Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make – and not just financially! You’ll likely invest a lot of your time and energy into finding the perfect property, so to minimise stress, here are 5 questions to ask before you buy a new house. Remember, this advice should be taken as a guide only – if you’ve got any questions, feel free to get in touch!
1. How long has the property been on the market?
If the property is new to the market, you may be in for some competition from other potential buyers, who might be willing to pay above the asking price for the property if it comes to competing offers. If the house has been on the market for a long time (generally, over six months is considered a ‘long time’, but this is affected by many different factors, from estate agents to seasonal changes!), you might want to look at why this is. If your heart is set on the property but a little unsure about any hidden defects, you could ask if the current owners have commissioned a homebuyers survey to identify any potential problems that might arise later down the line.
2. What is the reason for the sale?
Perhaps the current owners need more space for a growing family, are moving in with relatives or relocating for work – or maybe there’s a noisy main road on your doorstep and no space to park your car! If you can, try to schedule a few visits to the house at different times of the day (weekday mornings could be busy and noisy if there’s a school nearby, for example) to identify any potential problems that aren’t related to the building itself that might explain why the current owners are so keen to move!
3. Will you have access to documents showing any extensions or changes to the property?
Simple extensions or minor changes to the structure of the building can be identified with a homebuyers survey. However, if you want to go into more detail about the structure itself before you buy a new house, the property is a listed building, or if a significant amount of remodelling has taken place, a building survey if your best bet. Make sure you ask the current owners or the estate agents if either of these surveys has been carried out already, or if they have a record of what’s been done to the property and when. You don’t want to knock down an interior wall only to find that someone’s redirected the plumbing through that area!
4. What’s the local area like?
Although it’s easy to do a quick online search to find out more technical details about the area you’re moving to, but you can get a really personal feel for an area by asking the current owners or estate agents. If you’ve got a whole day to spare when you’re viewing the property, take a walk or drive around the area you could soon be calling home. Look for transport links, local supermarkets, shopping centres and leisure facilities. If you’ve got children, make sure you research local schools and extra-curricular activities (and if you’ve got pets, make sure you can find a vet nearby in case of an emergency!). You should be able to tell if an area is right for you if you immerse yourself in it.
5. What would need changing immediately?
It’s totally natural to want to put your individual stamp on a property the second you move in – but remember to consider the amount of work you’d need to put in within the first few weeks of living in your new property! We’re not talking about ugly wallpaper or mismatched kitchen tiles; think about whether a deep clean is required; if there are any repairs you need to carry out; if the garden is overgrown and damaging the property; or if the current owners are leaving behind any furniture that you don’t want, and need to dispose of. These fixes can be surprisingly costly and time-consuming, so make sure you factor this in when you’re considering buying.
Buying a new house is an exciting time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and see if changes can be made before you move in. If you want to instruct a homebuyers or building survey, remember to use the Survey2Go quick quote calculator for a rough estimate of survey costs before you move in. Happy house hunting!