When you decide to buy a house, you’re making a big commitment; one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s really important that you find out as much information as possible before you buy, to make sure that you know everything about the property. We Buy Any House have compiled a list of the top questions you should ask before you buy a house, so you know everything that you need to about the property.
- What’s included?
Often, sellers will include homeware items in the sale, such as furnishings, fixtures, or even white goods. If they haven’t mentioned anything, make sure that you ask them about this. It could mean that you don’t need to purchase certain things before you move in if you don’t have them already, and if you do, you can compare and see if you’re getting a superior version. If you decide that you’re not interested in any of the furnishings on offer, you can also make sure that they aren’t left behind for you to deal with.
- Have there been any past problems that I need to know about?
Houses can suffer from all kinds of problems, some minor, but some much more severe. Find out all of the issues that the current owners have come across so you know if you’re at risk of also suffering from them – for example, is the house near a river? Has it ever been damaged due to flooding? Although you can’t know for sure what will happen after you’ve moved in, if you know that the house has been affected by flooding more than once in the last year or so, it’s not unreasonable to think that it will happen again.
- How old are all of the components?
Ask the age of the roof, the boiler, the bathroom suites – as much of the house that you can. If the heating system in the house is quite old, you may need to replace it, which can get expensive, especially if you want to buy a big house. If it’s newer, get the details of the warranty, so if you do have any problems, you’re covered.
- Why are you moving?
This question can do you a huge favour as a buyer. If the seller is relocating, they may be after a quick sale which could mean they might accept a lower offer. If the seller is moving because they don’t like the area, or they’ve been having any problems with the house, then this is something that you want to think about before putting in an offer. They probably won’t be completely honest with you as they don’t want to put you off buying. However, if they aren’t answering your questions, you might benefit from researching the area and making sure that there aren’t any obvious reasons that they’re moving that would be an issue for you if you decide to progress with the house.
- How long has the house been sat on the market?
If a house has been on the market for over three months with no interest, there could be a reason why. Research the local area and see if there are other properties for sale that you can compare with the one you’re interested in, and see if there is anything that stands out to you. It could be that the house is simply overpriced, but there could also be problems that other viewers have seen in the house that you haven’t.
- Have there been other offers?
Ask the estate agent out how many other potential buyers are interested in the property if there are any. This could help you decide what offer to put in if you know other people are involved in the process – if there aren’t other offers, you might be able to put in a lower offer than you would have been able to if you had competition.
- What council tax band is the property?
The monthly costs of your new house are something that every homeowner should think about from the start of the process. The council tax bands vary hugely, so find out which band the house you’re looking at is in and that it sits comfortably in your monthly budget. If not, you could face big problems down the line, as not paying your council tax is a serious offence.
- How much are the utilities?
It’s an important question allowing you to factor in your monthly costs when moving into a new home. If the house that you’re looking at has a high heating bill in the winter because it’s old or spacious, knowing this from the start will make life for you much easier when you’ve moved in, preventing you from any nasty surprises when it comes to paying the bills.
- Is the area nice?
You should look into the positives and the negatives of any area before you consider buying property. You should find out if it’s noisy, if the rush hour traffic will cause you delays for work, and what time the local shops shuts. Living somewhere that isn’t suitable for your lifestyle will cause you all sorts of difficulties in the future, so doing your research before you move will save you a lot of money and stress.
- Has the house been decorated recently?
Often, sellers will repaint the house before they put it on the market, as it makes a substantial difference when potential buyers are viewing it. Usually, painting is done to smarten the house up for viewings, but it can also cover up problems that they don’t want you to notice. Painting a damaged wall can hide signs of damp or even cracks that could potentially be a side effect of subsidence. They aren’t always; sometimes cracks are just cosmetic – but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Problems like damp or subsidence can cause you drastic problems down the line as the homeowner, so make sure that you’re not being deceived.
- Are there any extensions or renovations?
Try and obtain contact information from the seller for any work that’s been done if it was carried out recently. If you do have any problems, it means that you can contact the original workers and get things sorted instead of having to find someone new to rectify the issues.
- Are there any stigmas?
A stigma could be anything at all, from quite innocent to much more unsettling. Ask the seller, but also do your own local research. You don’t want to move into a house that holds a stigma in the area and for you to be attached to it – this could range from rumours of paranormal activity to illegal behaviour that took place in the house previously.
A house that has a damaging stigma tend to be marketed below market value as it’s harder to sell, so if you see a house with a low asking price and you can’t see an explanation, you should look into the history of the house. Properties like this can often attract a lot of negative attention that you won’t want to be involved in.
There are lots of questions that you should think about when you’re looking at buying a house. Make sure that you’re fully prepared for any of your viewings, and get as much information as possible to make the right decision.