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Important questions you shouldn’t forget to ask before buying a property


At Walton Estates we pride ourselves on our customer service and the level of detail we provide to our vendors and buyers. Buying a home can be a minefield if you do not know what questions you should ask before placing an offer. While we all think we know the basic questions to ask, clients often forget to find out about some of the more obscure and quirky issues that can surround properties.

Why is the owner selling?

It is always a good idea to ask us why the property owner is selling. Without this seeming like a negative question, you might find out the owner is desperate to sell, perhaps because of the 3 D’s debt, divorce or death (in which case it will be the executor selling the property) so they might be willing to accept a lower offer.

How long have the owners lived there?

If the owners are moving out after a short period, it is important to find out why.

Is there anything that you would want to know about the house if you were buying?

One of the biggest fears for buyers is that they feel they may be missing out on some key information that would only be apparent once you are living in the property. For example, are there any noisy or troublesome neighbours or are there any major developments planned in the immediate area or basement excavations?

If you have any doubts about a house for flat,  you can always ask some of the local residents or the local shop keepers what they think.

What is included in the sale?

It is always useful to clarify what is included in the sale and specifically what you wish to be included in the sale on making an offer to purchase the property. For example, are the carpets, curtains, fixtures and fittings included? Are the owners willing to leave some of their furniture?

How long has the property been on the market?

If the house has been on the market for a long time, please feel free to ask us our opinion. In many cases, it is simply because demand in the local area for that size property has decreased or it may be an indication that the price of the property is too high.

What is the minimum price the seller will accept?

It may sound obvious, but it is always worth asking if a seller’s bottom line is negotiable. If it is, you could save yourself thousands of pounds.

Have there been any offers made on the property?

Not only will this help you to gauge how popular the property is with prospective buyers, it will also give you a good starting point for price negotiations.

When do the sellers have to move out?

Have the sellers already found another home? Otherwise, if the sellers are waiting to find somewhere else, will you have to wait for them to buy somewhere before you can progress?

Which way does the property face?

While the light entering into the property is a major issue for many home owners, the position of the property is also an important feature to consider. For example; a south facing kitchen in the summer can be a real problem for some people. Equally a north facing garden is not ideal for mid-summer evening get togethers. It is important to think about which rooms you use most and which way they face.

Have any major works been conducted on the property?

If so, you will be able to look at the relevant planning and building control consents. In most cases, you can search online for planning applications (granted and refused) on the local planning authority website.

Is the property listed? If so, what grade is it? And is it in a conservation area?

Listing means that a building is included on the National Heritage List as a property of ‘special architectural or historic interest’. It means that its special character must be maintained and its owners have a responsibility and a duty to ensure its upkeep. Contrary to popular belief, listing protects the complete building both inside and out, the area immediately surrounding and any extensions previously added. It may also include garden walls, courtyards and even statuary within the garden. If you buy a listed property you will be restricted in what you can do both inside and outside of the property. If the property is in a conservation area you should find out what restrictions apply.

How old is the property?

Not only is this nice to know, but the upkeep of older houses is often more expensive.

Can you try the taps?

Older houses and older water pipe systems often have issues with water pressure and uneven distribution of hot and cold water.

Have any of the rooms been redecorated recently? If so, why?

Often people will repaint a room in order to cover damp or cracks.

Can you move the furniture and have a peek under the rugs?

It is not unusual for people to hide their property blemishes behind furniture and rugs. A huge dent in the living room wall could be the difference between moving into your dream home right away or  having to redecorate the entire room first.

Have there been any problems with the boiler recently? How old is the boiler?

Not only do you need to be aware of any recent boiler issues. It is a good idea to know how old the boiler is. Will this be another cost you will have to factor into your budget? Does the boiler have a gas safety certificate? This is required if the property is ever rented out.

Does the property have up to date electrical certificates?

For safety it is important that the electrics are up to date and also if you ever plan to rent out the property this is a legal requirement.

How new and how secure are the drains and guttering?

Replacing drainage is a very expensive and time consuming undertaking. If it is raining when you view the property, do not miss the opportunity to check the pipes and guttering to ensure nothing is leaking.

What can we tell you about the local neighbourhood?

What are the schools like? What is the crime rate like? How good are the transport links? Where is the nearest petrol station? While we try our best to provide you with as much information as possible, it is always a good idea to conduct your own independent research into the local area.

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Contact us to arrange a valuation or consultation on 0207 581 4540 or 0788 764 4929