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Questions to Ask When Viewing a House

Joel Clyne 08 March 2022

Viewing a property almost feels as if you've graduated from Rightmove! You've gone from looking at houses on the screen to seeing them in person and, much like if you ever come across a celebrity out in the real world, they usually appear smaller than you'd imagined!

Check out my previous blog on the different search methods we tried during the search process here.

To date, we've viewed a variety of houses. One which needed a lot of work. Another which would have been a dream. And finally, one that sat somewhere in the middle. Here are some of the questions that we've learned to ask whilst there.

Is the property freehold or leasehold?

Usually, you'll have that information available to you before viewing the property. However, some listings don't have this information to hand. For some, this can be a deal-breaker, so ensure that you know where you stand before going any further.

How long is the lease?

If the property is a leasehold, you need to find out how long that lease is. If the lease is less than 70 years, you may struggle to get a mortgage from a lender. However, most leases are longer, between 90 - 120 years, with some even over 900 years. If the lease falls within this bracket, getting a mortgage approved shouldn't be an issue.

How old is the boiler?

It's worth knowing how old the boiler is before submitting an offer. If a new boiler is likely to be needed within a couple of years, it's wise to factor that into your offer. Boilers are expensive and, according to Homeserve, their average lifespan is between 10-15 years.

Has there been much interest in the property?

The likelihood is that there will have been as there's a considerable demand for houses at the moment, but it's still worth asking the question. If you're interested in the property, then you know that you need to get a move on with your offer; otherwise, you'll likely miss out.

Have there been any offers on the property?

Please don't feel that it's too cheeky to ask this. You're within your rights to do so. Whilst the estate agent can't tell you how much has been offered, they can tell you how many offers, if any, there have been. This can help shape your opening bid should you wish to make an offer.

How long have the vendors lived here?

You can find out when the property was last sold on the Land Registry website, but it's still worth asking the estate agent.

If the seller is moving out after only a short amount of time, you need to ask yourself why? Is the area terrible? Could it be the neighbours? If it is the neighbours, the seller is legally obliged to state any disputes that they have had.

Is there a chain?

If you're looking to move quickly, it's within your interest that the chain is short or, preferably, there isn't one. Even if you're more relaxed about the situation, it's good to have an idea of how long the chain might be so that you have a rough idea of how long the buying process may take. 

Has any significant building work been done to the property?

If work has been carried out on the property, it's within your interest to see builders' receipts, guarantees and planning permission documentation. Should work have been carried out without the relevant permission, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to tear the building work down.

What's included in the sale?

Do you get the garden shed? Will the sellers leave the fridge for you? Is the cooker included? You need to understand what it is that you're buying, so ask the question before potentially getting a surprise when you open the door to your new home!

Still unsure?

Rhino Home Protect specialise in protecting home buyers and sellers throughout the process of buying or selling their property. Unfortunately, lots of things can go wrong and if you end up in a long property chain, having insurance in place to cover unforeseen outcomes can be highly beneficial. Use our online purchase portal to get cover today or get in touch and a member of our friendly team will be able to help!

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