Today – What should I ask before I buy a house?
Buying a house is a big deal, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What should I ask before I buy a house?
It’s vital that you find out as much information as you can before you buy to ensure that you know every detail of the property that you’re taking on, and that you can settle any doubts that you may have.
What’s included in the sale?
Often, sellers will include items in the house in the sale, such as furnishings, fixtures, or white goods. If they haven’t mentioned it, make sure that you ask. It could mean that you don’t have to buy the item before you move in if you don’t have it, and if you do have it, you can compare and see if you’re getting a better version. If you don’t want any of the furnishings, you can also make sure that they aren’t left there for you to deal with on moving day.
What should I ask before I buy a house?
Have there been any past issues that I should be aware of?
Houses can suffer from all manner of problems, some minor and some much more severe. Find out all issues that the current owners have experienced so you know if you’re at risk of also suffering – for example, is the house close to a river? Has it ever been affected by flooding? While you can’t know for sure what will happen when you move in, if you know that the house has been flooded more than once in the last year, it’s a fair bet that it will happen again.
How old are the components?
Find out the age of the roof, the boiler, the bathroom suite – anything that you can. If the heating system in the house you’re viewing is old, you may have to look at replacing it which can be very costly, especially if you’re looking at a larger house. If it’s new, get the details of the warranty, so if you do have any issues, you’ve got yourself covered.
Why are you selling?
This question can do you as a buyer a favour in more than one respect. If the seller is moving to relocate, they may be looking for a fast sale which could open them up to a lower offer. If they’re moving because they don’t like the area, or they’ve experienced issues with the house, this is something that you want to take into consideration when thinking about putting in an offer. They probably won’t be entirely honest with you as they don’t want to put you off the sale. Still, if they aren’t answering your question, you may benefit from investigating the area and making sure that there isn’t any apparent reason that they’re moving that will be a problem for you if you decide to buy it.
How long has the house been on the market?
If a house has been on the market for over three months, there could be a good reason why. Look at the local area and see if there is another house for sale that you can compare with the one you’re viewing and see if there is anything that stands out to you. It could be as simple as the house is overpriced, but there could also be problems that other viewers have noticed in the house that you haven’t seen.
Have there been any other offers?
If you can, find out how many other people are interested in the property if there are other potential buyers. This can help you decide what your offer should be if you know other people are involved in the process – If there are no other offers, you may be able to put in a lower offer than if there are other people also looking to buy.
How much is the council tax?
Taking into account the monthly costs of running your new house is something that every homeowner should consider from the start of the process. The council tax bands can vary hugely, so make sure that you know which band the house you’re looking at is in and that it can sit comfortably in your monthly budget once you move in. If not, you could face severe issues down the line as not paying your council tax is a serious offence.
How much are the utilities each month?
Again, it’s an important question so you can factor in your monthly costs. If the house that you’re looking to buy tends to have a high heating bill because it’s old, or quite spacious, knowing this from the start will make life for you easier when you’re moved in, preventing you from a nasty surprise when it comes to paying the gas bill.
What’s the area like?
It’s worth finding out the positives and the negatives of any area before you consider buying a house there. You want to find out if it’s a noisy area if the rush hour traffic is going to cause you problems getting to work, or what time the local shop shuts. Living in an area that isn’t suitable for you will cause you problems down the line, so doing your research before you buy can save you a lot of money and hassle.
Has the house recently been decorated? If so, why?
Often, sellers will repaint their house before putting it on the market as it can make a big difference when their potential buyers are viewing. Usually, the painting is to smarten the house up a little, but it can also cover up flaws that they don’t want you to see. Painting an affected wall can hide signs of damp on the walls or even cracks that could potentially be a sign of subsidence. They aren’t always, sometimes cracks are purely cosmetic – but it’s better safe than sorry. Problems like damp or subsidence could cause you massive problems down the line as a homeowner, so make sure that you’re not being tricked.
Are there any extensions or renovations?
Try to get any contact information from the current owner for any work that’s been done if it’s relatively recent. If you do have any issues, it means that you can get back to them and get things sorted easier and cheaper than having to have someone new rectify.
Is there any stigma?
A stigma could be anything, from relatively innocent to much more concerning. Ask the seller, but also do some local research. The last thing you want to do is move into a house that holds a stigma in the area and for you to be associated with it – this could range from rumours of hauntings to illegal activities that took place in the house previously. A house that has a stigma tends to be marketed below market value as it’s harder to find a buyer, so if you see a house with a low asking price and you don’t know why it’s worth looking into the house’s history. Houses like this can often attract a lot of negative attention that you, as a buyer, will not want to be involved in.
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