Sun 16 Apr 2023
Holly Butcher, Residential Valuer
When you're considering buying a property, choosing the right estate agent could mean the difference between securing the home of your dreams and having a smooth, stress-free experience to losing out on your chosen property and potentially a lot of money.
In this article, we share with you some of the frequently asked questions when it comes to buying a property from an estate agent in and around Barnsley and Penistone in South Yorkshire and Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.
1. What are the reasons for the owner selling?
When you are looking into purchasing a home, one of the first questions you should ask real estate agents is why the current owner has decided to sell. If you are lucky, the estate agent will give you some insight into the circumstances surrounding the seller’s decision to sell their property, which you can use to guide your negotiations.
For instance, you might learn that the owner is in a hurry to sell the property, perhaps because their job will soon require them to relocate elsewhere. In this case, the owner might be willing to accept a lower price in exchange for quick completion. Consequently, you should make sure that this is at the very top of your list of questions to ask when looking at or purchasing a property.
2. How long has the property been on the market?
Ask the agent why they think the house is not selling if it has been on the market for a long period of time, especially if it has been on the market for more than three months. Highlight issues that other people have identified. Have they received a home survey that was less than favourable, for instance?
Ask the agent directly whether anyone else has previously made an offer on the property as well and the reason why they decided to back out of the deal.
It is possible that there are no issues with the home, and that the asking price is simply too high. Regardless of the reason, if a property has been on the market for a considerable amount of time, the seller may be willing to negotiate a lower price. Remember! Those that don’t ask, don’t get it!
3. Has the property's value recently increased or decreased?
The Land Registry website has a list of sold property prices throughout the UK, you may readily obtain information on how a property's value has evolved over the last several years by searching sold property prices here.
Prepare to inquire about changes in the property's valuation, especially if there has been a decline in value examine and visit the land registry site for prior sold prices as well as the sold prices of similar properties in the same area.
4. Has the ownership of the property been transferred multiple times?
If the current homeowners are leaving after a short period of time, one important question to ask when viewing or buying a home is why they are moving out so quickly. It is crucial to determine why they are leaving because this may affect your ownership of the property.
In addition, you need to be on the lookout for significant issues if the ownership of the property has recently changed hands. Investigate the reasons the previous owners left. You could even try to get in touch with them to find out why they made that decision.
When purchasing a home, it is always a good idea to have a survey done on the property; therefore, it is important to shop around for different prices before deciding on a surveyor.
Obtain Prices for the Survey
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5. What is the lowest possible price the seller will consider?
Asking the estate agent if the price is negotiable may seem like a silly question, but it could save you thousands of pounds, again if you don’t ask you don’t get! So ask. In addition to this, it can prevent you from wasting time by going back and forth with the estate agent and the seller to determine their minimum acceptable selling price.
It is in the interest of estate agents to make a sale, even at a lower price, because if the agent doesn’t sell, they will not earn their commission, so it is in their interest to make a sale. Estate agents will often give you an indication of an acceptable price. So, ask.
6. Have the sellers already located a new home?
Have the sellers already found a new home? If they have, it is probable that they are eager to sell their property quickly. Otherwise, if you must wait until they find another location, it adds to the unpredictability along with all the risks that are associated with being in a chain.
If you ask this question, it will tell you where you stand with the seller and how eager they are to negotiate a sale price.
7. Have any offers been made to the sellers?
You can expect the agent to tell you if there have been any offers made, but they will not tell you how much was offered. However, estate agents have a significant incentive to reach a price agreement, and as a result, they may whisper hints that are heavy in nature.
It is obviously going to be much simpler for you to decide what you should offer if you are able to learn about what other people are suggesting. However, before you put in an offer, you should give some thought to the more general questions that you should ask when purchasing a home. This will allow you to get a better sense of the area as well as the state of the property.
8. Can you tell me about the surrounding area?
· How would you describe the schools?
· What is the rate of criminal activity like?
· What is the quality of the transportation links?
· Where can I find the nearest supermarket?
· Where can I find the petrol station that is the closest to me?
· How far is the nearest town?
· How far is the local Doctors surgery/clinic?
