Property Expert’s Checklist for House Viewings as We Approach the Best Months to Buy a House

Spring is deemed the best time to put your house on the market because more people want to move during the summer months.

With some of the highest rates of active buying, Anna McEntee from the home insurance team at Comparethemarket has revealed a list of vital questions for house-hunters to keep in mind when viewing a property to help you find your dream home in time for summer.

“Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve been through the purchase process before, viewing a potential new home can be an exciting experience. However, purchasing a property is a big investment – and commitment – so it’s crucial that prospective homeowners ask all the right questions when viewing to ensure they’re making the right decision.”

 10 crucial questions that  you must ask when viewing a property

  • How long has the house been up for sale? The answer to this question can potentially be quite revealing. If it’s been on the market for over three months, something might be putting buyers off – the price or something less obvious. Have a word with the estate agent to find out more.
  • How long have the sellers lived there? A property that’s only been lived in for a short time before being put back on the market could be a red flag. The reasoning behind the sale could be perfectly innocent, but it’s worth investigating either way.
  • Is there a chain? This’ll tell you how long the whole process is likely to take. If the current owners haven’t yet found a new place or are in a chain, you might want to keep looking elsewhere, depending on your ideal timeline.
  • What’s the area like? Schools, parks, transport links, and leisure facilities are some things you want to ask about. You can find out a lot from your own research, but someone who’s lived there before can give you a better insight into the feel of the area.
  • What work has been done on the house? If major renovations have been done, you should ask to see builders’ receipts, guarantees, and proof of planning permission. If an extension has been built without planning permission, you may have to tear it down. It’s also a good idea to ask about any damp issues or flooding they may have had.
  • What’s included in the sale? Find out exactly what’s included in the sale. You should ask whether fixtures and fittings, garden sheds and greenhouses, and the satellite dish will be left for you.
  • What internet access is available? If the house is in a rural area, you’ll want to know what broadband you can access. An ultra-fast connection may be especially important if you or someone in your household works from home.
  • Can you turn on the taps? Low water pressure is one thing but a tap that only lets out a trickle could indicate a larger problem. Pay attention to how long it takes for hot water to come through, find out the boiler’s age, and ask when it was last serviced.
  • What are the neighbours like? Even the most perfect property can be tainted by a bad neighbour. Sellers are legally obliged to tell you if they’ve had any past disputes with the neighbours, so it’s a good idea to add this to your list of questions to ask.
  • How much are the council tax and utility costs? It’s good to understand the potential outgoings of a new home, so it’s worth asking for rough costs of council tax and utility bills. It’s also a legal requirement for sellers/estate agents to share the EPC rating, so I request this to understand how energy-efficient the property is, as that will impact energy bills.