school, we all use the internet for entertainment, shopping, banking, and more.
You can do a few things to check the internet signal in the house before buying it. You can ask the current owners what type of internet service they have and what their speeds are. If they don’t know, or if they say they have slow speeds, ask to see their monthly bill – that should list their connection speeds.
You can also bring your laptop or other device and connect to the house’s Wi-Fi to see what speeds YOU get. And finally, ask the estate agent if they know anything about the internet service in the area – they may have heard feedback from other buyers or sellers about different providers.
About The Seller
17.- Why are the owners selling?
There are many reasons for selling a house. It can be because of a new job opportunity or because the house is not best suited for the current needs of a family.
Understanding why the house is for sale and how long the owner has lived in the home can indicate if it’s for personal reasons or if there are potential issues with the property.
18.- When are offers due?
Asking this question to the Estate Agent or seller can give you some context about the level of interest in the property. For example, suppose the property has been on the market for over five months. In that case, it could indicate there are some potential issues with the property or the location.
19.- Are the current owners part of an onward chain?
Onward chains are common when buying a house. It means the seller is waiting to move to their new home and still needs to complete their next property.
If this is the case, there’s usually no reason for concern, but it can sometimes slow down the process until you can move into the house. However, while chain-free home buyers are generally better positioned, that doesn’t necessarily mean the sale will proceed smoothly.
Other factors can delay a transaction:
- Surveys could highlight issues.
- Deeds can reveal problems.
- Buyers can change their minds.
20.- Have the sellers already found a new place to live?
The purpose of this question is to clarify how long you will have to wait before you move into the property. It takes time and effort to move to a new house, but understanding the seller’s timeline will help you make better decisions throughout the buying process.
Finding a house that you love and that is suited to your needs is extremely important. You should never compromise too much on your home; ideally, you would want to live on that property for 5 to 10 years.
When buying a home with the help of CrowdToLive®, we carry out RICS Level 2 house surveys with valuation, as well as Electricity and Gas checks to protect home buyers from moving into a property with significant issues.
Buying a home can be stressful, but we are here to help you every step of the way. If you’re ready to take the first step towards owning your home, you can book a call with us today.