Although listening to what the estate agent has to say is a smart move, you should always make sure to conduct your own research into the area you are thinking of moving to.
How to research a location
Those interested in researching various properties can now choose to do so either on or offline and have access to a vast amount of information. You will have a better idea for instance, when the traffic is congested if it is safe to walk around at night if it gets loud on a Saturday night, and if all the shops are closed on Sundays.
Checking out the area at various times throughout the day is the easiest and most straightforward thing to do. You might get the impression that you are following your future home around, but this is the only way to be completely ready for the move and get a comprehensive look at the area.
Talk to different people—have a conversation with your neighbours, strike up a conversation in the local pubs and shops, and enquire about the area.
· Are the residents happy with where they live?
· Have there been a significant number of incidents or problems?
· Who are the people who are relocating to the area, as well as those who already call it home?
Safety: If you want to know about recent crimes that have been committed in the area you're intending on moving to, you can check Police UK here, which will break down the information street by street. If you are aware of any potential problems with the property such as a high rate of burglary or consistent domestic disturbances next door, you may rethink buying it as your dream home.
Alterations made locally.
You can gain access to the plans made by the local authority to determine if any alterations are going to be made close to your possible future home. You can Search the register of planning decisions Check here
These might be beneficial for the area, but if there will be construction for the next three years that will make it difficult for you to get to your house, you might decide that purchasing the property is not a wise move.
Amenities in the area.
What do you require to be content where you live? A shop on the corner, a fitness center, and a park? Possibly you are looking for a bus route or train station that is convenient for you to access or perhaps you need to have quick access to the motorway, or you want to make sure that there is a reputable school in the area.
Create a list of everything you find essential in a particular location, and then look for it there. Even better, physically explore these locations on foot and see everything for yourself. Even though the train station is only a ten-minute walk away, this might not be the ideal situation for you if there are only trains running once every hour.
Noise: If you are near a busy road or a train line, you should evaluate how distracting the surrounding noise might be.
What about the houses on the other side of the street?
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be retiring for instance so ideally, you are searching for a quiet area to live so check the area. Is it more suitable for young families and first-time buyers? Or is it an ideal place for you to settle down and retire?
Is the property on a flight path close to an airport? Are you on a pub or nightclub route?
It is easy to underestimate the effect of noise, especially if you have become accustomed to the familiar sounds in your current home, but nights of poor sleep will quickly turn your dream home into a nightmare.
Mobile Signal - In addition to your broadband internet service, check in with your mobile provider.
Not only is it inconvenient, but a sluggish signal may also impede your progress if you work from home especially if you live in an area with restricted broadband connectivity or are waiting for fibre-optic broadband to be installed. Similarly, if you have decided to live in an area with poor internet availability, you may need to switch to a mobile provider or purchase a landline phone to keep connected.
Also prepare yourself before entering a dead zone since staying there without any sort of internet access may be incredibly solitary and irritating.
Check the mobile signal for all UK networks here
You can check local broadband speed here
You can use the uSwitch Broadband postcode checker to determine the average download and upload speeds available in the areas you are considering moving to. In addition to this, it will provide you with an estimate of the cost of broadband service in that location.
The phrase Up and Coming refers to the fact that many people are looking for a location to move to that has affordable housing while also being in the process of being developed into a desirable place to live soon.
However, not everyone is willing to make decisions based on this information; after all, if you find a location that has potential, it may take another ten to fifteen years before it has the fundamental amenities you require.
If the area never experienced a property boom, do you think you would be content living there? Keep an eye out for an increase in house prices, new buildings, particularly ones that bring in work, or new transport lines, such as the Elizabeth Line or HS2, as these will influence the expansion of an area as well as the value of the property there.
When conducting research on a location, almost every aspect will boil down to a matter of personal preference. It is important to keep in mind that this is more of a long-term investment, not only as a home that you will hopefully be occupying for a considerable amount of time but also as a property asset that should appreciate in value over time. It is highly unlikely that you will come across a home that fulfills all your requirements in addition to all your desires for the location.
However, whereas you can redecorate or construct a new kitchen, the location is largely outside of your control. Because of this, the location of a property is almost always the deciding factor in the long run.
