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Viewing property

What to ask

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You may think that there has been a bit of overkill on our part in terms of the amount of information we provide on our site. But we are firm believers that the more you know, the better equipped you are to make a sound judgement, so we have got some more questions for you to ask the vendor or the agent showing you round:

What should I ask when I am viewing a property?
Anything that comes into your head! The owner or the estate agent should answer almost anything. If they start to get too cagey, don't be put off. If they are hiding something, it is probably something worth knowing.

How many people have you had to view the place?
Have you had any offers? Lot's of people and no offers or one person and one offer?

The numbers don't tell the whole story but they can give you some clues.

What is your position in terms of a selling chain?
This will give you an indication of how quickly they will be able to complete the sale should you decide to buy. If you are working to strict deadlines, this could be a factor.

Why are you selling?
If the unlikely answer is something like "I am sick of the train outside depriving me of sleep, the place is falling apart and basically, I have been miserable here ever since I moved in", you should probably get your coat. However, there are a lot of valid reasons for sale which shouldn't put you off at all. Find out if the vendor wants a quick sale, as this might allow you to snap up the home at a reduced price.

How long has the property been on the market?
If it has been on the market for too long, think long and hard before making an offer. If they are having trouble selling it this time round, chances are it won't get any easier for you next time round. Then again, it may be a chance to knock them down in price.

Has the property has ever been burgled while you have lived there?
Has your car ever been stolen from outside?

It's probably not worth getting too worried about a single isolated incident, but if the answer reaffirms some suspicions you have about the area, consider the implications for your security.

How much did you pay for the property?
The guilt factor can play on your team here. If they are making a big profit on the sale, they may go a bit coy and sheepish. Then again in times of negative equity it probably wouldn't be the shrewdest question to ask.

It can also be a good test of their honesty. If you really want to do your homework, you can find out for yourself how much they paid. For a £4 fee, the land registry will tell you the price and date on which they purchased, so you can nod in mock surprise when in fact you already know.

What comes with the property?
Whether it's the shed in the garden, the furniture, the shelves or the carpets in the lounge, make sure you are clear what is staying and what is going. If some things are staying, find out how much of reduction you could get for not having them. Second hand curtains and carpets are not usually worth very much.

Would I be able to sell this place at short notice?
If the answer is a definite resounding no, then you know what to do.

Why does this seem to be such a bargain?
Most people have had their place valued before they sell it. If it is cheaper than other properties of a similar type in the area, there is probably a reason.

Are the roof and walls heated?
This can make quite a difference to your bills over a long period of time.

What work have you had done on the property recently?
You may make them blush if they have given the place a dust-over.

Incidentally, how much are the utility bills generally?
No harm in asking. If they can show you a winter heating bill, great.

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