26th November 2018
Buying a home is the biggest financial decision most of us make, so it’s important to go slow and ask the right questions when looking around a property. Small mistakes can have a large price. With that in mind, our mortgage advisers have created a handy guide to the important questions to ask when house hunting, so you can be confident that you’ve got all the information you need to make the best decision for you.
There’s nothing worse than trying to leave for work in the morning and not being able to get out of the driveway because of the road traffic. If you have time, check out what the area around the house is like around rush hour. Even if the house isn’t directly on a main road, it could be used as a shortcut or where people park to get to work or school.
These people could be the faces you see every day for the next few years. It’s important to have a good idea of what they are like and how the current home owners have got on with them. Obviously, everyone is different, but having a sense of who shares your fence is not a bad idea. Are they having any work done to their home? Are they typically noisy? Can you trust them to sign for missed deliveries?
From crime to community, amenities to areas of green space. Good questions to ask include: is the nearest supermarket or corner shop in walking distance or will you have to drive? Where’s the closest bus stop or train station? How are the local schools rated by Ofsted?
The attic is often ignored when it comes to viewing a house, so make sure you don’t miss it off your list when you look around or ask questions. Things to consider when it comes to the attic include how much storage space is available, is there a possibility to convert it into another bedroom and, is there insulation? The latter can make a big difference to your heatings bills.
Replacing a roof is an expensive task and could cost you up to £5000. Though most new roofs have a life expectancy of 20-25 years, it depends on what materials have been used. Because of this, make sure you speak to the estate agent or surveyor about the structure of the roof – you could face a big cost if it isn’t in a good condition and needs work.
Have you ever wondered why your home is unusually cold in the winter and scorching hot in the summer? It’s due to the direction of the house. It may seem silly, but the direction of a house can impact the feel of a home, so if you value a BBQ in the summer, it may be in your interest to find a home with a south facing garden so you can best enjoy the sunshine.
Buying a house is one thing but the cost of living in it could be a deal breaker. Get an idea of how much this monthly cost could be and whether you will be able to afford it in addition to your monthly mortgage payments and other regular outgoings. Helpfully, some property search sites do highlight the average energy and water costs – so make sure you use this in addition to asking the estate agent or current owner.
When looking around the house can you smell that any rooms have just been painted? This might have been done to freshen it up before putting it on the market, but asking the reason why is important as it could have been done to cover up damp. Have a close look around the ceiling and skirting boards for a mouldy smell, flaky plaster or watermarks.
If there is condensation between the double glazed window panels it could mean that they are faulty. New windows need to be installed by a registered and approved individual and, when this is done, they should come with a certificate and guarantee. Ask if the current owners have these documents.
Be aware of the furniture in the room as you look around a property. A common trend is to use smaller furniture to open up a space and make a room look bigger than it actually is. Unless you are planning on buying new furniture as soon as you move in, it might an idea to take a tape measure with you when looking around a house to make sure your key pieces will fit in the space.
This gives you the opportunity to find out about any last details of the property but also if there is a forward chain. If the current owners are also looking to buy a new home, it could mean that you have a long wait before moving in.
House hunting can be an enjoyable experience when you’re prepared and, understanding the important questions to ask when house hunting could just be the tipping point between making an offer or walking away. For more articles on the house hunting process, explore here and, otherwise, do get in touch with your mortgage adviser for more advice.
All content is accurate at the time of publication
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