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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.


  • wymondhamwymondham Forumite
    6.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Mortgage-free Glee!
    I ask why they are moving ...!;)
  • chuckles1066chuckles1066 Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    gorjam wrote: »
    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

    Any advice that you receive from me is worth exactly what you paid for it. Not a penny more or a penny less.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
    70.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Have you ever been burgled?
    Have you ever flooded?
    Has anybody ever been murdered here?
  • cattiecattie Forumite
    8.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    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.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
    70.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    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.
  • Debt_Free_ChickDebt_Free_Chick Forumite
    13.3K Posts
    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 :eek:
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • Richard_WebsterRichard_Webster Forumite
    7.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    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.

    As a retired 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 for it.
  • Thank you Richard for changing the above post
  • MurdinaMurdina Forumite
    433 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    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.
  • gazzak_2gazzak_2 Forumite
    473 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
    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 :mad:
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