Last week we celebrated (and by celebrated, I mean ordered kebabs and watched Harry Potter) one year in our first home. I genuinely cannot believe 365 days have passed since we started fending for ourselves in our own home we’d worked so hard to save for. It’s a good feeling knowing we’ve survived a year together and haven’t ended up living off beans and toast as I first suspected. Although, if cooking was down to me, that’s exactly what we’d be living off.
If I cast my mind back to the whole house buying process, viewing properties was definitely the part I was looking forward to the most. It’s the bit I’d dreamed about but also what made it all feel so real. I’m not gonna lie, I was anxious at first because I didn’t know what to expect from the estate agent but I settled into it quickly. I think the trick is being prepared beforehand and knowing what questions you’re going to ask so you’re not standing there like a wally thinking “fuck what was that question Mum told me to ask about the boiler?”
And that’s exactly why I’m writing this post. So if you’ve lined up a few properties to go and check out but have zero clue what you should be asking, here are 30 questions to ask when viewing houses.
1. How long has the property been on the market for? Is there any reason why?
2. Why is the property being sold? Obviously if it’s a new build then you won’t have to ask this one!
3. Is there an attic? How easy to access is it?
4. Can I have pets? If so, are there limits to what animals can live here?
5. What storage does it have?
6. Do the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms work?
7. What way does the property face? Any chance of a sunny garden?
8. What are the neighbours like?
9. Are there any trees growing around your boundaries?
10. What’s actually included in the house price? The shed? White goods? The old trampoline at the end of the garden?
11. How many keys are there to the property (front and back doors and windows)?
12. Is there any damp?
13. Does the drainage work properly in the garden?
14. How fast is the broadband in the area?
15. Is the water already running and working?
16. Where can you park? Is it off-road? If it’s on-road, how easy is it to get a spot and do you need a permit?
17. Can you find out the exact carpet/paint/worktops/cupboards/tiles that are used in the property? We had to ask this as we’re planning on adding a couple more units to the kitchen so we need to make sure we have the exact same materials.
18. Are there any communal/shared areas like a bin store or park?
19. What’s the area like? Where’s the nearest station? Is there a gym nearby?
20. Are there other people interested in the property? If so, have they made an offer?
21. Is the property leasehold or freehold?
22. How much is council tax?
23. If it’s a new build, how long do you have to report snags? These are little problems in the house like a bath panel that doesn’t fit properly or an uneven cupboard which the developers will come and fix for you within a year or so of the property being built.
24. What does the new home warranty (NHBC) include?
25. What does the service charge cover?
26. How much are utility bills (electricity, gas, water)?
27. Who are the electricity, gas and water suppliers?
28. Is the price negotiable?
29. Is there a particular mortgage advisor you recommend working with?
30. If the house is on a new development, are there any plans to build more houses on it?
There are a tonne more questions you’ll probably want to ask but these are the ones I found on an old note on my phone from our first viewing. And it goes without saying, if you walk in and know the property isn’t for you, then you won’t have to ask all these questions and can just enjoy wandering around the house.
Also, please don’t stress if you forget to ask certain questions. It’s not the end of the world! You can drop your estate agent an email anytime and they’ll be able to get back to you. Just make sure you enjoy the experience as viewing houses is the fun part!
Do you recommend any questions to ask when viewing houses? Have I forgotten any?