Buying a property in St Albans: What questions should you ask?
Buying a property may be the single biggest purchase of your life. It can be one of the most exciting, yet stressful times of your life too.
When it comes to viewing a property, the average time spent walking around is just 20 minutes, that’s not very long when you are going to be the potential new homeowner and live there for many years to come.
To try and help property buyers, we had a thought about what is essential to a buyer. We would advise you to consider these questions when viewing a property to buy and have put together a top 10 list of helpful questions and solutions to try and remove some of your stress. Here’s are our list:
Top Ten Questions to Ask When Viewing A Property
1. Why are the owners selling?
Most homeowners have good reasons for moving, and the list is lengthy, from relocations through job promotions, to outgrowing their home or downsizing.
Some explanations may give you cause to further research the area you are looking in, such as moving for a particular school catchment area. Different schools have different strengths and weaknesses, and personal preference can play a big part in the choice, particularly when an area such as St Albans has high performing schools throughout the area.
2. What is included within the sale?
It is worth asking ‘what is included in the sale’ when you view the property. Some property sellers may consider selling items on to you, where others will be taking items that you may take for granted would be staying such as appliances, curtains and garden sheds. This can help avoid any misunderstandings later in the process should you decide to buy the property.
3. How much is council tax?
This is a great question. Many of our clients have increased outgoings when buying a property. Forecasting your monthly budgets is key, and asking the existing homeowner how much they pay for council tax will give you a firm figure to add to your forecasting.
4. Is there any damp?
There are some key telltale signs that a property has a problem with damp including; smell, damp has a distinctive smell, earthly almost like the smell following rain, sightings of mould or mildew on walls, floors and ceilings, lifting/peeling wallpaper and excessive condensation on windows. Sometimes this is as simple as condensation caused by a lack of ventilation or it may be a leak that is fixed and drying out. It is worth asking the question to understand if it is a simple issue to resolve or something that requires further investigation. It may not be the problem you think it is.
5. How much storage space is there?
What are your hobbies and what plans do you have now and for the future? Are you a couple who may, in a few years time plan to have a family? If you are a budding artist and that second bedroom will be your studio, what will you do when you need the second room for your new addition? Where would you put a pushchair or pram? Or maybe you’re a cycling fanatic; is there a shed or garage or even room under the stairs to store your bike(s) and accessories?
6. Have there been any issues with nuisance/ noisy neighbours?
This is probably a hard one to ascertain. The sellers should be honest about any issues they have had with nuisance neighbours, but a nuisance for one person might not be for another. A Seller’s Property Information Form (SPIF) should help you. Politely ask the sellers as you are viewing the property.
7. When was the central heating system installed and last serviced?
Central heating systems are expensive and should be serviced once a year. The average lifespan is estimated to last between 15-20 years. Knowing this kind of information may assist you when considering your offer.
8. What are the mobile phone signal and broadband like?
Poor mobile and broadband connections can discourage people from buying a particular property. You don’t want to find your dream home only to find you have to drive to the local supermarket to surf their internet. A report from RootMetrics surveyed 2,125 UK adults and reported that for 34% of adults mobile signal is more important than the quality of local schools! And that 41% of property sellers would promote having an excellent mobile phone signal to potential property buyers. As you are viewing the property, you will be able to check your phone as you walk around. Besides, you can check uswitch and Ofcom to test coverage and speed.
9. What is parking like (if this is relevant)?
If you are buying a property without a drive, it is worth asking what the parking is like. It can be a real bugbear when you buy what is your dream home only to find out that you can’t park on the street. In addition to asking the sellers, you might want to go back to the property on different days and times to check.
10. What direction does the garden face?
For some of you, this question may not be significant, but if you’re planning on enjoying the outside aspect of your property, especially during the summer months and especially if you are inclined to be even slightly green-fingered, knowing where the sun rises and set will be a key question for you to ask.
The above list is what we brainstormed to be the top 10 questions to ask when buying a property, but we know this list is by far not limited to these 10 questions. If you have any questions about purchasing a property or related questions such as the different areas in St. Albans, schools, transport links etc. Our team of property experts will be pleased to help you. Call us on 01727 843222.