9. Which nearby plans might have an impact on the property?
When looking at houses, one of the most important questions to ask is whether local plans could have an impact on the property. If you are looking at a property because you are drawn to the tranquil view of the fields that it borders, then it is likely that you want the fields to remain unchanged.
You will want to know as soon as possible if there is a planning application for a new housing development on said fields; if there is, you will want to know as soon as possible.
If you wait until the results of the local searches performed by your conveyancer to ask this question, it is highly unlikely that you will find out about any planned developments. It is critical that you find the best conveyancer at the best price to make certain that your purchase goes as easily as possible and that you do not pay more than necessary.
Obtain instant conveyancing quotes, here.
10. What is the tenure of the property?
Is the property freehold or leasehold?
This is an essential inquiry to make to the estate agent, and the answer ought to have been specified in the listing for the property.
Although some estate agents tend to gloss over it, this factor can be the deciding factor in whether it is a worthwhile purchase. Freehold ownership is highly desirable because it grants full ownership of both the structure and the land on which it sits.
However, most apartments in the UK are held in leasehold. This indicates that you own the property, but it is rented out under certain conditions. You need to find out how many years the lease is for as well as the service fees that are associated with it. Start by reading our in-depth comparison of freehold and leasehold properties.
Additionally, the conveyancing fees for leasehold properties are typically higher, it is more important than ever to do some comparison shopping to find the best conveyancing company at the most affordable price. Conveyancing Quotes Are Compared Here. Receive instant quotes from regulated and reviewed conveyancing solicitors in your area.
Buyers of flats take notice!
Insist on receiving additional advice on tenure if a flat is the only property that meets your requirements and is available to you. There are a variety of leaseholds available. Every one of them has a different set of clauses, some of which are extremely exploitative while others are more reasonable. Verify the dates and the amount of Ground Rent owed.
11. Do you have any neighbours that are particularly loud?
When considering buying a property one of the most important questions to ask is this one, because the response to it can have a significant bearing on your quality of life. Therefore, you should question the real estate agent, but you should also question the seller and look for any hesitation before they answer.
If the seller has ever filed any official complaints against their neighbours, they are required by law to reveal this information to you, if you enquire about it and include it on the TA6 form.
However, by the time you get to this point in the buying procedure, you will already be quite far along in the process. You should therefore add this to the list of questions to ask when viewing a house, as well as the list of questions to ask when buying a property.
12. Have any significant alterations been made to the home?
In that case, do the owners have the appropriate consent from the planning and building regulations authorities? If you do not do this, it could result in a significant amount of delay, and you might even have to pay for indemnity insurance further down the road.
On the local planning authority website, you should typically be able to conduct an online search for planning applications (both granted and refused). Find your Local Planning Authority Here.
It would be terrible, after all, if you bought the house of your dreams only to find out that you needed to demolish a significant portion of it. If you make the decision to purchase the property, get a building survey and have your conveyancing solicitor checks that all the necessary permissions have been granted should provide you with the peace of mind you need to continue with the purchase.
With the help of our convenient find a surveyor tool above, you can quickly find and compare the prices offered by local surveyors.
13. What exactly does the purchase price cover?
It is a good idea to enquire with the estate agent about what is included in the purchase price.
Does the price include the greenhouse, or the garden shed?
Where do we stand with the fittings and fixtures?
And precisely where does the boundary line run?
Make sure that you have a complete understanding of what it is that you will be paying for. When the seller completes the T10 (transaction form) form for your solicitor, additional information regarding the Property’s fixtures and fittings will be supplied to you at that time.
In the meantime, estate agents are required to provide you with information regarding anything that may have a significant impact on your decision to move forward with the purchase. However, it is not too late to ask now.
If you hire a qualified conveyancing solicitor, they will be able to ensure that your purchase includes everything that was verbally agreed upon during a viewing. Conveyancing solicitors in your area who guarantee their quality should have their prices compared right now.
14. In what direction does the property lookout? (UK)
If the house faces north and the sun set several hours ago, having drinks on that lovely terrace in the evening will not be nearly as enjoyable as it could be. Or perhaps you enjoy having the sun wake you up in the morning; if this is the case, you should position yourself so that you are facing southeast. Which rooms do you plan to use the most, and in which direction do those rooms face?
