Buying a property is likely to be the biggest purchase you are going to make, so you need to know exactly what you are getting for your money and make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises.
(I've had plenty of horror stories in the past, including the time the ceiling fell through with a ton of water into the kitchen of our brand new build house when the shower went on for the first time, all because the plumber hadn't sealed the pipes properly!)
When searching for a new home, whether it’s your first time or your 10th move, you maybe viewing dozens of different properties which all start to blend into each other, it can be easy to forget to ask important questions you need to know so you can make the right decision before you put in an offer.
Especially if you’re looking in a fast moving market, where you have already missed out on several properties because you got out bid, and properties are being are selling like hot cakes before you’ve got a chance to even see them, it can make you feel under pressure to make decisions quickly.
But don’t feel rushed into buying and make sure you have all the facts so you make the right decision for you. This is especially important in Scotland, because once your offer has been accepted and signed, the deal is done and it is really difficult (& blooming expensive) to get out of it if you changed your mind.
Here are 21 questions you need to ask before, during and after a viewing.
Before the viewing:
Are there any issues highlighted in the home report and is it up to date? (A home report is a survey home sellers in Scotland are legally obligated to provide to any prospective buyer)
How many square metres (or feet if you’re old school) do you get for the money? And what is the average price for that neighbourhood?
What is the valuation price? And how much have similar properties sold for in the area. This can vary from the asking price so check first.
Does it have any notes of interest or any offers already on the table?
What are the local expectations for the sale price? Is it normal to offer above or below the valuation and by how much?
When you’re at the viewing:
6. Is there a building/estate maintenance or factoring fee and is it paid monthly, quarterly or annually?
7. Who looks after shared entrances/communal areas?
8. Is building insurance included in the maintenance fee?
9. Is there parking, is it on street and do you need to pay for a resident permit or is there an allocated space. Is there an annual fee?
10. What is the security like, is there an entry system or an alarm and are the door and window locks up to modern standards.
11. Is it above a shop/retail premises? This may affect your mortgage and/or building insurance.
12. Where are bins kept and how is recycling collected?
13. How old is the boiler and has it had regular maintenance and when was it last serviced?
14. Check plumbing do all taps work, and are there any signs of leaks. Who pays if the flat above leaks, or what happens if the roof leaks? Is it covered in the building’s insurance?
15. If it is a new build property, how long is the snagging period? How long does it take to get snags fixed and are their any warranties?
16. Can you spot any dodgy DIY that might cost a lot to put right?
17. Does it have any areas of flat roofs, if so how old is it and what condition does it look like to you?
18. Are white goods included in the sale and what condition are they in?
After the viewing:
19. Is there a closing date for when bids have to be in by?
20. If you’re ready to put in an offer, get in touch with your solicitor to do some checks to see if the owner has other offers, rejected offers or notes of interest.
21. Ask your solicitor to make sure the deeds, lease or freehold agreements are all in order and check to make sure you are getting everything you expect in the price you are offering.
Save this page or print it out before your viewings and don’t leave a viewing forgetting to ask important questions you need to know.
Good luck finding your new home!
What questions do you wished you asked before buying a home? Share them with me below and I can add them to the list.