10 questions to ask when viewing a house

It’s easy to get carried away when you think you’ve found your dream home. But no matter how perfect it seems, it’s always wise to do a bit of property probing to find out the facts. Have these house-viewing questions ready before you step over the threshold…

It’s easy to get carried away when you think you’ve found your dream home. But no matter how perfect it seems, it’s always wise to do a bit of property probing to find out the facts. Have these house-viewing questions ready before you step over the threshold…

1. How long has the house been up for sale?

The answer to this can be quite revealing. If the house has been on the market for more than three months, ask the estate agent why. Perhaps other buyers have been put off by something you don’t know about. Or maybe it’s over-priced.

If the house has been up for sale for a while, the sellers might be willing to accept a lower offer. So, it could work in your favour.

2. How long have the sellers lived there?

If the people selling have only lived there for a short time, this could be a red flag. Maybe they don’t get on with their neighbours or they don’t like the area.

On the other hand, they may be an older couple who’ve brought up their family there for the past 30 years. They may be more interested in a suitable family who will love their home, rather than the highest offer. In this case, you may need to charm them.

No matter how long they’ve been there, it’s important to find out why they are selling.

3. Is there a chain?

Before you start thinking about putting in an offer, you’ll want to know exactly when the owners will be moving out. If they haven’t found another place yet, or are in a chain, the whole process could take ages. Is it worth hanging on or should you keep looking to avoid the hassle of getting caught up in a chain?

4. What’s the area like?

If you’ve got kids, you’ll want to know about local schools, parks and leisure centres in the area. Of course, you can do your own research, but the seller might be able to offer some valuable first-hand info on transport links, parking, local pubs and road noise.  

5. What work has been done on the house?

If any major renovations have been done, ask to see builders’ receipts, guarantees and any planning permissions. If they’ve extended without planning permission, you could end up having to tear down the extension.

Ask about any damp issues and whether they’ve been resolved. Minor damp problems that can be fixed could help you negotiate a lower price. And check with the seller whether the house has ever been flooded.

6. What’s included in the sale?

Make sure you know exactly what’s included in the sale. Are fixtures and fittings included? What about the garden shed and greenhouse? Are they leaving the satellite dish when they move?

7. What internet access do they have?

If the house is in a rural area, check what types of broadband are available. It could be an issue if you rely on an ultra-fast connection.

8. Can you see the Energy Performance Certificate?

It’s a legal requirement that the seller or estate agent makes an Energy Performance Certificate available to prospective buyers. The EPC can give you an idea of the property’s energy efficiency, and estimated energy costs and savings that could be made.

9. Can you turn on the taps

It may seem a bit minor, but low water pressure is enough to put some buyers off. If it’s just a trickle, there could be larger problems looming.

How long does it take for hot water to come through? How old is the boiler and when was it last serviced?

10. What are the neighbours like?

Vendors are most likely to say, “they’re lovely; couldn’t wish for better”. But, if they’ve had any past disputes with the neighbours, they’re legal obliged to tell you if you ask.

Compare cheap home insurance

Once you’ve found your dream home, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected. Compare home insurance quotes with us and see if you can find a cheaper deal.

Compare home insurance

Get a quote in minutes and you could start saving

Get a quote
Get a quote in minutes and you could start saving Get a quote