Checklist: Questions to ask sellers before making an offer

Posted on March 19, 2018 Categories: First Time Buyers, Home Improvements, Looking After Your Home

We know how much there is to remember during the process of moving home – it’s a hugely stressful time for most people.

We’ve put together a few important questions that you should make sure you ask the sellers before you sign the contract, buy your dream house and plan moving home – otherwise it could turn out to be a little less dreamy than you first thought!

We also have a handy checklist of questions to help you through the house buying process.

  • How long has the house been on the market?
    If the house has been on the market for a long time, it’s likely that the sellers are keen to sell quickly – this means you could buy the house at a lower price.
  • Why are you selling and moving home?
    If their reason suggests that they could be keen to sell quickly, such as relocating for a job that is starting soon, you could potentially renegotiate on price. They could be moving for reasons related to problems with the house or neighbourhood – although they’re unlikely to tell you truthfully, it’s worth asking.
  • How much did you pay for the house and when did you buy it?
    This can be useful for assessing whether the house value will go up. If the value has gone up by a substantial amount, this can also help you to renegotiate a lower price, as if they want to sell the house quickly they may not mind lowering the price if they’re still making a profit. You can also find this information on public records.
  • Have there been any major repairs or renovations? If so, by who?
    Botched DIY jobs could cost you money to repair in the future! Make sure that any work on the house has been carried out by a licensed contractor and that they have the appropriate building permits.
  • Are there any problems with the house?
    Although it is certainly worth asking, you are unlikely to discover all the defects within a property from grilling the sellers – this is where a survey comes in handy! Commission a chartered surveyor to inspect the property to ensure that you won’t have to fork out on repairs in the future.
  • What is included in the sale?
    Anything permanently attached within the property is considered a ‘fixture’ and is usually included in the sale (e.g. faucets and cabinets), but make sure you ask and get it in writing. You don’t want to move in and discover that the lovely fixtures that you admired before are missing!
  • Are there any problems with neighbours or the neighbourhood?
    You may not get a detailed answer, but you can at least try to find out as much information about the area as possible. Things to look out for are lots of traffic, speeding vehicles, endless road maintenance or not enough maintenance, noise from neighbours, traffic or nearby businesses, high crime rates, bad odours such as cigarette smoke from adjoining houses, fly tipping, and general disturbances.

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