Top 10 Questions To Ask When Buying A Property

When buying a property, you are making a significant investment that could make or break your buy-to-let business. For that reason, when viewing a property, it’s time to put aside that British habit of saying nothing for fear of being nosey or impolite.>

You need to know everything you possibly can. Sellers will be expecting a few possible questions they would prefer not to answer — so don’t be afraid. However, why not direct your questions to the estate agent if you prefer? They can help you get the information you need and perhaps even help you bag a sale at the right price for you.

Read on and bite the bullet with our all-important questions that all buyers should ask.

Why is the owner selling?

This is an innocent enough question but could reveal some very helpful answers. Most people are upsizing or downsizing or moving geographically. However, it might reveal something negative about the area or neighbours. Alternatively, you might find out the owner needs a quick sale for personal reasons, which could give you an inroad into snagging a bargain.

How long has the property been on the market?

While selling a property can take a while, it’s possible to gauge the current level of interest. If the property has been on the market for over three months, ask the estate agent what interest there has been. If there has been little to none, then ask the estate agent their opinion as to why. If there are no other issues, the agent may conclude the property is overpriced, and once again, you are in a position to put in a lower bid that stands a reasonable chance of being accepted.

Has the property changed hands recently?

Many people buy a property only to find that their finances have changed and they are looking to move again. However, if that keeps happening or there is a rapid change in owners, you could have neighbours from hell who have turned a dream property into a living nightmare. Finding out if this is the case will help you avoid several sleepless nights.

What is the minimum price the seller will accept?

This might be a surprising question to ask, and you may not get an answer, but you might. After all, when you ask this question, it is a “buying signal” that estate agents will be looking for. Most estate agents earn nothing on an unsold property, but their commission from a property selling at £90,000 instead of £100,000 will be very similar. It’s, therefore, in their interest to nurture a sale and might just give you the information you need to make a sound and profitable investment.

Have the seller’s found a new home?

Questions about a seller’s circumstances can help you assess their desire to sell the property quickly (and, therefore, at a lower price). When you bid on a property, it’s often subject to you selling yours, and consequently, a chain can soon occur from one seller to the next. The only way to stop it is when a buyer can complete the sale without the need to sell a property.

If you can’t sell your home but still buy a new home, you effectively own two properties and bridging loans even for a couple of months are either extremely expensive or unavailable to many. If your seller has found their dream home, you are in a great position to put in a lower offer and to have it accepted, especially if you are buying outright for your BTL business and can end the chain

What is the area like, and are there any plans that could affect the property?

If you hope to purchase a property where tenants will be happy and stay, you need to know that area is suitable. You can ask the estate agent about local schools, shops, transport links and the crime rate. It’s also important to know if there are any major plans for building on local fields which could turn a tranquil place of beauty into a noisy building site.

Do you have noisy neighbours?

There we said it—a very direct question. If you ask the owner or the estate agent, they may want to deflect any issues if there are some. They will have bought the property without anyone being honest to them about nightmare neighbours, but while they don’t have to tell you, you should be looking for signs of hesitation and possible lies.

If any issues have escalated, the owners may have thought they were doing the right thing to contact the council or police. However, if they have made any formal complaints, they must legally detail them when they complete the TA6 form to provide buyers with important information.

How old are the boiler, roof, drains and gutterings?

These are expensive to fix, so before any issues come to bear from a builder’s report, ask the question.

What is included in the property?

It’s essential to find out what is included in the sale as it could significantly affect the value of what you are buying. If the owners are moving overseas, they might be leaving everything, including sheds, greenhouses, kitchen appliances including fridges, freezers, ovens, washing machine, dishwasher, and curtains. Alternatively, they could be taking every last thing.

Can they explain the energy performance certificate?

The energy performance certificate details how efficiently the home runs. This will be affected by things such as loft insulation and double glazing. Make sure you also find out when these upgrades were made.

10 Questions to ask when buying a property: Things to Remember

With a lot to unpack, here’s a quick rundown:

  • Questions about a seller’s circumstances that can help you negotiate a lower price include asking why the owner is selling and if they have found a new home to buy.
  • Other questions that could help you get a lower price are asking how long the property has been on the market, what is the lowest price the seller will accept
  • While asking if the property has changed hands recently could help you uncover a potential issue with the property unknown to previous owners at the point of sale, such as neighbours from hell. You should also ask the seller about noisy neighbours directly.
  • Don’t forget to ask questions about the area as well as any building plans close to the property that could decrease the property value and/or become an issue while underway.
  • Questions about the property include asking what is included in the sale price, such as fixtures and fittings. You should also ask about the age of the roof, boiler, gutterings, double glazing and loft insulation and the energy performance.

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