Questions every first-time buyer should ask!
01 March 2022
Buying your first home is an incredibly exciting experience, however, we know it can also be very daunting. After all, it is likely going to be the biggest purchase you’ve ever made, and where we choose to live is one of the most important decisions of our lives.
Buying your first home is a serious step, therefore, you should try and find out as much as you can about the home you’re interested in before committing to an offer. Fortunately, properties in Scotland are legally required to have a Home Report when listed for sale, so you will be able to find out lots of details about the property before you even step through the door! However, there is still so much more to find out about before you make an offer.
Why are the owners selling up?
This is an important question and you should never be embarrassed to ask. Understanding the reasons behind a house sale can help you decide if this is the right property for you. For example, if the current owners have outgrown the property, you can use this information to decide how future-proof the property is for your circumstances.
It’s also good to discover how quickly the sellers need to move, or if they still need to find their next home – if they require a quick sale there may be an opportunity to negotiate on price.
How long has the property been on sale?
Due to today’s competitive market, the answer is probably not long! However, it’s worth finding out when you view, so you know how popular the property is likely to be.
The time period for selling a property varies, with factors including local market demand, the asking price and the type of property it is, so don’t be put off if it has been on the market for a while – this could even open a door for negotiation.
What is parking like around this property?
For those who drive, it can be a deal breaker if the property doesn’t come with obvious parking spaces, such as a driveway or a garage. Always ask what parking is like, and perhaps even drive past the property at peak times if you can to see how easy it would be to park.
What improvements have the owners made?
Many details will be covered in the Home Report, so you may already be aware of any upgrades made to the property before you view it, but it’s always good to chat to the owners about the work they’ve done or not done, as the case may be.
Finding out about plumbing, the heating system, windows or roof work can help you understand more about the property’s condition.
Shared responsibilities and excess charges?
If you are looking to buy a flat, it’s important to ask about maintenance fees, ground rent and shared responsibilities. Some blocks will have a factor in place who handles maintenance, so it’s important to ask how much this costs and what’s included in the price.
Some properties also have ground rent charges, which can affect how much you can afford on your mortgage payments, so it’s extremely important to clarify if there are any financial obligations that come with the property, outside of your mortgages and personal bills.
Any developments planned nearby?
This is more likely to apply if you’re viewing a new build property, but if the house you’re interested in is next to a vacant space, it’s worth checking if there are any known plans in place for development or building works as this can impact the enjoyment of the property.
What’s included in the sale?
Property brochures often cover if white goods or specific items of furniture are included in the sale but it’s worth asking the owner for confirmation. If white goods are included, this can save you hundreds of pounds when you move in. However, if they’re not, make a plan to save up what’s needed or factor this cost into your offer.
It’s a very important question so don’t be afraid to ask. Knowing more about who you’ll potentially be living next to can be helpful in making a decision about whether a property is right for you.