Questions to Ask on a Viewing SOS

When you’re looking for a new home, whether you’re buying or renting, getting swept up in the excitement of possibly finding your next happy home can mean you don’t ask all the sensible questions that you wanted to. To save you the job of having to dampen your excitement, here are some questions you may want to ask.

If you’re renting

  • Does the flat come furnished? If the agent says yes, have them point out what’s included and send an inventory over before you sign the contract.
  • Which bills are included? If the previous tenant is available, see if you can find out how much previous bills roughly were.
  • Does it come with parking? If not, do you need a permit to park outside the property?
  • Why are the previous tenants moving out?
  • What parts of the property are you responsible for maintaining? For example, the garden, balcony, windows.
  • What’s this area like to live in?
  • Am I allowed to decorate or add changes to the décor?
  • Can I have pets? You need to ask as it may be in your contract that you can’t, but they may be flexible if you ask at this early stage.
  • If there are any decorative issues or breakages, ask the agent whether the landlord will be fixing them before you move in.

If you’re buying

  • Why is the owner selling? How long did the last owner live here? Have they already found somewhere else to live? Gauge the situation and establish if there are any iffy circumstances straight off.
  • Who are the neighbours?
  • What’s this area like to live in?
  • What offers have they had so far? What’s the lowest amount they’d sell for? The agent is likely to be honest about this if they have been instructed to sell quickly.
  • How much are the service charges and ground rent if there is any? What is the council tax band?
  • How old are the drains and guttering? Have there been any problems with damp? Check the home thoroughly, including walls and behind furniture for possible leaks or cracks.
  • Ask some basic questions about the workings around the home. How is the pressure in the shower? Do the windows lock? Are all of the sockets and taps working? Feel free to ask to test them – it’ll save you the hassle of another small thing to sort out when you move in.
  • Is there a TV aerial and phone socket?
  • When was the electric last rewired?
  • What kind of boiler it is – a combi-boiler? How old is it? Does it have a guarantee?
  • Have you got an outdoor space? If there’s a garage, find out if there is electric in there. It’s also worth asking if you legally own the driveway.
  • Remember to check the EPC to see what the energy efficiency is like in the property.
  • Do your research on Rightmove’s ‘Sold Prices’ section to see what similar properties in that area are going for.

This may seem like a lot of questions, only some of which will be relevant to your situation, but some of these probes could help unearth essential information about the property. Some things on the list may be easy for you to sort once you move in but might give you more price negotiating power if you ask on a viewing! Good luck on your hunt for your new home!

Source: Rightmove, 2018