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Questions to ask at viewing of house
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# 1
gorjam
Old 28-01-2008, 6:19 PM
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Default Questions to ask at viewing of house

Has anyone got any ideas what are the most pertinent questions to ask when viewing a property with the vendor.
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# 2
wymondham
Old 28-01-2008, 6:29 PM
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I ask why they are moving ...!
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# 3
chuckles1066
Old 28-01-2008, 6:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorjam View Post
Has anyone got any ideas what are the most pertinent questions to ask when viewing a property with the vendor.
Any disputes or noise issues with the neighbours?

You don't want to be spending 200k on a property to find the guy next door is an inconsiderate person born out of wedlock who plays Iron Maiden at 130 decibels at 3a.m.
You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky

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# 4
PasturesNew
Old 28-01-2008, 6:33 PM
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Have you ever been burgled?
Have you ever flooded?
Has anybody ever been murdered here?
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# 5
cattie
Old 28-01-2008, 6:40 PM
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When was property last rewired.
How old boiler & ch system, is it checked regularly by BGas or registered corgi guy.
How old is roof
Who lives next door, or if a flat, above you. Young children or teenagers may be a noise issue that you may not want.
How long they have lived there. If not long then I'd worry why they want to move so soon. If long term resident then I take that as a good sign.
If a flat, how much is service charge?
The bigger the bargain, the better I feel.

I should mention that there's only one of me, don't confuse me with others of the same name.
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# 6
PasturesNew
Old 28-01-2008, 6:52 PM
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When you're there, I'd also:
Turn on/check all taps for water flow.
Flush the loo and run the taps in the sink (water flow check)
Open cupboards under the sink - check for leaks/smell/damp stains/nastiness
Open every window, checking it opens/shuts OK.
Be aware of every door you are opening. Does it open/close right, are handles loose
Check ceilings for cracks.
If it's an old house, near the windows, tread down, does the floor bounce
Check corners of all rooms for signs of damp
Check double glazed units for misting
Notice where sockets are. In fact take a floor plan and mark them off.
Turn the shower on - check for water flow/how good or bad it is.

In the kitchen, stand where you'd make things - is there enough room.
Stand at the cooker, imagine you've just got something out of the oven and it's hot - where are you going to put it?
Is there room beside the cooker for you to turn handles of saucepans so they don't get knocked off.
Is there room beside the cooker for the things you need while you're cooking (spatula, next items to be put on to cook)

If there are fireplaces which have been opened into an alcove, or similar, are there vents to the chimney?

Are the light switches in the right places (I had a house where there was no landing lightswitch upstairs at all)

Have a good old poke around and don't be embarrassed. Above is just my starter list for what I'll be poking when I look for a house.
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# 7
Debt_Free_Chick
Old 28-01-2008, 7:33 PM
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PN - whilst you and I often agree on most things .... I'm afraid I don't on this one.

I really think it would stretch the patience of most ordinary folk to have a complete stranger open every window, turn on every tap, flush the loo and poke around in the cupboards!

Perhaps it's just me though :confused:

To be honest, there are always compromises. We're unlikely to find exactly the house we want, with all the facilities we want, in the right place and in full working order. To me, the things on your list would be "minor irritations" if there were anything wrong .... but I guess they might be major for some people :confused:

You've got me worried now, as I'm soon to my house on the market and it's far from perfect
Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac

Last edited by Debt_Free_Chick; 28-01-2008 at 9:47 PM.
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# 8
Richard Webster
Old 28-01-2008, 7:45 PM
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Some good tips in this thread. Someone mentioned asking why they are selling. I put some stuff on a page on my own website about this and here's an extract:

