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Six questions all first-time buyers should ask

Thu 19 September 2019

Buying your first house is an exciting but daunting prospect and with so much to know and learn, it can be easy to forget those all-important questions. To help, we’ve rounded up our top six questions all first-time buyers should ask when viewing a property.

1. How long has the property been on the market?

According to Rightmove, the average time it takes to secure a property is 63 days. With this in mind, if the property you are viewing has been on the market for considerably longer, it is worth investigating why. A long marketing period could be an indication of a high asking price, which might mean there is room for negotiation, but it could be something less obvious. Either way, try and find out as much information about the history of the property as possible.

2. Why are the vendors selling the property?

This is an important piece of information to ascertain before you put in your offer. If the vendor has found their dream home is therefore hoping for a quick sale so as not to lose their new house, they might be more open to offers. On the other hand, if they are simply putting their house on the market to test the waters and have not yet found a property, it is less likely that they will accept lower offers. Equally, it is worth knowing how long the current vendors have lived at the property; if they are moving out after a relatively short period of time, it would be useful to know why.

3. How much will the bills cost?

If you are already stretching your finances to buy the property, it is crucial to know how much it is going to cost to run. Ask questions about council tax as well asEnergy Performance Certificates to see how energy efficient the house is. While newer and smaller homes will typically cost less to heat, period homes with single-pain windows and high ventilation will often be more expensive. That said, nowadays there are many innovative ways to make period properties more efficient to run, including heatpumps, solar panels and PV cells.

4. What is included in the sale?

From establishing exactly where the boundary lies to asking whether the garden shed or greenhouse are included, you need to know exactly what you’re going to find on move-in day. Inside, white goods such as a dishwasher or washing machine might be included in the price and will make a big difference both to your finances and your workload during those first few weeks after you move in. 

5. Which direction does the property face?

If evening BBQs in the sunshine are your thing, a north-facing garden might disappoint. Alternatively, if you prefer sunny mornings on the patio, opt for a house that faces south-east. Which rooms will you typically be using the most and which way do they face?

6. What’s the area like?

This answer depends on what you as a buyer are looking for from your new neighbourhood and community. If you like to keep yourself to yourself and enjoy your peace and quiet, having noisy neighbours could be a serious turn-off. Whereas if you like to get involved in your community, you might want to ask about local clubs or gatherings. If traffic and road noise is a factor, drive through the area at rush hour to see it at its busiest and don’t be afraid to ask locals what they think of the local area. If it has a high crime rate, you want to know about it. 

If you are a first-time buyer and would like to know more about the property market in your chosen area, contact your local Stags office today. 

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