Questions to ask when buying a house in the UK

Questions to ask when buying a house

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, you’ll likely have dozens of questions to ask the seller and the estate agent. After all, buying a house is a huge commitment and you’ll want to ensure that everything is accounted for.

Whether you’re buying a house that needs renovation or you’re looking to move straight into a new build, you will need to go into the process with a list of house viewing questions to make your experience easier and give yourself the peace of mind that you've covered all bases.

In our guide below, we’ve put together an extensive list of house viewing questions that you should think about when going through the process of buying a house.

Questions to ask before buying a house

When it comes to thinking about what to look for when viewing a house, you should have a thorough house viewing/buying checklist prepared before you go and view the house, so that you know what to look for.

Take a look at some of the top questions you should ask before viewing/buying a home.

  • How long has the property been on the market? This will help you to determine the desirability of the property and if it’s been on the market for a long time (for over a year, for example) - consider asking why this is.
  • Why is the owner selling? Asking this question will help you to determine the reason for the current owner moving. Is it because of noisy neighbours? Does the house need too many expensive repairs? Perhaps it’s just because the owner wants to relocate to another city or move into a bigger property if they’re wanting to grow their family.
  • What is the local area/neighbours like? This question will help you to decide whether you’ll be moving into a nice neighbourhood that’s family-friendly, or if it’s not the best place and you’ll likely end up facing difficulties with your new neighbours.
  • Does the garden get much sunshine? This might seem like quite a trivial question, but if the garden of your new property is important to you, then this is a question that’s definitely worth asking.
  • Has the property undergone any major works, reconstruction or extensions? Asking this question will help you see whether any work performed on the property has been done legally and within the appropriate planning permission guidelines.

You should also ask questions about the actual house itself, including the rooms, bathroom conditions, roofing, brickwork and more. Take a look at some example questions that you should ask about the house itself.

  • Are there any signs of damp/mould?
  • What kind of windows are installed - single, double, triple-glazed?
  • How strong is the water pressure in the shower?
  • Which direction does the garden face?
  • What is the state of the roof/walls/tiles? Are there any cracks or missing tiles?
  • Does the house come with private or off-road parking?
  • How good is the Wi-Fi/data coverage throughout the property?

Questions to ask if you’re viewing a flat

While the questions that you should ask when buying a house will be pretty similar to a flat, there will be some additional questions to ask if you’re viewing/buying a flat; check them out below.

  • Is the flat freehold or leasehold?
  • How noisy are the neighbours/are the walls relatively sound-proof?
  • Does the property come with any outdoor space and is it shared or private?
  • What are the communal areas like - does the property have its own washing/drying facility or is it shared with other tenants in the building?
  • How old is the property and does it have any damp/mould issues?

Questions to ask estate agents

While the above questions will likely all be aimed towards the estate agent as they’re the ones who negotiate and arrange house/flat sales, there are some specific questions that you should also ask the estate agent in order to gauge the value/condition of the house that you’re intending on buying.

  • What is the minimum price the owner will accept for the property?
  • What other offers have been made on the property so far?
  • Approximately how much is the council tax/utility bills?
  • Exactly what is included in the sale?
  • Has the property lost or gained value in recent years?

Top tips for viewing a property

Viewing a house can be an incredibly exciting experience, especially if you’re buying your first property, but there are a few things that you should bear in mind when it comes to viewing a house/flat.

  • Really take your time and ensure that you’ve covered every part of the property thoroughly so you really get a good feel for it.
  • Look/smell for any signs of damp or mould.
  • Consider viewing the property multiple times. While your first visit should be thorough enough, if you’re seriously considering purchasing the property, go and have another look around before you put an offer in to make sure you’re fully happy with it.
  • Make sure that you have a proper valuation survey carried out on the property.
  • Spend some time in the neighbourhood to get a feel for the local people, and nearby parks and schools to see if you could see yourself living there.
  • Ensure that you ask the estate agent any hard-hitting questions. While asking the seller is a good idea for some questions, the estate agent is legally obliged to answer any questions about the state of the property and its value.

Are house viewings allowed now?

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, house viewings had to be specifically arranged by appointment-only and it was a little tricky to view houses during the lockdowns in the UK as safety measures had to be obeyed.

Now that things are starting to ease a little, virtual house viewings are still advised, but it is possible to attend an in-person viewing. While virtual viewings can still give you a good feel of a property, it’s usually always best to try and view a property in-person where possible so you can really see everything up close.

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