Will there be difficulties with the sellers?
Sometimes you will have to weigh factors about the property itself with questions about possible delays and changes of mind. If possible, try to get to talk to the sellers themselves at some point, rather than doing everything through the estate agents. Issues to consider and ask about are:
  • Why are the sellers moving? Is it a clear reason like a job move or a bigger house for growing family? If so they will perhaps be more motivated to see things happen.
  • If they are buying something else, are they being realistic about what they are looking for?
  • If there is more than one person involved, are they both agreeing in what they say to you? If not then they may never agree about what they want to buy, or may change their minds about selling at all later on down the track!
  • Following the last point, if there is a divorce or a separation involved, have all the financial arrangements REALLY been agreed and finalised?
  • If they have found a property to buy, how long is the chain above them?
  • Are they, or someone in the chain above, buying a new property that is still being built? There could be a long wait for completion until it is finished.
  • If you need to complete by a certain date and that might mean the sellers will have to move out into rented accommodation or with family, remember that until exchange of contracts there is no binding commitment, so you can only go on your assessment of how personally morally committed they are. DO NOT accept what the estate agents say about this. How do you know the sellers weren't caught at an unguarded moment and when asked, said that maybe, perhaps, if it really came to it, they might be able to go and stay with family...? Make sure you talk to the sellers themselves and get them to think through what is involved in e.g. moving out to rented or family without proceeding on a purchase, so they don't say later that they didn't realise how difficult it would be...
Is it a Good Investment? Some property can appear attractive because of its relatively low price, or has a higher price but is in a much better location. There can be some downsides like:
  • Generally, lenders that are prepared to be more liberal in lending e.g. to those with credit problems or self employed without accounts, are fussier about the kind of property they will lend on.
  • Newly built property doesn't always hold its higher value as compared to similar slightly older property in the same area.
  • Mortgages may be more difficult to obtain on flats over shops or in high rise Council blocks, or for non traditionally built property.
  • Generally, unusual property is easier to sell in times of house price rises, and more difficult in times of slump. A property with some disadvantage such as non-traditional construction, or a flat with problems about the leasehold arrangements, may be valued just below otherwise similar property in times of boom, but in times of slump may be much more difficult to sell and will be worth proportionately much less. Something which has lots of advantages e.g. in location, may command a much higher price in boom times but in a slump may not retain the same proportionate advantage. For instance, flats in Marina Developments may be second homes that will not be wanted if their owners have to make economies.
  • Properties with legal conditions can be more difficult to sell or to obtain mortgage finance using them as security, e.g. relating to occupancy only by local people or those employed in agriculture, or only to use for holiday letting.
RICHARD WEBSTER

As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful assuming any properties concerned are in England/Wales but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.

Last edited by Richard Webster; 29-01-2008 at 8:56 AM. Reason: remove indirect link to website.
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# 9
budget_counsellor_shaz
Old 28-01-2008, 7:54 PM
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Thank you Richard for changing the above post

Last edited by budget_counsellor_shaz; 29-01-2008 at 9:13 AM. Reason: all sorted now
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# 10
Murdina
Old 28-01-2008, 7:59 PM
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Just a word of warning when you are checking on those light switches. What you see may not be what you get.
I've bought a house where some switches and sockets were disconnected - so you would need to try them all.
My present house had 3 TV sockets which we discovered had not been connected up and an outside light which had had the cable cut through. The surveyor did not spot either of these albeit relatively minor points.
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# 11
gazzak
Old 28-01-2008, 8:01 PM
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Why ask? If they tell you there's no noise and you move in and suddenly there's a drummer next door what can you do? Sweet FA. Nobody gives a d4mn once you're in
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# 12
justme111
Old 28-01-2008, 9:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gazzak View Post
Why ask? If they tell you there's no noise and you move in and suddenly there's a drummer next door what can you do? Sweet FA. Nobody gives a d4mn once you're in
That's the point. Does anyone really think a person who sells wil say " or I'm fed up with my neighbours, they at each other and swear so loudly that my baby wakes up". :rolleyes: How can the one with common sense trust replies to uncomfortable questions? So what's the point of making them then?
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# 13
cattie
Old 28-01-2008, 9:28 PM
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I tend never to ask why people are moving because if it's for a negative reason they are never going to actually come out & tell you & lose the chance of selling their property.

I've sold a house because of noisy neighbours before & certainly never admitted to viewers who asked why I was moving that I had noisy, drunk agressive neighbours!

