Questions to ask at a property viewing

Property viewing is a vital part of the home buying journey, that can make or break finding your ideal home. Most people have an idea of what they’re looking for, but it’s a good idea to go to viewings armed with a checklist. This can not only prevent you from oversights, but also make it easier to compare one property to another.

We’ll look at the sort of questions you should be adding to your checklist, how to ask them and what benefits this will provide you with overall. 

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What questions should I ask the owner(s)?

Why are you selling?

You perhaps don’t need to be so direct, but this sort of insight could be helpful to your decision. Essentially we all want to know why somebody else doesn’t want what we do

How long has the property been on the market?

Longer than three months is unusual in most locations, so it might be worth further questioning why this is. It may also mean you’ll be able to put in a lower offer, if the seller has already found a new home

How many offers are on the table?

Perhaps one for the estate agents rather than the seller, but it depends on your rapport. Knowledge of other offers and the vague price range will help you to determine a winning offer, if you decide to buy

Renovation specific questions

If there has been renovation to the property, or you suspect that there has if undocumented, it’s a good idea to ask the owner about it. You’ll want to know when it was built, whether the relevant consent was achieved and whether building regulations were followed.

How much does the home cost to run? 

It’s possible, of course, to get a good idea of this online before you visit now. You can look up the council tax band, for example, and local average bills. But the seller can give a more accurate insight based on actual bills, that could be handy

How old are the drains and guttering?

It may be obvious based on the condition, but if you’re unsure or they look fairly old, it’s worth asking the previous owner when they were last replaced - this is another potential thing to factor into your offer price.

How to maximise your property viewing experience

When it comes to property viewing, it’s important to make every minute count. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or distracted by stand out elements, such as stunning decor, so be sure to create a list to retain your focus.

Here are some factors to consider when creating the ultimate house viewing checklist: 

  • Boiler: Find out its age, and when it was last serviced. An old system doesn't have to be a deal-breaker; you could negotiate on the asking price

  • Water Pressure: Don’t be afraid to run the taps (hot and cold) and test the shower(s) to gauge water pressure

  • Signal Strength: It’s worth testing your mobile phone signal while you’re there

  • Internet Speed: You can probably do this online before you visit, but it’s worth finding out which internet service providers are in the area - especially if you work from home

  • Is there a loft?: If so, ask if it’s boarded for storage space and even if you can take a look. This is a great way to check out the insulation and whether the roof is tightly sealed - although you can also find this out with a comprehensive building survey

  • Boundary Clarification: Usually a fence or hedgerow will markate a neighbour’s boundary, but it’s always worth asking where the boundary lies

  • Windows: as well as examining the windows for condensation between, ask if window locks work and if you can open and close one or two windows to check the mechanisms

  • Inclusions and exclusions: It’s a good idea to ask exactly what comes with the house. Some people leave wardrobes and even white goods if they’re too difficult to move, or they already have new ones. This could be either a benefit or hindrance - you might not want additional things to dispose of when you move in

  • Neighbourly Insights: It’s always worth raising the question of neighbours. Even if they aren’t overly honest, not many people can hide their immediate reactions, so you should at least get a feel for if there is any concern

  • Photos: Ask if you can take a photo. While there will be estate agent photos, they won’t necessarily have focussed on what you want to remember. This can be a really helpful tool to boost your memory when you’re comparing properties later on

So, whether you're viewing your first or twenty-first property, these tips are easily forgotten. Be sure to factor them in, as well as anything else important to you, to make the most of your property viewing.

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