Top 7 Questions to Ask Estate Agents
When you are viewing your next property and you are greeted by the Estate Agent you should have these 7 questions ready to ask as you walk around the home.
It’s all well and good reading a home report, understanding the defects and making sense of what is covered and what isn’t, but there are things that are unspoken until you ask.
Here are the top 7 questions you should be asking.
Before we dive in, let me just say that you don’t need to feel embarrassed to ask any question. This, after all, is a huge investment for you, you should ask as much as you can to make an informed decision about your purchase.
If this property is to be your next home, ask to view it again. In Scotland, put a note of interest on the property and gain as much information about the property and area. Okay, here we go.
1. Why is the Seller Selling?
Always ask this question. It may just be for a job, moving in with a partner, marriage, upsizing, downsizing but occasionally it could be for bigger reasons.
They might not get on with the neighbours or can’t find parking on the street at night. These are things you will need to consider when buying the house.
If the owner is upsizing or downsizing, these too can be important areas to follow up on. Why is the place too small or become too big. Is it that the property gets too cold because it is so big or poorly insulated.
2. Any local plans that could affect our decision to buy?
The importance of this question relates to a new train line or motorway being built right beside your back fence or a huge building project that will being a lot of people into the area.
These are not major issues, everyone stays near something they don’t like, but it better to know than not.
3. Are there any issues with the building that will affect us in the near future?
It is important to know what costs are laying ahead after you purchase your home. It could be that the roof needs urgent attention or that the driveway has to be relayed due to subsidence.
As part of this question, also ask about the boiler and radiators. When were they last serviced? How old are they and do they all work as intended?
4. Are there any grievances with the neighbours? Any noisy ones?
This is an important one. Listen carefully. You should have already been able to look into the neighbours gardens and got a feel for the situation, but knowing if there have been any complaints or altercations is important to know.
If you look out and see the neighbour is running a car repair business out the back, be prepared for noise. Nothing wrong with that, you may be a car enthusiast and see it as an advantage.
Swings and trampolines signal children. Again, great if you have children and are looking for friends, not so good if you are looking to retire, want to relax in the warm sun in the school holidays.
Tall boundary trees could be that a neighbour refuses to cut them down to a reasonable height or that you are responsible for removing them if they are on your side of the border. (Vegetation is a whole other issue for another post)
5. Are all renovations, if any, approved?
Banks will ask this question too and the amount of money a bank will loan will be dependent on the certificates associated with the renovations.
A homeowner must be able to produce the necessary documentation or have the work inspected and a certificate issued after the renovation has been completed.
6. Are there any problems with damp or rot?
A home report ought to have highlighted any issues, but it is an important question to ask. Knowing there is a wet corner in the dining room or that the kitchen floor is a little bouncy may signal higher costs for you later.
7. When does the Seller expect to move out?
Asking this will give you timeframes to work with. If they are part of a long chain of houses that are sold, then it could be months before you get in.
There is also the problem that chains can collapse leaving everyone looking for new buyers again.
Bonus: 8. What’s included in the sale?
I left this till last because if you are satisfied with all the other answers you are probably quite sure about moving forward with the home purchase.
Some homeowners like to throw in appliances, curtains and cupboards, while others take the light bulbs out and leave only the bare walls. (I’ve seen it and it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth)
If an owner does offer items as part of the sale, make sure they are listed in any agreement as part of the sale so everyone is aware of what is being sold with the house.
A house is going to become your home and as part of that home it is imprtant to know what your future costs are and if you can get on with your neighbours.
Be sure to drive around the area a few times at different times of the day to get a feel for it. Take a walk through the area and chat to a few people on the street.
There is no perfect home for anyone. Each has a slight defect, blemish, or colour scheme that we don’t like. What is important though, is asking if you can take on the property and be a custodian of it and all the costs associated with it for the time you will live there.
Arm yourself with these Top 7 Questions to Ask Estate Agents and get some meaningful information to make your informed decision.
If you have a question, message me. I can help or at least know someone who can.
Maurice is a Glasgow Based Estate Agent, working with clients to maximise the value of their homes in the Scottish property market.
Helping to sell, buy and find homes in and around Glasgow, Maurice is part of making those dreams a reality for clients wishing to move or finding their next home and offers a number of services to support and guide clients to a successful conclusion.