I'd never made any official complaint about them so there was no need for me to make any disclosure about their noise & behaviour. I just said my prayers before a viewer arrived & they were answered as the neighbours were quiet each time.
The bigger the bargain, the better I feel.

I should mention that there's only one of me, don't confuse me with others of the same name.
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# 14
Phirefly
Old 28-01-2008, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PasturesNew View Post
Has anybody ever been murdered here?
Inspired


As for the pointed questions, even if they're not likely to answer completely truthfully, you can often guage from their reactions. We viewed a seemingly perfect house that was opposite some LA flats. I asked the vendor if he knew why so many of the windows were boarded up and if he'd ever had any trouble, and I found out all I needed to know from the brusk, defensive manner in which he answered. Funny, the flats made it into the Echo the following week in two separate stories - one arson attack, one domestic violence charge.
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# 15
mr.broderick
Old 28-01-2008, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorjam View Post
Has anyone got any ideas what are the most pertinent questions to ask when viewing a property with the vendor.
Are you a man of your word?
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# 16
Biggie
Old 28-01-2008, 10:36 PM
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has the house suffered from any subsidence problems ?
I have found out afterwards on 2 properties about underpinning
service charge for flats ?
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# 17
Richard Webster
Old 29-01-2008, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
That's the point. Does anyone really think a person who sells wil say " or I'm fed up with my neighbours, they at each other and swear so loudly that my baby wakes up". :rolleyes: How can the one with common sense trust replies to uncomfortable questions? So what's the point of making them then?
It is usually worth talking to the neighbours as well because they might let the cat out of the bag. Also if a neighbour comes to the door swearing and holding two rottweilers back...
RICHARD WEBSTER

As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful assuming any properties concerned are in England/Wales but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.
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# 18
merlinthehappypig
Old 29-01-2008, 10:53 AM
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From recent experience, though I have to say it's never been an issue before and we have bought seven times now, 'do you really want to sell' is very pertinent.

We are finding that sellers whose property has been on a long time , pre-HIPS certainly, are the most reluctant to negotiate on price and, as most have no definite plans, want too long before completion to make the purchase viable.

It's at the stage now where we have asked the agents to communicate our position to the sellers before we arrange the viewing so they are in no doubt about timescales and so on.

Nothing can stop them lying, of course. mr.broderick's excellent point about 'are you a man of your word' is sadly too often not the case these days. Both sellers where we agreed prices recently said they would move into rented to accomodate the buyers timescale, but weren't telling the truth. When you have to travel on a 400 mile round trip to view it gets a bit frustrating to put it mildly.

Other than that you have already been given excellent advice, though, to be honest, however well-prepared we are we usually forget something when looking.

Personally I'd save the more detailed questions and cupboard looking for a second viewing. The first viewing is for an overall impression. You will look at the house differently if you are genuinely thinking about living there. I'd never buy something on a single viewing.

As for 'has anyone ever been murdered there?' it's not something we have ever asked. That said, whilst we can't claim a murder, it was a little disconcerting to find out about three weeks after we moved in to our current property that the previous tenant had committed suicide in the lounge and wasn't found for a few days. Even more disconcerting that the popular local rumour was that the letting agents had driven him to this by raising his rent to an unaffordable level.

He apparently used rat poison as well, which should have given us a hint, given my other thread about unwanted rodent visitors.
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# 19
slipp_digby
Old 29-01-2008, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PasturesNew View Post
Has anybody ever been murdered here?
This is in all seriousness a good question.

We nearly viewed a house where a murder had been committed. A lad in our year at a school battered his step dad to death, cut him up and put him in the river in a suitcase. Hes doing 20 years now.

The house was beautiful inside and priced just right to make it look cheap, but not too cheap.

However the EA had underestimated the power of 'google' which quickly revealed all!
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# 20
gorjam
Old 29-01-2008, 6:30 PM
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Thanks for plenty of good and interesting advice.I do not think I"ll ask about any murders but definitely will ask the question "Do you really want to sell?".The house has been on the market for a while definitely pre HIPS.
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