What to look for when viewing a property

Apr 27, 2021
A recent YouGov poll revealed that 42% of homeowners wished that they had paid more attention to detail during the house purchase process. However, buyers’ regret is an emotion that can be largely avoided armed with the right set of questions.
Here are top ten tips for what homebuyers should be asking during a viewing:
  1. ONE  Why do the current owners want to sell? 
The answer could distinguish between a serious vendor who wants to move quickly and someone who is just testing the market. The former may be open to some price negotiations, so it’s useful to get an idea of their motivation before making an offer.
  1. TWO  How long has the property been on the market?
Again, the answer could provide you with some bargaining power, but the fact that a property has been advertised for six months, doesn’t mean the owner will take any offer going. Factors like location, market trends and property type all have an effect on how fast it will sell.
  1. THREE  What major works have been recently undertaken?
It goes without saying that a major structural survey will reveal evidence of any major projects, but it doesn’t hurt to make enquiries during the viewing. Answers about how old an extension is or if there is room for one may tell you about other construction projects and major repairs that have taken place.
  1. FOUR  Does the building have EWS 1 certification?
This applies to apartments and was introduced after the Grenfell Tower fire. EWS (Cladding External Wall System) is the External Fire Review Form and is mandatory for any building over 18 metres tall. There are no grey areas in this matter: a property is either safe and will possess a certificate or unsafe and will not. Banks tend not to lend money for the latter, so it is a vital document.
  1. FIVE  What charges come with the leasehold?
This is particularly important to investors who need to factor extra costs into their projected profits. Ground rent is paid on the land the property is built on and must be written into the lease agreement. Service charges are used to pay for the cost of maintaining and repairing the building and communal areas. In an apartment building, the costs are divided between all the individual leaseholders. It is also vital to find out when these payments are due, how much and whether there are any things not covered by them.
The lease will outline how the service charge is calculated and what the charges are. A leaseholder is entitled to receive summaries of any costs of services provided such as insurance and see actual copies of invoices if they wish.
Visit Benham & Reeves for the remaining tips, including
  • SIX  What facilities are available to residents?
  • SEVEN  If the property is tenanted, how long will it take to vacate?
  • EIGHT  What is included in the sale?
  • NINE  Is the property part of a chain?
  • TEN  What rents are achievable?
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