While many are looking to buy a new home or get onto the property ladder amid the announcement that stamp duty cuts will remain in place until 2025, a third of housing transactions in the UK fall through.
As household finances get tighter, many are eager to avoid losing money on failed deals when attempting to purchase a new property.
With all this in mind, legal experts over at the Professional Negligence Team at the leading law firm, Been Let Down, have shared some of the key questions to ask when buying a house.
Key Questions to ask an estate agent when buying a house
Here are the key questions home buyers should ask an estate agent when looking at a property:
1. How long has the property been on the market for?
Harding warned buyers to watch out for properties that have been on the market for a while as they may be overpriced.
2. What are the neighbours like, and have there been any recent changes to the local area that could affect the value of the property?
Make sure you know the surrounding area and any developments or projects that could raise or lower the value of the property
3. What is the council tax band?
This is a great way to avoid any nasty surprises after purchasing the property!
4. What are the EPC ratings for the property?
Ask for a copy of the EPC rating to see how energy efficient the property is.
5. What is included in the sale?
Finally, make sure to know what is included in the final sale. Things like furniture and fittings can be costly to replace!
Key Questions to ask your conveyancer when buying a house
Once you make your decision and proceed to buy the property, it's time to initiate the conveyancing process.
A conveyancer is responsible for ensuring the legal transfer of the property from the seller to the buyer.
Tony Hill, Head of Professional Negligence at Been Let Down, reveals the questions you should ask the conveyancing solicitor before making an offer:
1. Aside from me, who will have right of way for the communal areas?
You should ask your conveyancer who has access and right of way to communal areas of the property, including paths and shared driveways.
Disputing right of way after you've bought the property can be a long and tricky process so it's worth finding out what you're dealing with.
2. Is this a freehold or a leasehold, and what are the terms and conditions?
The differences between leasehold and freehold properties are significant with leaseholds providing the buyer with the right to live on the land for a specified amount of time.
This means you're buying the property but not the land, which freehold arrangements allow.
Be aware of clauses relating to payments to the landowner as well as the time left on the term as these can impact your mortgage.
3. Which building or planning permissions will I need if I want to get any work done on this property?
This may avoid miscommunication and hiccups down the line if you are looking to improve the property.
4. Does my property have a septic tank, and if so, is it compliant?
This is important for many rural areas and is something your conveyancer should bring to your attention.
In 2015, a new law changed the rules around compliant septic tanks, so it's important to check this.