6 Sep 2019

Right answers the key to your property search

Buying a home is a psychological maze and when it comes to making the right move it’s ultimately up to you to find the way through. 
Engage a trusted estate agent to help you find houses for sale, alongside experienced property professionals and you’re well on the way, but it pays to be on the ball, with all your questions primed and ready.

How long has the property been on the market?

If the house has been for sale more than three months, ask the agent why. Are there underlying problems you haven’t spotted, or is it just overpriced? A long time on the market might mean the seller would accept a lower price

Why are the sellers moving?

The owner might be desperate to sell – maybe work is taking them overseas - and so would accept a lower price. If they are moving out after a short period, you need to know why. Be particularly alert to serious problems if the property has changed hands frequently.

What offers have they had so far?

The agent should tell you if there have been other offers, but not how much they were. However, they might drop a hint. If you can find out about the other offers, it’s easier to know where you stand. 

What is the minimum price the seller will accept?

Asking if their bottom line is actually negotiable can save you thousands. Estate agents will often give you an indication, even if it means a lower price.

How old is the property and is it listed?

The upkeep of older houses is often more expensive. If you buy a listed property you can be severely restricted in what refurbishment can be done. If the property is in a conservation area you should find out what restrictions apply.

Double check for negatives

You don’t want to miss out on some big bad factor that others know about. Is a sewerage plant opening up nearby, or maybe the next-door neighbours are family from hell? Be cheeky: If you have any doubts about a property, knock next door and introduce yourself, or find out what local shopkeepers think.

What’s included?

Is the garden shed included, plus all the fixtures and fittings? Exactly where does the boundary lie? Make sure you know exactly what you are getting when you offer. 

Is there a chain?

Have the sellers already found another home? If so, they may be keen to sell fast. If you have to wait until they find somewhere else, it adds to the uncertainty, with all the risks of someone breaking the chain.

Has major work been completed?

Homeowners’ Alliance recommends you ask to see relevant planning and building control consents. In most cases you can search online local authority planning applications, both granted and refused. It would be a nightmare if you bought your dream home only to have to knock half of it down.

How much are the bills?

While council tax and utilities costs may seem like small considerations in comparison to the amount you will spend on the house, they are on-going expenses that add to the cost of home ownership.

Check the Energy Performance Certificate

What’s the rating? Is there loft insulation and/or wall cavity insulation and when were they installed? Is the boiler covered with lagging? 

What’s the neighbourhood like?

You may need local schools and it’s good to know crime rates. How efficient are transport links for commuting and where are the nearest stores? 

Online Estate Agents is here to help and our team members have extensive local knowledge of every area across The Midlands. Just give us a call on 0330 1244786.


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