The Right Questions

When viewing a property, you won’t get all the answers unless you ask the right questions. Richard Carpenter from our Fine & Country department in St.Neots gives some tips on what to ask at a property viewing.

It’s easy to be swept up in the moment when viewing a potential new residence. All too often we are distracted by the look and feel of a property, imagining what life would look like in this home, and we forget to ask the important questions. Autumn is a prime buying and selling season, so here are some questions to have in your arsenal when viewing property.

Naturally, many of the questions you ask will depend on your individual needs, but there are some points that apply across the board and can help you determine if this is the home for you.

Exactly what is included in the sale?

Is the garden shed or greenhouse included? How about the fixtures and fittings? Is there any land with the property? Make sure you know exactly what you are getting. 

Is the property listed? If so, what grade is it? And is it in a conservation area?

If you buy a listed property there are restrictions on what you can do to the property. If it is in a conservation area, you may be required to ask for permission before you cut down any trees or change the exterior of the building.

How much is the Council Tax? And how much are utility bills in the area?

While these may seem like small considerations, they are reoccurring expenses that will impact on your monthly budget.

Have the current vendors done any recent renovations or redecorating?

If they have, check what warranties are still in place as this may indicate savings in the long run.

Are there mains services? How old is the boiler and has it been regularly checked by a registered professional?

Again, these can be long-term money-savers or unanticipated expenses.

Who are the current neighbours?

This may seem unimportant, but if there have been disputes in the past these could spill over into your ownership term.

What school catchment areas is the property within?

Whether or not you have school age children, it is wise to check the school catchments, as homes within good catchment areas tend to hold their value.

Why is the owner selling?

If you have an idea about the owner’s circumstances, you’ll know whether they are after a quick sale, which can give you bargaining power.

How long have the vendors been at the property?

If the house keeps changing hands quickly there may be a reason. Try to find out why to avoid any surprises and budget for any improvements that may be required.

Has any planning permission been passed or requested?

If you like the property, but are considering changes, it is important to know the history of planning permission applications on the property.

Finally, if it is an apartment, what are the charges and regulations?

You should be armed with the details, including ongoing costs, restrictions on parking, pets and common property maintenance.

While there are some things you won’t know until you move in, by seeking answers to these questions you can ensure you are forewarned of any major issues and costs that are likely to arise, helping you determine whether the asking price is right for your budget and whether the property will ultimately be the dream home you are looking for.

For advice on selling or buying property, please contact Fine & Country St Neots on 0330 333 1060 or visit www.fineandcountry.com

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