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8 Questions Every First Time Buyer Should Ask

Posted by Isabel Romano on January 13, 2022

You need to know exactly what you will be getting for your money before committing to one of the largest financial investments you will probably make. Here are some relevant questions to keep in mind.

1. What is included in the sale?

Some sellers will want to take established plants and other moveable features with them when they move out. To avoid disappointment on your move-in day, make sure that you understand exactly what is staying and what will be gone before you get the keys to your new home. In addition, create an inventory list that is attached to the promissory contract and check it before the final deed.

2. Am I looking to purchase a property in the right area?

The best advice we can give you is to purchase the best property in the best area that your budget will allow. This is not to say that you can’t also consider up-and-coming areas as this is often where the best long-term property investments are made.

If you do want to explore this route, look for signs that the area is likely to experience an up-turn in the near future. Indications include new properties being built and business investments being made; these are often signs that you’re looking in an area that could yield a significant return on your investment.

3. Why is the seller selling the property?

Although you might feel as though you are prying into the personal life of a stranger, this is a particularly important question to ask. A seller could be upsizing, downsizing or simply relocating, but their reasons for moving could also be related to something that might impact you in the future.

Remember, sellers will not always be particularly forthcoming in their answers, particularly if they think something might affect the saleability or price of their property.

If any of their responses don’t quite ring true, this could be an indicator that something is amiss.

4. How long has the seller lived in the property and are there any concealed issues that you should be aware of?

If you discover that the property has changed hands several times in just a few years, it is always worth asking why.

Equally, however, if the property has been owned by a single owner for decades, you should ensure that crucial maintenance tasks have not been neglected over the years. It is also a good idea to drive or walk around the local area at different times of the day to monitor any potential congestion, parking or safety issues.

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

The longer a house has been on the market, the more motivated the seller will be to make a deal. This means you might find flexibility to negotiate the price, contingencies, terms and credits for replacing outdated carpet or other noticeable issues.

Many times, a home will languish on the market if it was priced too high at the onset, resulting in the need for multiple price reductions. A listing that shows multiple price cuts and has been sitting on the market too long may give buyers the impression that something is wrong with it. And that gives you a prime opportunity to negotiate a deal.

6. How do I decide which survey to select?

Think of a survey as being the property version of a general health check. This process can highlight issues that might potentially cost significant sums of money to address later. If serious issues are discovered, you could decide to reconsider your offer or negotiate a reduction in the asking price to cover the cost of the work that will be required to fix the problem. 

There are a variety of different surveys available and which one you select will ultimately be determined by the type of property you are interested in purchasing, how much detail you want the survey to go into and how much you are willing to pay. I would strongly recommend it for houses that were built a long time ago to check for issues but less for apartments or newer houses.

7. What should I look out for when the survey has been completed?

Structural problems, mould and/or damp could be an indicator of a variety of more serious issues that could be complex and costly to fix. Additionally, any flashing damage, foundation issues and points relating to electrical supplies or standing water should be investigated further to ensure that you are equipped with all the facts you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

8. Have there been any planning permission applications submitted for nearby land or properties?

Although it will likely incur additional costs, your conveyancing solicitor can conduct a planning search which will flag up any planned development projects that could disrupt your enjoyment of your new property. An architect can also check the PDM plan for that particular area.If you were to discover that the tranquil fields opposite your dream property are about to have a shopping center or warehouse, you will certainly be thankful that you took this extra step when you had the option.

Wishing you a great week,


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