What to ask a seller before completing

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Buying, selling, renting: Here's how to get ahead in property

House hunting can be so exciting that it's easy to forget some of the key things you need to know before making that leap.

Sellers are required to fill in a Property Information Form, which gives the buyer information they would be unable to find out through surveys or the standard searches, including information on boundaries or notices of development or planning permission of properties nearby.

But there are also some important questions to ask the estate agent, or owner, including:

1. How long has the house been on the market?

If the house has been on the market for six months or more, ask the agent why, thinking about asking price, location or possible structural problems.

2. Why are the owners moving?

If the owners are moving because of problems with the property, it should ring alarm bells.

3. Has the house had any major building work recently?

While it’s recommended to have a full structural survey, it’s worth finding out if any building work has been completed recently too.

By law, estate agents must tell you any ongoing issues with the house.

4. Is the property listed?

This could have an effect on planned structural renovations.

5. Is the property in a chain?

Have the sellers found their next property? If so, they could want to sell their current house quickly, making them open to accepting lower offers.

6. Does the area have problems?

Ask about the crime rate, any congestion problems or on street parking issues.

7. What’s included in the sale?

Ask about white goods, a garden shed or furniture.

8. What are the bills like?

Enquire about council tax and average utility bills.

9. Any problem neighbours?

As well as asking, visit the area at different times to get an idea of what the area is like.

10. Which way does the garden face?

South-facing is best.

11. What is the water pressure like?

Turn on the taps and see.

12. Is there a decent internet service?

Vital most would say!

13. Are there good local amenities?

Quiz your estate agent about the local community, shops, restaurants, pubs, facilities and schools, and drive or walk around the vicinity to find out.

14. Is there room for negotiation?

A range of reasons can give you the opportunity to haggle over the house price.

Don’t be afraid to barter if you feel the house isn’t worth the asking price, but be clear about your interest in the property from the outset.

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