Questions to Ask when Viewing a House



Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, viewing new properties can feel overwhelming. 

Not everything is visible in an initial viewing, so it’s important to come prepared and ask the right questions, both to gather information that can help you make a more informed decision when buying a house and underscore to sellers and estate agents that you are a serious buyer.

Questions to ask when viewing a property

Use this structured guide to help you thoroughly assess properties during viewings, so you can get a good idea about the house, and make more informed decisions about your potential purchase. Some of these questions might be addressed to the seller or their estate agent, and some you may be able to answer yourself upon viewing.

Before you start viewing, you may want to ask:

  • Why are the current owners selling the property?
  • How long have the current owners lived in the property?
  • How long has the property been on the market?

Structural and Property Specifics

These questions can help you find out more about things like the property structure, condition, and boundaries, as well as address any age-related concerns.

Ask questions related to the property’s structure, condition, and any necessary repairs or renovations, such as:

  • Is the flooring in good condition?
  • Are there any signs of damp, mould, or condensation?
  • Are there any large cracks in the ceiling or walls?
  • Are the door frames and window frames in good condition?
  • What is the general condition of the exterior brickwork or render?
  • Are there any missing or cracked tiles on the roof?

Make inquiries about property boundaries, building materials, and age-related concerns, including:

  • Do doors and windows open, close and lock easily?
  • Are the windows single-glazed, double-glazed, or triple-glazed?
  • Does the property get plenty of natural light?
  • What ventilation is there in the bathroom?
  • What is the exact divide between the property and neighbouring properties?
  • Is the property or garden overlooked by any neighbours?
  • What direction does the garden face?
  • Are there any large trees with roots that are likely to cause structural issues?
  • What parking is available, and does it require a permit? 
  • Does the property have a loft?
  • What fixtures and fittings are included in the sale?
  • Is the property leasehold or freehold? 
  • If it is a leasehold, how long is the lease?

Property History and Documentation

It’s important to ensure that you understand the property’s history — and whether any renovations or changes come with the necessary documented compliance and permissions.

Make queries regarding the property’s history, previous renovations, and any potential issues, for example:

  • How old is the property?
  • How old is the property’s roof?
  • Is the property a listed building?
  • Is it in a conservation area?
  • Have any major renovations been done on the property?
  • Is there scope for extension?
  • Is there scope for a loft conversion?

Ask questions about documentation, planning permissions, and compliance with building regulations, like:

  • Do you have planning permission documents for any work that has been done?
  • Do you have compliance sign-off for any work that has been done?
  • Do you have builders’ receipts or guarantees for any work that has been done?

Utilities and Home Systems

Questions about utilities and home systems can help you uncover any unwanted surprises — from poor water pressure in the shower to noisy boilers. 

Make inquiries about the condition and maintenance of utilities like plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, such as:

  • Are fireplaces functional, with working chimneys?
  • Is the house heated by electricity or gas?
  • Does the property have radiators or storage heaters?
  • Where is the boiler?
  • What type of boiler is it?
  • How old is the boiler, and when was it last serviced?
  • How old is the fusebox and when was it last checked?
  • Do all the light switches and plug sockets work?
  • Are there any exposed wires?
  • Do all the taps work?
  • What is the water pressure like, including in the shower?
  • How long does it take for hot water to come through to the taps and shower?
  • What condition are the drains and gutters in?
  • How much do utility bills typically cost for the property?
  • What council tax band is the property in?
  • What broadband connection is currently available at the property?
  • What is the mobile phone coverage like at the property?

Ask questions about energy efficiency, recent upgrades, or potential concerns, like:

  • What is the property’s EPC (energy performance certificate) rating?
  • Has the property ever been treated for damp?
  • Is there a working fire alarm?
  • Is there a working burglar alarm?

Neighbourhood and Surrounding Area

As well as moving into a new property, when you purchase a home you’re also moving into the local community.

Ask questions about the local, amenities, schools, transport links, and future developments, for example:

  • Are there any ongoing planning applications in the local area that you should be aware of?
  • How long does it take to travel to the nearest city centre by car?
  • How long does it take to travel to the nearest city centre by public transport?
  • Where is the nearest stop or station for public transport?
  • Which are the nearest schools?
  • Where is the nearest shop, pub, park (or any other amenity that is important to you)?
  • What are the neighbours like?

Make inquiries about noise levels, crime rates, and neighbourhood ambience, like:

  • Is there safe on-street parking available nearby?
  • What are the local crime rates?
  • What are noise levels like?
  • What is traffic like at rush hour?
  • What is the area like in the evenings/ daytime, weekends/weekdays?

Legal and Financial Aspects

Your solicitor or conveyancer should be able to discover any potential legal or financial problems, but it is always worthwhile finding out the basics for yourself.

Make queries concerning property taxes, insurance, and any ongoing financial obligations, and ask questions to clarify any legal aspects, tenure, and potential encumbrances or restrictions.

It’s important to have a good understanding of any property you are looking to purchase — from its history and structure to its neighbourhood and utilities.

Asking these questions not only gives you the tools to make a more informed decision during your property search but can also show vendors that you have a serious interest in the property.

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