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10 questions to ask an Estate Agent when viewing a property

Buying a home is for most people the biggest asset they will ever purchase. When on a viewing, your questions should be tailored to the individual property, particularly if there is anything concerning or unclear about the property. The property industry can appear to be filled with confusing jargon and complex language but we will do everything we can to ensure you are properly informed to make the right decision. 

Even if you aren’t a first time buyer, it’s highly likely that it has been some years since you have gone through the house buying process. Berkeley Shaw has developed 10 key questions which prospective buyers can use as a guide to help you make an informed decision.

1. How old is the property?

Sometimes this may not be featured on the advertisement, but ask how old the property is exactly. There are many benefits to buying an older property including beautiful period features and traditional appearance, however, older properties do come with repair and maintenance issues such as damp, mould and subsidence. These maintenance costs can potentially rack up to significant additional costs.

2. Why is the owner selling?

Knowing the reason why the owner is selling can be a deciding factor when determining if an interested party should purchase or not. Though the vast majority of time owners will be selling for perfectly normal reasons such as upgrading, downgrading or just moving on. However, some people sell due to crime rates within an area, noise pollution or structural problems within a house. Understanding this can significantly influence the decision-making process.

3. Has there been much interest in the property?

An indication on the level of interest in a property can act as a barometer to how desirable the property is to other potential buyers, how reasonable the asking price is and ultimately how competitive the final sale will be.

4. What is the owner’s chain like? 

If the owner of the property has no chain, this can be an attractive prospect to potential buyers. No chain transactions can allow for a smooth transaction and enable all parties to complete. According to a Which survey in 2017, 28% of people have experienced a property sale falling through. 

The bigger the chain, the more complex the transaction can become and ultimately this creates an increase in the chance that the sale will not complete at all. Although our experienced team will do everything we can to ensure smooth management of the chain, some circumstances are out of our control.

5. What direction is the house facing?

The orientation of a house is a crucial consideration for house hunters. The direction of a home affects how much sunlight the property receives. This can also impact on other aspects of the house such as the property’s energy efficiency, heating and cooling costs and home maintenance.

6. How Many Owners Has the Property Had? 

Quick turnarounds between owners can be an indicator of problems that exist within a property. Get an accurate answer of the ownership history within the property, particularly from within recent years.  

7. What Is the Neighbourhood Like?

When buying a property you are also buying into an area. It is important to get an understanding of the local amenities including shops, restaurants and bars as well as transport infrastructure, crime rates and local schools.

8. How long has the property been on the market for?

Generally, properties which have been on the market for shorter periods are safer options than ones that have been on for significant amounts of time. This question is often put to agents to get an understanding of the overall quality of the house. A property which has been on the market for several months can be an indicator of faults or quality issues, though there are some exceptions to this.

9. What is the council tax band for the property?

Knowing the Council tax band is crucial to understanding the overall costs that will be associated with running the property. What council tax band the property is determines how much the owner will have to pay in council tax.

10. How energy efficient is the property?

The energy efficiency of properties is determined in the UK by an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. EPC certificates include information about the property’s energy use and costs as well as information about how to make a home more energy efficient and cheaper to run. 

An EPC rating will give buyers an indication of some of the inefficiencies which exist in the property. 

Josh Harkin

Property Consultant

 

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