First Time Buyers: What questions should you ask whilst on a viewing?

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Purchasing a house for the first time can a mixture of excitement and trepidation for most people and we at Move understand this. As a result, we will endeavour to make the process as smooth sailing as possible so that you can concentrate on the excitement and we will take care of the rest. However, before we get to this point, you are probably going to view a lot of houses! We have compiled a list of questions that all First Time Buyers should be asking: –

1. Why are the current owners looking to sell?

This is important. A vendor’s response to this question may give away issues that you had not considered or may make you love the property even more! It can also assist in getting an idea for the position the vendors are in and whether they are motivated for the sale to progress quickly or not. For example, if they are already part of a chain and looking for a quick sale, first-time buyers should use their advantageous position and may potentially be able to bargain down the price.

2. How long has the house been on the market?

Nowadays, RightMove is a brilliant tool that can be utilised to answer questions such as these. It is worth mentioning that as a result of the pandemic and the property market being placed on pause, some properties may have been on the market for longer than usual but this does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with them. This point should be used in conjunction with the rest of these questions.

3. Has the house had any building work undertaken recently?

Of course, it is always recommended that a full structural survey is undertaken before exchange of contracts (this is often required when using bank financing in any event) however, there is no harm in asking these questions from the outset. It can also assist with speeding up the process when it comes to solicitor enquiries if you are already somewhat aware of the property history.

4. What is the parking situation?

Whilst this may seem obvious, it can be an important question to ask. Particularly, in housing estates, the car parking can be an issue with there being limited spaces allocated to each property. If the vendor is hesitant with their answer, it may be prudent to drive around the area during the evening to see how busy it may get. This is also particularly important when it comes to buy-to-let properties as properties that feature good parking, are much more likely to be let quickly than those which don’t.

5. How much will my outgoings be?

Rightmove tend to have an estimate calculation on their page – which as always, should be taken with a pinch of salt! – however, you are able to obtain the council tax band from the Government website (please note, there is always the possibility that the band could change between looking at the property and completing on it). There are many other utility calculators online that you could use a starting point.

6. What is included in the Sale?

You should obtain as much information as possible as to what is included in the sale and what is not. This will assist you with planning for what you may need to budget for and make arrangements for completion. Once this has been verbally discussed, you should inform the agent and ensure that this is reflected in the Property Information Form and Fixtures, fittings and Contents Form that the vendor will complete via their solicitor. This is very important as the forms form part of the contract, so it is important that they reflect your understanding accurately.

7. What is the local area like?

It is likely that you have already researched into the local area prior to choosing to look at houses there however, it is always worth obtaining the opinion of the vendor in addition. Even if you do not have children whilst looking at the area, you should consider the local schooling in case you do decide to have children whilst living there and it may assist in the future saleability of the property.

MOVE is happy to provide further advice or just a friendly chat so please call us on 01242 297333 or 01452 597994 to see how we can assist.

Please note, the issues raised in this article are not part of an exhaustive list and there are offer matters you should consider when buying property. This article does not replace the need for professional or legal advice.

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George Tatham-Losh

Since forming the business in 2009, our founder, George Tatham-Losh, has become highly regarded as the local go to expert for advice on maximising property values and getting the most out of property investments, regularly speaking at events and holding well attended seminars. Born and raised in Cheltenham, George knows the town and County like no other and knows what works in the area. Alongside George is a specialist team of agents with a wealth of experience to help you sell, buy, let or rent property in Gloucestershire.

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