How much do you think you know about the property market? If you think your knowledge is greater than a set of 11 year olds, then think again. Online UK estate agent Hatched recently carried out a survey testing the younger generation’s knowledge of the housing market.  Two year-seven students, a uni student and a young adult were quizzed and the results weren’t as predictable as you might have thought Interestingly, whilst the younger students appeared to fall short in some of the answers, their estimations of house prices were seemingly more advanced when compared to the eldest candidate. Which got us thinking…..

While the questions posed in the survey ranged from the mundane (‘what is a cul-de-sac?’) to the downright aspirational (‘how many houses would you like?’), the general lack of knowledge on display could lead to problems down the line when making that first move onto the housing ladder. Fear not though, as we’re here to help. When looking at houses with a view to potentially buying them, there are some questions that you should always pose. So, here are 10 IDEAL questions to ask when viewing a house.

Why Are You Moving?

Combined with ‘how long have you lived here?’, these enquiries will give a pretty good indication of the livability of the place, and if any underlying issues are obstructive to a simple, comfortable existence in the property. If they’re moving for work or upsizing for family, then you can keep those alarm bells on mute. Should they be packing up and moving on after a surprisingly short stint though, be wary.

How Long Has The Property Been On The Market?

In the modern, cut throat to-and-fro of the housing market, places don’t stay ‘for sale’ for long. Anything longer than 6 months indicates an inflexibility on the seller’s part or the consistent emergence of structural or contractual issues. If you want to avoid headaches, stress and broken promises, bear this in mind.

What Is That Smell?

Using your nose as well as your eyes is key in unearthing a whole host of issues. The smell of sewage could well indicate blocked drains. A musty, dank smell points the finger at a damp which can superficially be hidden for the length of a viewing, but in time can cause real problems. Underlying odours could mean a lack of decent air circulation or more troubling structural issues. So, keep your nose primed as much as your eyes peeled.

Do You Mind If I Turn This Thing On?

When viewing a property you should turn on taps to check the plumbing. You should flick light switches off and on to check electricity. You should plug stuff in to check a fully functioning plug socket system. Basically, any switch, plug, tap and so on, is fair game. Check everything.

What’s That Sound?

We’ve already talked about our eyes and nose, but keep your ear to the ground, too. If the boiler sounds like it’s growling or the pipes grumbling, there could be issues afoot that aren’t aesthetically obvious. Equally, ask yourself; can you hear the persistent roar of traffic, both road and air? Consider how this might affect your quality of life.

Is The Property Listed?

In short, a listed building is one deemed to be of architectural or historic interest. You can find the answer to this particular question here. If the property is listed, any additional works you wish to carry out are going to involve a lot of bureaucracy and likely be denied. So, whilst it may be appealing to live in a castle, for instance, you won’t be able to add a hot tub to the top of every turret.

What’s Included In The Sale?

Combine this question with ‘will you be taking this with you?’ for optimum results. There may be items in the house and garden which bring the whole house to life, but when you move in, they’ve gone with the owner. On the flip side, junk may be waiting for you when you move in if you don’t request for it to disappear with the previous occupants. Getting rid of stuff is notoriously hard, so keep this in mind.

Who / How Are The Neighbours?

An obvious one, but a dealbreaker which in many cases won’t be apparent until after the deal is made. Noisy, antisocial folk nextdoor, above or below can ruin an otherwise dream property, so make the necessary enquiries and if you’re confident enough, heaven forbid, go round and introduce yourself! Considering the other side of the coin, neighbours who you get along with can enrichen your life. So just find out.

Can I Get My Compass Out?

You’ve moved in. The champagne is on ice. You’ve got the glasses polished and friends round. You step into the garden to make that first, sun-soaked toast but you’re shrouded in shade and disappointment. Checking which way the house faces (technically, this means the front door) will help determine how many rays you’ll be receiving. This doesn’t only apply to the garden, but the natural light of the house too.

How Much Are The Bills?

A good indication of the function of the central heating and waterflow, as well as the internet and electricity, this one. Relatively large bills should serve as a warning. Council tax is also highly variable and can differ even from street to street, so check this too.