Buying a new home can be an exciting venture but viewing a potential house can quickly turn into an overwhelming experience. Many new home owners even regret their purchase, so the stakes are high! There’s a lot to take in, a lot to consider, and you’re bound to miss a few important details you might wish you’d paid better attention to when you had the chance. If you’re planning to scout out a potential new home, here are some questions to ask the owner or estate agent to make sure you’re covering all your bases.
What’s the energy rating of the building?
A new home is likely to be the single most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, and yet most of us have been shown to spend just 25 minutes exploring a home before deciding we’ll buy it. Use your time wisely. Instead of dwelling on décor or superficial details, take a moment to consider how much the property is likely going to cost you going forward. An up-to-date EPC is a legal requirement, and according to EPC For You, “domestic EPCs need to be available to potential buyers or tenants as soon as you start to market your property” so you can ask immediately for the property’s rating to give you an idea of future utility costs.
What’s the history of the property?
It’s a great idea to ask how long the owners have lived there, why they’re moving, and how long the property has been on the market. Don’t feel uncomfortable asking these questions – the answers will tell you a lot about the asking price, the value of the house, and whether there are any problems you need to be aware of. Sellers are legally required to share important information like this, so do make a note to ask about things like neighbourly disputes. If a house has been on the market for more than three months or the previous owners didn’t stay long, ask why. It may be that the asking price is too high, or else that other buyers have noticed a critical issue that you haven’t.
Where are the sellers moving to?
Being caught up in our own logistics, we can often forget to ask this question. Being in an onward chain is not a problem per se, but can spell complications or delays as many more aspects of the sale need to be coordinated. This may not affect you if you’re ready to act and make a quick, uncomplicated purchase yourself, but be wary if your situation is more complex and you need to take your time making a decision.
What work has been done on the house?
You can tell a lot just by walking through the rooms of your potential new home, but this isn’t enough when it comes to understanding the deeper structural changes that the building has undergone. Enquire about past renovations, receipts from builders, or even planning permission for additions. You could get a full structural inspection, or simply be aware of what might be lurking underneath rugs, behind fresh paint, or in a boiler cupboard that you didn’t think to look inside.
What kind of sale is it, and what’s included?
Check whether the property is leasehold or freehold. If the former, how long is left on the lease (the longer the better)? If the latter, how much are the fees, and what has the current resident’s experience been with the management council? Be sure also to check exactly what is included in the final sale. Enquire about appliances, fixtures and fittings, garden features or furniture, and any external buildings and sheds. You don’t want to fall in love with something only to discover the owners have taken it with them in the move! Finally, you want to double check whether the house has listed status or is in a conservation area – this will mean you won’t be caught out later down the line when you need to make alterations or renovations.
Of course, there are plenty other questions that may pop into your head as you try to determine whether a new house would suit your lifestyle well. How’s the water pressure? What schools are in the area? What offers have they had so far and has there been a lot of interest? Which direction does the property face? Regardless of your unique situation, however, you’ll likely want to clarify these 5 important questions first to rule out any issues that might make you regret your purchase later on.