A Guide On Questions To Ask At A Property Viewing

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Every property and client is unique, but as property finders, there are certain things that we will look for at a property viewing. The following questions are just some of those that we are likely to ask. All the answers we receive and observations that we make will be written up in a detailed report, complete with photography and optional video.

Often, we will be shown around the property by the owner themselves, rather than an agent. Owners are less likely to answer questions surrounding prices or offers, preferring to leave them to the agent who follow up with afterwards. The more information we gather about the property and the owner’s motivations in selling, the stronger our position when it comes to negotiating price.

Here’s what the experts ask!

Questions your property finder will ask at a property viewing

Background To The Sale

How long has the property been on the market?

If the property has been on the market for several months, it should motivate you to pay more careful attention during the property viewing. It may be that something about the property has prevented anyone else from purchasing it that you haven’t noticed in the marketing material. Price is a common barrier but the issue might be something that other individuals have spotted on a property viewing. For example, the noise of passing traffic, a poor finish on the decoration or overlooking neighbouring properties.

How long have the current owners lived there and why are they moving out?

Similar to above, if they’ve spent a short period of time in the property it could indicate that there is something wrong with the property that isn’t immediately evident. On the other hand, they might be keen to move on due to work or a change in personal circumstances and so may be willing to accept a lower price in order to secure a quick sale.

When do the sellers have to move out? Do they have an ideal completion date?

If you’re looking to move in pretty sharpish, maybe because the lease is running out on your current rental property, you’ll want to know whether the sellers have a property lined up for themselves. Extended property chains can lead to a longer and more drawn out process.

What was the original asking price?

If the property has been on the market for awhile, there is a good chance that the price has already come down. The size of the reduction can be a good indication of just how desperate an owner is to sell a property.

Have any offers been received and if so, how much?

Competition for good quality, reasonably priced houses is high in the UK. Quickly establishing how much serious interest the property has had and at what price, will give you a good indication of whether the property is worth pursuing. If offers have already been made well above your budget, it’s probably best to move on.

Have any buyers pulled out and if so, why?

If any previous buyers have pulled out of a sale, the owner is obliged to tell you why. It may simply be that they can’t pull the money together or found another property that they prefer. However, it could signify that they found something seriously wrong with the property, possibly once a survey was completed.

 

Building Details and Planning History

Have any surveys been completed and are copies available?

Surveys are incredibly valuable documents that reveal the true nature of a property. They outline what state the property is in structurally, looking at things like wiring and damp. You will almost certainly need a survey in order to secure a mortgage, but they can be expensive, particularly the more comprehensive ones. If someone else has previously requested a survey be completed, it is worth trying to get your hands on it. Should it outline any significant problems, you can then walk away from the property without having wasted your money.  

Are you aware of any planning applications on the property or neighbouring properties?

Everyone has heard horror stories of individuals who have purchased a gorgeous rural property only to then discover that a housing estate is going up in the field next door. Such a scenario can be easily avoided by asking the right questions and running the right checks.

On a more positive note, pre-existing planning permission can add greater value to a property. For example, a property with extensive grounds may come with planning permission to build extra dwellings. If you see your property purchase as an investment opportunity, this could be ideal. Successfully gaining planning permission can take months or even years, so buying a property that already has it can save you time and money.

Where does the boundary lie?

Knowing exactly where the property boundary lies might seem fairly inconsequential, but it can actually have significant implications for your plans for the property. For example, if you’ve spotted a rather large and overbearing tree blocking out light to the property’s garden, you might be considering removing it. However, if the tree actually lies within your neighbour’s property boundary, you would need to secure their permission to do anything more than trim overhanging branches.

In addition, property boundaries can play a vital role in determining planning permission. For example, under permitted development rights, a single storey extension must be less then 3m high if located within 2m of the property boundary. You’ll need to know where your property boundary is in order to work backwards.

And the BIG question…

How much would they drop the price for a quick sale?

When it comes down to it, the prospect of a quick sale can be incredibly tempting to owners. Typically, our clients can exchange contracts quickly if required, with our experienced assistance helping to smooth the process further. In order to get the deal done fast, owners are often willing to drop the price.

At County Homesearch, our property finders know exactly what to look for and what questions to ask when viewing a property. Contact us on 0333 939 8300 to discuss how we can help you.