Buying a new home can be stressful experience, especially with the omnipresent uncertainly that you’ll never really know what you’re buying until you’ve moved in.
That’s where estate agents come in. Yes, their primary job is always going to be make that all-important sale, but it’s also their job to know anything and everything about the property that they’re selling.
In this article, we’ll cover off five of the most important questions to ask an estate agent when you’re viewing a property.
How long has the property been up for sale?
If a property seems perfect but has somehow been on the market for a long time, there’s a good chance that previous potential buyers have been put off by something you’ve not spotted yet. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask your estate agent how long the property has been on the market, and further to this, how many people have viewed it but turned it down.
While you may have just hit upon an undiscovered gem, it’s worth remembering that you’re well within your rights to ask the estate agent about this, and if there have been a lot of no-sales, you might want to start looking into why.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Rightmove and Zoopla aren’t always accurate when it comes to their property listing dates. For example, when a property is reduced, quite often it will reset the ‘Added on Rightmove’ date.
What is the seller’s situation?
This one is a useful question for two reasons: firstly, if the seller has already bought a new property, you may be able to get a knockdown price if they’re keen to move quickly. On the other hand, if the seller is part of a chain (i.e. if they’re waiting for someone else to sell, and that seller is waiting for someone else to sell… you get the idea), then you may have to wait quite a while before the deal is ready to complete, and it might even fall through if one of the other sellers changes their mind. It’s worth knowing if this is the case so you can keep you options open.
What is included in the sale?
Not necessarily a deal-breaker kind of question, but if you’re not expecting to have much cash around after buying the property, it’s worth asking your estate agent exactly which things will be left around. White goods especially can be costly, so make sure you know if you’re going to have to splash the cash or if they’ll still be there when you move in.
Why is the owner selling?
There are a thousand innocent reasons to sell a property, and chances are the seller will be moving for exactly one of these reasons. However, there are things you can’t learn about a property or neighbourhood from a brief look around, so there’s no harm at all in asking your estate agent about this all-important question. After all, what if the seller is moving out because of a rat infestation? Or perhaps aggressive neighbours? These are things you won’t know until you move in, so do your research!
Can you speak directly to the seller?
The seller will be able to give you a far more detailed picture of the house and area, and you have the right to ask these questions. More than that, you have the right to request a meeting! If you feel that there’s something not quite adding up, the seller may be able to balance the maths for you. Above all, remember – there is no harm in asking, just make sure you pick your questions wisely.