With property purchases not only pushing up in price, many wanting to buy a home are doing so at great pace and often after only one initial viewing. With pressure high and time short it’s imperative to ensure you ask relevant questions that reveal vital answers to positively impact your buying decision.
Housing stock may well be flying off the property shelves but you do have buying power. Be direct with your questions to your agent and never be afraid to confirm through by email what you believe was said to you after the viewing took place to keep a written record.
Knowing your seller’s motivations is a good way to recognise and understand where your offer should be in the ballpark of, if you decide to place one.
1) When did the property come to the market?
Discover the motivations of your seller and find out when the property first came onto the market. This is not always an easy reveal on the likes of Zoopla and Rightmove if the property has been relisted as you may not discover an initial date, so ask your agent.
2) Why is the property owner selling?
The seller’s motivations are another piece of the puzzle that can really guide how quickly they might need to move on. This could be due to divorce, business relocation or even for school purposes which means you may have some bargaining power and flexibility which can be reflected in your offer.
3) Does the seller need to find a property in order to move forward?
This works as much for you as the buyer as it does the seller. Knowing if the seller needs to find a property before they move forward is vital information. You need to think if this is something that will matter to you or your own existing chain if you have one.
Sometimes there are ways around this if you wish to negotiate on a delayed completion date in order to exchange contracts.
4) Has a building survey been carried out previously?
Building surveys can save vast amounts of time and your money if one has previously been carried out. Ask the question and ask for access. The agent and the seller are legally obliged to share this with you. Dependent on what the survey states could mean a big impact on your proposed purchase.
5) Has anyone already made an offer?
This can reveal the competition on the property and can lead to you asking if any offers have been made followed by have any been accepted and if not why not?
6) Who has set the price?
Is the price based on the agent’s recommendation or has the seller set the bar? This opens up the dialogue as to whether or not any offers are likely to be accepted and how realistic the price of the property is.
7) What do I need to offer today in order to get the property taken off the market?
Essentially, this is seeing if for the right price the seller would be happy to withdraw the property from the market and to secure you a sale that day. It also says if the seller wants to play out any other viewings they may have and where that might place you amongst other offers that could be brought forward.
8) Are there any other factors that are important to the seller in order to have my offer accepted?
With the fast-moving market many sellers are looking for flexibility from a buyer and the willingness to be accommodating should they need to find a property before they move and most importantly they want dependability of a buyer.
Other things that may be of value to you and to think about could be surrounding broadband capacities, if Sky or Virgin is already installed and if any furniture is likely to be left or included.
Think about your own home search criteria
Make every minute of your viewing count and ensure you arm yourself with the right set of questions at your next viewing. You’re not scuppering your chances or showing your hand by doing so.
What you’re actually doing is enabling yourself the opportunity to build a better picture of a potential property and whether or not it’s a good match for your new home search criteria.