You may have thought buying somewhere to live would be a fun, fuss-free process. However, it’s not always easy, and before you get carried away with the romantic notion of setting up a new home, there are lots of questions you need to ask to ascertain that it is the right move for you – here are a few queries you should raise.
1) Why are the vendors moving?
The first thing to ask is why the sellers are moving; it is important to find out whether they’ve chosen to relocate because there are problems with the property, they have outgrown the house or there aren’t good schools nearby, as these might be the same reasons why you should look for an alternative home too.
If you’re moving in with your family or are planning to start one soon, it is wise to consider what your situation may be like in a few years’ time. Your priorities might completely change and good schools, community services, spacious living areas and a large garden might be more important to you than having bars and restaurants nearby.
2) Have they experienced any problems while living here?
Whether the vendor has lived in the property for 30 years or three years, it is a good idea to find out what problems have occurred since they’ve been there.
You may also discover they’ve made improvements on the home, which means you don’t have to! Whatever changes the vendor has made, ask to see paperwork regarding planning permission, building regulations and guarantees. They might have done the work themselves, in which case you may wish to get a survey done to check they have adhered to the correct rules and not done a cowboy job that might cost you a lot to fix in the long run.
3) What insurance is required?
It is wise to ask how much their buildings, contents and car cover typically adds up to, particularly if you don’t currently live in the area. This will give you a good indication of what your monthly expenditure will be like, once you have worked out the cost of your mortgage. If the bills are reasonable, this may make the property even more appealing to you; alternatively, if they are steep, it could mean you aren’t able to stretch your finances to cover them.
You should also enquire whether the property is on a flood plain. If it is, you’ll have to seek advice about flood risk insurance and what you’d be covered if your property suffered water damage.
4) And the rest…
It’s worth having a checklist of queries when you view somewhere, including how long the property has been on the market, as you can negotiate a lower offer if it’s been on for a while. You should also ask if there have been any problems with the neighbours and what’s included in the price. Some vendors are happy to get rid of their curtains, appliances and even some furniture, while others take everything with them, so it’s useful to know what you can expect to find before you move in!
Natasha Al-Atassi is a property investment writer for Vita Property Investment, collating the latest news about property investment opportunities, as well as updates on the Select Property brand and information to help investors interested in buying real estate.