When buying a home, it’s important to ask an estate agent key questions in order to get the best possible understanding of the home, the local area and the seller’s motivations. Here are some key questions to ask.
1. What is the reason the owner is selling?
If it is possible you should try to find out the owners motivation for selling. This is helpful as when it comes to negotiating the price, if the seller is looking to sell fast they may accept a lower offer on their home.
2. How long has the home been on the market for?
You should ask the agent how long the home has been on the market for. If the home has been on the market for a long period of time this could mean there is something wrong with it or it could mean it is overpriced. Whatever the reason, you may be able to get it for a lower price if it has been on sale for a long time.
3. What is the lowest price the seller will go to?
It is worth knowing what the lowest price the seller will go for, so you don’t spend time negotiating an offer that is under what they are willing to sell the home for. It will also help you understand if your offer is within the price they are willing to sell for.
4. Has the home changed in value?
It is good to know if the value of the home has changed recently, especially if it has dropped in value. You can look online at past sale prices of a home. One way is through Haus a valuation website. It tells you the price a home was sold for in the past, which you can then compare to the value of it now.
5. Has the home had any major renovations?
If the home has had any renovations done to it then you should ask the agent to see the planning permission they would have received to carry the renovations out. Or, you can look on the government website. If you find out that the planning permission wasn’t granted you could have a problem. The chances are you will have to pay for indemnity insurance.
6. Has there been any offers on the home yet?
It is good to find out if there has been any offers on the home, this allows you to see how much interest there is in the home. There is a chance the agent wont tell you how much the offer was but, if they do then it will give you an idea of where you stand in terms of price.
7. How old is the home?
Asking how old the home is, is a good idea as an older home may need more repairs and maintenance.
8. Can you tell me more about the local area?
Before moving to an area it is good to know more about it. What are the schools like? Where can you find the closest transport and shops? The estate agent should be able to provide you with all this information but if not do some research online.
9. Does the home have any damp?
It is best to check as damp is a major problem that needs to be fixed before you move in. If there is damp you can use it to negotiate the price. It’s always a good idea to check the condition of the house from the roof tiles all the way down to the foundations as it will be costly if there are issues when you move in.
10. What date do the owners need to move out by?
This will give you an idea of their timeline and how quickly they need to sell.
11. Does the boiler have any problems?
You should ask when the boiler was last serviced? You want to know if you will have any trouble with the boiler, meaning you will have to spent money to get it fixed.
12. What is the phone signal and broadband service like in the area?
The agent may know about the signal in the home and have information about the broadband services. If the agent is unsure, Ofcom provides a checker that looks at broadband and mobile coverage.
13. Are there any fixtures and fittings included?
You need to know if the seller will be leaving any fixtures or fittings such as a washing machine or other fixtures and fittings.
14. If I want to expand are there any restrictions?
This is something you should ask the agent if you are planning to expand the home as there might be restrictions.
15. Have any surveys been carried out on the home?
If so, what did they find? This will give you an idea of any potential problems with the property. You can also purchase your own survey!
16. Which way does the home face?
This is good to find out because if you like spending your evenings in the sun you want a house facing South. Or alternatively, if you like the sun to be coming in your home early in the morning then you want a home facing East.
17. What are the neighbours like?
Finding out if the neighbours are easy to get on with is a good idea as, not getting on with them could cause you stress. If there has ever been a complaint against a neighbour then it must be included on the TA6 form. To find out more about a TA6 form you can read or blog post here about the documents needed to sell a home.
It is also worth checking if there is any boundary disputes. Sometimes, these disputes can be quite hard to resolve so you don’t want to be caught up in this.
18. How much is council tax?
When buying a home you want to know what council tax band you are in and how much the council tax is. So, you can be prepared for it. One way to find out is to check online on the government website. The price of Council tax will vary depending on where you Live. Take a look below at an example of the prices of tax for 2022 to 2023 in Nottingham.
19. What’s the EPC rating like?
We went into details of an EPC here – the lower the rating the more expensive your bills are going to be which is not ideal in 2022 when bills have increased by 4x. If the EPC is poor but shows good potential then it might be worth calculating the costs of making them changes versus the costs of energy inefficiency.
If you ask all these questions to the estate agent you will be ready with all the information you need to make an informed decision on the home. An estate agent is happy to answer all questions you have as part of their service and it is better to know more about a home then not.