by Housesimple on 22nd June 2016
What to ask when you're viewing a property
Private house sales can be an awkward business. On the one hand, it's great to have the seller in the room, giving you in-depth information about the property. However, potential buyers may not feel comfortable being honest about a house with the home-owner present. If you want to get the most out of a private viewing, take a look at our list of common and useful questions to ask the seller.
Why are you selling?
At worst, it's an ice-breaker, at best, you might find out if there are any problems in the house or the area. You can also gauge if the owner's keen for a quick sale, which could help you negotiate a lower price.
Can I check the taps?
Asking to check the fittings is a practical, hands-on way of exploring the property. Do the same by moving furniture if you suspect hidden cracks or damage.
When was the boiler last serviced?
A well-maintained boiler is far less likely to give up in your first winter.
Have any major works been completed?
As the Home Owners' Alliance points out, this is a good way of making sure that planning permission was obtained before any previous works, as well as discovering if the property is listed or in a conservation area. Verify their response on the local planning authority website.
When did you last decorate?
Recent decorations can be a sign of hasty attempts to cover up flaws like damp or cracks.
How much is the council tax?
Council tax bands are linked to property prices, but aren't always up to date. You'll also need this information for your mortgage application.
How's the mobile and wifi coverage?
Strong mobile signal and a fast broadband connection are necessities in our modern age. Ask who serves the area and how the service measures up, then double check the details online.
What are the neighbours like?
The seller can provide you with an insight into the neighbourhood. Equally, if the owner has ever lodged a complaint about the neighbours, they're legally obliged to tell you.
What are local facilities like?
Whether you're interested in schools or social venues, make sure to get the owner's perspective.
Is this included?
If you're keen on the curtains or sold on the shed, ask if they are included in the price.
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