After a viewing with a well organised viewer in Chingford this week, I thought I’d spill the beans on some of the questions she fired at me that might help with your property search.
How long has the property been on the market?
If it’s a North or East London property and it’s been on the market for more than 8-10 weeks, there might be an issue with the property or the price might be incorrect. It’s usually the price.
But don’t be put off from viewing – after a period of marketing at the higher price, an owner may be in the mood to consider an offer. And don’t wait until the price is reduced as by that time, it’s likely to have caught the eye of other buyers meaning more competition for you.
Has the property attracted much interest?
Like the property? Chances are other do too! An agent should be transparent, give you an idea on viewing numbers and give you a ‘rough steer’ on offers and the owner’s expectations on price.
How long have the current owners lived in the property?
If they’ve been there for years then that’s no problem. But if it’s been 18 months – 3 years it’s sensible to ask why. They might be upsizing with a baby on the way or relocating. Asking gives you a chance to suss out any other potential issues such as neighbour disputes (which sellers are obliged to divulge) or problems with the property itself.
What’s the water pressure like?
This isn’t often asked but with the owner’s permission I ran the shower upstairs. The pressure met the viewer’s satisfaction as it blasted out. Sometimes, if there’s a bathroom on a 2nd floor, pressure can be compromised. It’s worth checking.
What are the running costs of the property?
Forewarned is forearmed. There’s council tax, gas, electricity bills, water rates and utilities on top of the monthly mortgage payment to consider.
When are the vendors planning to move?
In other words, is there a lengthy chain? If there is a chain, ask how the onward search is progressing. If they’ve found a place to move to then what’s the situation with that owner, do they need to find somewhere too?
Knowing a seller is at least organised will provide a degree of comfort.
The Final Checks
Love the sun? Check on your phone’s compass what way the property faces.
Fallen in love with an older property brimming with character and want to make improvements, extend or renovate? It’s worth checking to see if it’s within a conservation area or is listed as restrictions on what can be done may apply.
Remember, most properties are purchased through a mixture of head and heart but try not to let your heart rule your head. From experience, buyers usually know a property is for them within 5 minutes of walking through the front door. Many will spend longer deliberating over a new car!