Vital Questions to Ask When Viewing a Home

When viewing a property, especially one you walk into and think ‘this is it’, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions and forget all about the practicalities of house buying. The truth is that while a house may seem perfect on the surface, it may be hiding an abundance of hidden problems; problems that if you want to uncover, you need to be asking the right questions.

What’s included in the sale?

For example; will the white goods remain and how much land comes under the property’s deeds? There may be additional land included that isn’t clearly part of the property. While that might seem like a bonus, remember that if you can’t sell the land (not always easy, and with its own repercussions) you will be responsible for its upkeep.

Some owners will also wish to leave behind their furniture, which while portrayed as a bonus, could in reality cause problems. Ensure you know what the deal is, so you can make sure suitable arrangements are in place before closing the deal.

How much do the average monthly bills cost?

Including the utilities and taxes. While of course, heating and electricity bills are highly variable according to the habits of the owners, factors such as the insulation of the property and the amount of natural light it benefits from (or doesn’t) will ultimately affect this too.

Is the property a listed building or in a conservation area?

While there are many benefits to living in a conservation area (house prices tend to stay relatively stable for instance) this fact may well affect your ability to make any significant changes to the property.
If the building itself is listed, you can forget about your dream of carrying out a loft conversion and building a conservatory: in reality, you might not even be allowed to install double glazing or change the flooring.

Is the house fully central heated?

And if so, how old is the system? Not all homes benefit from central heating (choosing either electricity or old-fashioned, expensive and inefficient forms of heating such as oil) and those that do, may well be kitted out with an ancient and potentially hazardous system.

Have there ever been any problems with the neighbours?

This one is vital because if there are problems with neighbours, you will inherit the problems, and problem neighbours are much harder to get rid of than a bit of damp or an inefficient heating system.

Note that if any neighbourly disputes have been formerly reported, it’s illegal for the house seller not to declare this. However, if disputes have always been kept under-wraps, you may not find out until it’s too late.
For this reason, it might be worth carrying out your own investigations and speaking to a few of the neighbours yourself.

Are there or has there ever been any problems with damp?

While minor damp problems are usually easy to rectify, severe damp can be a nightmare that affects the health and happiness of those forced to live with it.

Be sure to have the property checked out thoroughly, in every room from the porch through to the loft.
If the tale of a previous damp problem is regaled to you, ensure you’re informed of why the problem occurred and how it was fixed.

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