15. Is the property subject to any Covenants, is it Listed, and/or is it located in a Conservation Area?
When viewing a house or purchasing a home, this is another one of the important questions you should ask. If you buy a property that is on a listing, you may face significant limitations on the alterations you can make to the exterior and, in some instances, the interior as well. If the property is in a conservation area, you need to investigate the restrictions that are imposed on it.
In the same vein, enquire as to whether there are any restrictive covenants in place, as these can place limitations on your ability to do certain things in your new home.
16. How long has this house been on the market?
During the house hunting period, one of the main questions to ask is the age of the building, however, this information might not be readily available. Not only is it useful to have this information in general, but it is also important to note that the costs associated with maintaining older homes are typically higher.
17. How much do the monthly bills for the council tax and the other utilities cost?
Because of the rising cost of living, you are going to want to find out if the price of your new home is going to go up and, if so, by how much. Consequently, you should add this to the list of questions you have when purchasing a home. The council tax band for a property ought to have been included in the listing for the property; if it was not, it’s important that you enquire about it.
You should also enquire as to whether you can view utility bills; alternatively, you can wait for your conveyancing solicitor to obtain a copy at a later stage.
18. Could you tell me about the water pressure?
When you take a shower, how is the water pressure?
How much longer will it be before the water is able to pass through?
Do all the taps and drains work equally well?
When you go to view the property, make sure to ask if you can turn on the taps and flush the toilets. If some of it does not flow freely, then this may be an issue that is difficult to rectify. In addition to this, you should not simply take the agent's word that everything is fine. It is highly recommended that prior to purchasing any property a survey be carried out.
19. Do you know if there have been any issues with the boiler?
And if so, then what is it? In addition, when was the last time the boiler was serviced?
When exactly was it put in place?
How recently were the drains and guttering installed?
Changing out drainage is a surprising financial undertaking. And it would be a shame to have to replace those lovely lead gutters if that were necessary.If it is raining, this is the perfect time to make sure nothing is dripping or leaking.
20. Have any of the rooms in the house been redecorated within the last few years?
If that is the case, why? Unfortunately, it is common knowledge that people will repaint a room to hide cracks or dampness in the walls.
21. If you rearranged the furniture, would you be able to look under the rugs?
It is not unheard of to cover up problems with the floor or walls by putting furniture over them or using rugs to cover up imperfections. Therefore, if you are feeling bold, ask the estate agent if it would be okay to poke around the property while you are viewing it, keeping in mind that you should do so in a careful and respectful manner.
However, keep in mind that once you have an offer accepted, there is nothing that can compare to conducting an independent survey. They will notice things that you will not be able to. Obtain prices for the survey. Request immediate quotes from chartered surveyors operating in your area, see the link above to surveyors near me.
22. Are you able to provide an explanation regarding the Energy Performance Certificate?
The rating on the Energy Performance Certificate, which indicates how energy efficient the building is, will be impacted by a variety of factors. This rating is used to determine how environmentally friendly the building is.
· Is there insulation in the loft?
· Is there a double layer of glass?
· When were they installed?
· Is there lagging around the pipe connections?
23. Is it possible to speak with the sellers directly?
The majority of estate agents dislike this because it is their responsibility to negotiate, but they are powerless to stop you from talking to the sellers, which may very well be the smartest thing you do.
Because most sellers are consumers like you and are not professionals in the industry, they frequently provide responses that real estate agents would find to be shockingly honest. If you ask them why they are moving, they cannot pretend ignorance.
You can also get a much better feel for the house by asking the sellers about the positives and negatives of the property. Having a conversation with the sellers in person can also help to expedite the purchase.
Still, have questions?
Get in touch
If you feel you need further help and advice, please don’t hesitate to contact Barnsley’s local property experts.
Butcher Residential is a long-established independent family-owned firm with offices in Penistone, Barnsley South Yorkshire and Denby Dale in West Yorkshire with over 30 years of experience in Barnsley property sales, lettings, and commercial property management/sales
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