It can be exciting and overwhelming viewing properties.
So much so that it’s often easy to forget to ask the important questions that help you make a decision before you offer on a property. Here at Cameron Stephen & Co, solicitors and estate agents in Edinburgh, we have put together a useful selection of questions which we think are essential to ask at the time of viewing a property.
Why are the owners selling? Have they already got a new property?
It’s always good to establish why the current owners no longer wish to stay in the property. You can also get an idea as to where they are on their property journey how quickly they would be looking to complete a sale.
Who are the neighbours? What kind of neighbourhood is it?
It’s always a relief when moving into a property to have an idea of what to expect from your neighbours, especially if you are moving into an attached property or a flat. It’s likely you’ll already have a bit of knowledge about the neighbourhood before viewing (our Area Guides are a great place to start) but it’s also good to get individual opinions from those living in the neighbourhood, especially of the area directly surrounding the property.
How much are the service charges (if applicable)? What council tax band is the property?
Particularly for First Time Buyers, it’s important the consider the property as a whole. You’ll no doubt have your budget established before offering but it’s worth factoring in extra expenses like on-going service charges, as well as what the on-going council tax costs will be.
How old are the gutters and drains? Has there ever been problems with damp?
Check the property thoroughly whilst viewing, looking for any signs of damp (staining or patches on walls/ceilings, damp/musty smell, decay of timber, motar on exterior starting to crumble…) and ask about the history of the property. If there has been any previous damp, how it was dealt with and what kind of guarantee it comes with.
What kind of boiler is there? How old is it and what guarantee does it have?
There’s nothing worse than the excitement of being in your new property being quashed by the realisation that the boiler is not functioning and you’ve no cover to help fix or replace it, especially when buying in Edinburgh where you need a working boiler for the unpredictable Scottish climate.
Does the property have outdoor space?
Just because there is a lovely view of a garden, it doesn’t always mean it belong to the property. Be sure to establish what is actually included in the sale, taking into account spaces such as garages and parking/driveways.