Nine questions you should ask during a viewing
Updated: Mar 18
As an estate agent in Birmingham, property viewings are a part of our daily routine. For a buyer this can be one of the most exciting parts of the property buying process. However, it is important not to get carried away and you should take each viewing as an opportunity to ask as many questions as possible about the property before putting forward any offers. In this article, you will find some of the questions we would recommend.
1. How long has the property been on the market? How many viewings/offers has the property had?
Asking these questions will give you a clear indication of how much interest there is in the property. For instance, if the property has been on the market for quite a long time, this might be because the estate agent the seller is using has overvalued the property. This lack of traction could mean that the seller is now more open to offers below their original asking price.
2. Is there a chain?
When you are looking to buy a property, a chain would mean your purchase of that property is dependent on the seller being able to find a new property. In turn, that seller could find that their ability to purchase a property could be dependent on the owners of that property being able to find a new property, and so on. The more chains that are involved, the more complicated things get and the greater the chance of the entire chain falling apart. As a result, we highly recommend placing offers for properties with no upward chain to ensure that the sales process runs as smoothly as possible.
3. How many people have lived here?
If a property you are viewing doesn’t have a history of being a rental property, but it has changed hands frequently, this should be an immediate red flag. This could be an indication of issues with the property such as pest problems or damp, or it could be the result of disputes with the neighbours.
4. Why are the sellers selling?
There could be a very reasonable reason for the current owners wanting to sell their property. For example, an older couple might want to downsize since their children have left home and they no longer require the extra space. However, as mentioned previously, their decision to sell could be due to some disputes with the current neighbours, which isn’t something you’d wish to inherit.
5. How much will the bills cost?
Some people underestimate the expenses involved in owning a house. As well as the mortgage, you need to take into consideration how much the council tax is going to be, as well as any utility bills such as electric, gas and water. An estate agent should be able to ask the seller for this exact amount.
Underestimating expenses is just one mistake that people make when buying a house. If you’re considering or in the process of doing so and curious of what other mistakes to avoid, we recommend reading our article here.
6. How old is the boiler and when was it last serviced? And is the wiring up to current specifications?
Having to replace an old boiler and rewiring a house doesn’t come cheap. But, that doesn’t mean you should steer clear of properties that require these tasks all together. If you are happy with every other aspect of the property, you should consider negotiating with the seller to reduce their asking price to take these future costs into consideration.
7. Have any renovations been done?
If a property has been recently renovated this may indicate that the property has been well looked after. However, if you have an offer accepted for a property, we would still recommend hiring a surveyor to inspect the property to ensure that the property isn’t in need of any major repairs. Some sellers may use a fresh coat of paint, for example, to cover up cracks. Additionally, if the seller has had an extension, you should ensure that they obtained planning permission. Otherwise, you risk it being torn down.
8. What is included in the sale?
It’s not uncommon for white goods such as fridges, oven and washing machines to be included in the sale, as well as some furniture. This will all be negotiated when you exchange contracts with the seller. This might be particularly useful for any first time buyers that don’t already have those appliances, and consequently, it could save you a lot of money.
9. Is the phone and internet signal good?
This question is often overlooked. How frustrating would it be to constantly need to be in a specific room in order to take phone calls or send and receive messages? From my own experience of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, I found having video calls with colleagues or business partners to be very difficult in certain rooms of my house.
Are there any questions that should be asked during a viewing that you think we've missed? If so, please feel free to let us know in the comments section below. And if you would like any further advice about the property buying process, or if you require an estate agent in Birmingham, contact Matthews Estate Agents using the contact details below or visit our website here to find out more about us and what we can offer you.
Tel: 0121 358 0008 (Lines open Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30)